April 27, 2022
Anne Frank was born in Germany on the 12 June 1929. Together with her family, she fled to Amsterdam in 1934, after the Nazi party had come to power and brought in restrictions against the Jews. After a happy six years growing up in freedom, the Nazis invaded the Frank family’s new home country, bringing in similar laws to those that the family sought to escape when they left Germany.
As the situation continued to worsen, with Jewish men being arrested and sent to concentration camps, Anne’s father Otto began to think about how he could keep his family safe. By the spring of 1942 he had decided to create a hiding place in an empty part of his business premises. Anne and her family went into hiding in July 1942, the day after her older sister Margot received a letter requesting her to report for deportation to a work camp.
Just one month prior to going into hiding, Anne had celebrated her 13th birthday. One of the gifts she received from her parents was a checked fabric notebook that would become her personal diary. During the two years Anne and her family were living in secret she chronicled her daily routine, expressing her feelings about her friends, family and the other four people in hiding with them, with her fears about the war and her hopes for the future. The eight residents of the secret annexe were together for just over two years before they were all betrayed in August 1944 and sent to Auschwitz in Poland. Anne and her sister Margot died of starvation and disease in Bergen Belsen camp in the spring of 1945, not long before the camp’s liberation.
Anne’s father was the only member of her family to survive the war and on his return to the Netherlands was given his daughter’s diary, which had been kept safe by Miep Gies, one of Otto’s trusted employees who had helped protect them. Despite being aware of his daughter’s wish to become a published author, Otto was unsure about publishing the diary, but after sharing it with friends whose opinions he valued, the consensus was that everyone should read it as a way of understanding what had been lost in the Holocaust. In June 1947, two years after her death, Anne’s diary was published. It has since been translated into over 70 languages and made into several film and TV interpretations. In 1960 the site of the secret annex in Amsterdam became a museum called the Anne Frank House where the original diary is on display.
There are several activities that children can do to research and remember the life of Anne Frank:
We have also produced a pack entitled Uncovering the Girl Behind the Diary, developed in collaboration with Gillian Walnes Perry MBE, Co-founder and Vice President of the Anne Frank Trust UK. This resource explores how the life of Anne Frank can be used to support pupils as they prepare to move to secondary school. By getting to know Anne’s likes, dislikes, feelings, and emotions, teachers can discuss challenging topics such as the fear of others, the difference between public and private writing, relationships with family, and concerns over moving school and making new friends.
The resource pieces together quotes from Anne’s diary and her short stories with historical information about her life before the war, her relationship with her parents and sibling, her fears about the war and her attitude to school and learning, all helping to create a clearer picture of the girl behind the diary.
Join our webinar on 9th June at 19:30-20:15, where we will be discussing the resource above with Gillian who will talk about how the study of Anne Frank can help address pupils' concerns about their school transition, such as how friendships will change in secondary school, about differences between the primary and secondary school environment and what suggestions pupils would like to make for future Year 6’s and at their new school.