Biography of Anne Frank

A stamp from the Netherlands featuring Anne Frank. Editorial credit: spatuletail /
A stamp from the Netherlands featuring Anne Frank. Editorial credit: spatuletail /

Anne Frank (Annelies Marie Frank) was a victim of the Holocaust. She became famous after the publication of “The Diary of a Young Girl” which documented her life in hiding during the German Occupation of the Netherlands from 1942 to 1944. Her book is one of the most widely read books in the world and has been used in the production of several films and plays. She was born in Germany but lived in Amsterdam for most of her life, having moved to Netherlands with her family when the Nazis took over Germany. Together with her family, she went to hiding in 1942 as the persecution of the Jewish population increased. From the time of hiding to their arrest, Anne kept a diary and wrote in it regularly. The diary was published into a book which has been translated into over 60 languages.

5. Early Life

Anne was born on June 12, 1929, in Frankfurt, Germany. She was the first born to Edith and Otto Heinrich and to an older sister named Margot. Her family was quite liberal and did not observe all the customs of Judaism. After the Nazi Party, led by Adolf Hitler, won the election in 1933, Anne together with her mother and sister went to live with her grandmother, Rosa (Edith’s Mum) in Aachen, while her father remained in Frankfurt. Otto later moved to Amsterdam where he was joined by his wife and children. Anne and her sister were enrolled in separate schools.

4. Writings

Unlike her sister Margot who was interested in arithmetic, Anne had a keen interest in reading and writing. Anne’s friend, Hanneli Goslar, recounted that as a child, Anne would write but would hide her work from others. When Anne and her family went into hiding, she dedicated most of her time to writing. She frequently wrote about her difficult relationship with her mother and with the rest of her family. Her writings also included her feelings, ambitions, and her belief in God. She also wrote on subjects that she felt she could not discuss with anyone.

3. Challenges

Anne Frank was born at a time when the Nazis gained control over Germany. Her family, being Jewish, could not move or interact freely with other Germans. Although they sought refuge in the Netherlands, Anne had to go into hiding alongside the rest of her family for two years from 1942 to 1944. In one of her entries, she speaks about the challenges of living in hiding and wishes for the persecution to end so that she could interact with the rest of the world. She could not continue with her schooling although she always hoped that one day she would go back to school and study journalism. Anne did not enjoy her relationship with her mother. On November 7, 1942, she described her contempt towards her mother and concluded by saying “she’s not a mother to me.”

2. Major Contributions

While Anne Frank lived for only 16 years, her writings continue to live on to date. Her diary was published into a book titled “The Diary of a Young Girl” which been translated into over 60 languages and has been the basis for several films and plays. In 1960, the Anne Frank House, which contains some personal items of the occupants of Achterhuis was opened to the public. The house is one of Amsterdam’s top tourist attractions. In 1963, Otto Frank set up the Anne Frank Fonds charitable foundation in Basel which educates young people against racism. The Anne Frank Education Center was opened in 1997 near Frankfurt where people can learn about the history of National Socialism.

1. Death and Legacy

Anne Frank, together with the occupants of the Achterhuis, were arrested on August 4, 1944 by a group of German Policemen. Anne and her family were taken to Auschwitz concentration camp where Otto Frank was separated from his family. Anne was later relocated to Bergen-Belsen where she was briefly reunited with some of her friends. The camp was characterized by several diseases including typhoid and fever in early 1945. The exact date of Anne Frank's death is not known but several dates have been put forward, most commonly between February and April 1945.


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