Anne Frank

Mankind can never forget the horror that was the Holocaust. Adolf Hitler’s torture and murder of over six million European Jews is a real-life manifestation of the depths of human depravity, and it will all too easily be repeated if we forget what happened during those dark days of World War II. The stories of Jews who actually hid from the Germans and were imprisoned in concentration camps are effective and stirring reminders of the Holocaust, and of the many stories that have been told about this period, perhaps none are more well known than that of Anne Frank.

A quick background check would reveal that Anne Frank was born June 12, 1929, in Germany to Otto Frank and Edith Frank-Holländer. Her sister Margot was three years old at the time. The worldwide financial crisis known as the Great Depression in the United States was about to begin, and when it did, Germany suffered severe economic problems. Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party blamed these problems on German Jews like the Franks.

Fearing for their safety, Otto Frank left his job at a bank in 1933 and moved the family to Amsterdam, Holland. There the family experienced relative peace until Hitler invaded and occupied the Netherlands beginning in May of 1940. The Nazis enforced a now well-known policy of discrimination against the Jews, saying that Jews had to wear yellow stars, Jewish children were limited to Jewish schools, and imposing many other restrictions. In 1942, the Franks received a letter ordering them to show up for deportation back to Germany.

At that point the Franks, along with several other Jewish families, began hiding in a secret area of several rooms in the building where Otto Frank worked. The people who had worked for Otto kept them supplied with food and news because no one in the hiding place could leave for fear of being arrested. Anne kept a diary while in the hiding place, recording her thoughts and reflections on the persons and events surrounding her.

The Franks and the others knew that Hitler was shuffling the Jews off to Germany and then on to concentration camps where they were being systematically murdered. Even though the allies had begun the Normandy invasion in June, they were not able to prevent Anne Frank and the other Jews in hiding with her from being arrested by the Nazis on August 4, 1944. They were transferred to the Westerbork transfer camp and then later sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, one of Hitler’s many concentration camps. A few weeks before the allies would liberate the camp, Anne and her sister died of typhus in March 1945.

Otto Frank survived and was later given copies of Anne’s diary pages that had been found after the family was arrested. In 1947 he published them in Dutch, but soon Anne’s diary was translated into several other languages including English. Her story became increasingly well known with the creation of a play and film about her life, and the house where the Franks hid was turned into a museum.

Today, schoolchildren all around the world learn about the Holocaust by reading Anne’s diary. Her death has not been pointless, for her voice lives on to remind people everywhere of the tragedy of the Holocaust so that it may never be repeated.

Anne Frank Museum — official museum in Amsterdam located at the house where Anne Frank hid from the Nazis.

The Anne Frank Awards — given annually to those who work for social justice and who combat prejudice in the United Kingdom

Anne Frank Center — homepage of a New York-based organization devoted to promoting tolerance and knowledge of Anne Frank

Anne Frank Fonds — Swiss foundation dedicated to doing good in honor of Anne Frank, and which owns the rights to her writings

Anne Frank Guide — links to various pages and information on Anne Frank for students in several different countries

Anne Frank: Lessons in Human Rights and Dignity — Anne Frank’s biography and other resources from the St. Petersburg Times and Newspaper in Education

Anne Frank Wall — page about a memorial dedicated to Anne Frank and her diary

Anne Frank Was not Alone — lecture describing the Jews of Holland and their World War II experience in light of Anne Frank and her family

Anne Frank the Writer: An Unfinished Story — Anne Frank exhibit at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum

Anne Frank Trust UK — a British trust providing educational programs about Anne Frank and the Holocaust in schools, prisons, and more

BBC: The Diary of Anne Frank — the BBC’s homepage for their series about Anne Frank

The Diary of Anne Frank — information on Anne Frank’s diary and resources for teachers on her life from the Utah Education Network

The Holocaust/Shoah Page — extensive information on the holocaust

Offline Anne Frank Resources — representative bibliography of works by and about Anne Frank

Remember the Holocaust — page of activities for expanding knowledge of the Holocaust after reading Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

We Remember Anne Frank — Scholastic’s lesson plans and suggested activities for teaching students about Anne Frank