Guest Author - Vance Rowe
Anne Frank was born in Germany on June 12, 1929 to Otto Frank and Edith Frank-Hollander. She was the second daughter born to the couple. In 1933, as Adolf Hitler began to rise in power, Otto moved his family to Amsterdam, Netherlands. His hopes were to escape the increasing persecution of Jews by the Nazis. There he ran a successful spice and jam business and Anne attended a Montessori school with other Dutch children.
However, in 1940, the Nazis invaded the Netherlands and Anne Frank was forced to transfer to a Jewish school. Then in 1942, as the German stronghold over the Netherlands increased, Otto Frank began to build a hiding place in a wing of his warehouse. Anne Frank turned thirteen years old in 1942 and she began keeping a diary about her everyday life experiences; the good, the bad, and the ugly.
A few weeks later, Anne Frank’s older sister, Margot, received a notice that she had to report to a Nazi “work camp”.
Fearing that they would all be taken to a Nazi concentration camp, Otto Frank took his family to the secret hiding place in the warehouse. A week later, the Frank family was joined in the hiding place by Otto’s business partner and his family. Finally, in November, the eighth occupant of the secret hiding place, a Jewish dentist, joined them.
The eight people remained in this hiding place for the next two years and received food by former employees of Otto’s business and other Dutch friends. These people were taking a huge risk at procuring the food and taking it to the Frank family and their friends in the warehouse. The entrance to the hiding place was hidden by a hinged bookcase so it was easy for them to come and go from the hiding place when it was necessary.
For these two years, Anne Frank kept a diary about hiding from the Nazis. The entries in the diary were filled with humor, insight, and sorrow. Their rooms they stayed in had blacked out windows and they never flushed the toilet during the day for fear of being discovered. Then in June of 1944, the Frank family and their friends had a glimmer of hope of being rescued when the Allied Forces invaded Normandy. Anne Frank was especially hopeful that the liberation of Holland would begin soon.
However, that would not come to be. On August 1, 1944, Anne Frank made, what would come to be, the last entry in her diary because three days later, the Nazi Gestapo found the hiding place when they acted on a tip from an unknown informant. They were all taken from there and sent to concentration camps in Holland. In September, Anne Frank and most of the others were sent to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland. When the Soviet liberation of Poland was underway, Anne and her sister, Margot were moved to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. The conditions of the camp were so deplorable that the two sisters caught typhus and died in 1945, just two months before the British liberated the camp.
Otto Frank was the only one of them to survive the Nazi death camps and after the war, he was reunited with a friend who had helped them while they were in hiding. She handed him Anne’s diary which she found undisturbed after the Nazi raid on the warehouse. In 1947, Otto Frank published her diary, in its original Dutch language and titled Diary of a Young Girl. It became an instant bestseller and was later translated into fifty different languages and is now titled, The Diary of Anne Frank, and is a credo to the nearly six million Jews who died in the Holocaust.