Tuesday, August 9, 2022

What Happened to Anne Frank? Find Out What Happened to Her

anne-frank-primeMost of you know who Anne Frank is. She was a young girl, born in 1929, who kept track of her life’s events with a diary during her time in the Netherlands. At that time, the country was controlled by Germany, and the Nazis were going town to town, attempting to find any Jewish people to send away to concentration camps. Her diaries explore her dramatic attempts to hide and escape from the government, and they are also considered to be one of the best inside views of Holocaust victims. Her writings have become classics, reproduced every year for people around the world to read. Many plays, television shows, and movies have been based on her works. The question now, however, is what ever happened to Anne Frank? After she wrote these diaries, did she find freedom? Was she taken away by the Nazis? How did her writings get into the hands of mainstream culture?

Anne Frank was born a German, in Frankfurt. Her family was Jewish, and at the time, that put them in immense danger. They were, however, liberal Jews, which meant that they didn’t practice the religion the way most Jews did. Liberal Jews are a lot like a non-denominational Christian, just Jewish. Anne Frank started reading books at a young age. Her parents encouraged her and her siblings to, as it would make them more educated.

A few years later, Frankfurt held a ballot for community council. The Nazi Party, lead by Adolf Hitler, won the election. Shortly after, demonstrations of hate and prejudice to Jews started to take place along the city streets. The Frank family was now in danger. They ended up moving away from their hometown, and they were one family out of hundreds of thousands of other Jewish families to do the same.

They moved to the Netherlands, where Anne and her siblings were put into school. Anne flashed great writing and reading ability in her classes, and seemed to be head and shoulders above her peers on an intellectual level. Things seemed alright for a while, as the family was safe to live as they pleased.

However, in 1940, the Netherlands were stormed by the Germans, and the Nazi Party had taken over a new country. The Franks were in danger once again, and had to go into hiding. This is where Anne first started to write her diaries.

Anne received a small, red book for her thirteenth birthday. She wanted to log her daily life in it, like a personal diary. She started to write about the changes occurring in her life at the time, including Germany’s taking-over of the Netherlands, and her grandmother’s death. She also wrote a lot of her personal troubles. She revealed some her life’s dreams, including her desire to pursue a career in acting. She also wrote about how she wanted to go the movie theater, but Jews were not allowed to use them at the time.

The Franks soon completely went into hiding. They had a furtive hiding room, which was covered by a bookshelf. They messed up all the furniture in their apartment, and dirtied up the house to create the illusion that they had just recently fled their home. Anne’s father, Otto Frank, even wrote a small note saying that the family was leaving the Netherlands to live in Switzerland.

Anne wrote about this event, and she gave an incredible amount of details of how Jews were living during this time. She wrote about how her family wasn’t the only one hiding in the building; many Jews were also hiding during that time. The owners of the house were the only people aware of the Jews residing inside. They helped them survive by supplying them with food, water, and safety. They swore to not let anyone know. Anne kept track of all this in her diary, and she wrote about her admiration of the owners. They tried to keep everyone in a happy spirit, even during the darker moments. They also were incredibly brave, since getting caught housing the wanted Jews would put them in prison, and possibly give them the death penalty.

Around this time, another family joined Anne’s in the house. One of the members of the new family was a boy named Peter, who was close to Anne in age. Anne documented all of this in her diary, and she put down how happy it made her to be able to talk and socialize with new people again. She hadn’t been able to experience this very often during her family’s hiding; it was the first time since she was at school. She did, however, have her problems getting along, but she wrote that for the most part, she was thankful that these new people had come to live with her.

The boy named Peter was very shy, according to Anne’s diary writings. She was never able to talk or connectanne-frank-then with him personally. However, she soon spent more time trying to get to know him, and they fell in love. She wrote about their first kiss – it was also her very first kiss – but she started doubting their relationship after a while. She wondered if he actually liked her, and if they were destined to be together, or if the fact that they were confirmed together and the only people of opposite sexes their age pushed them together and created a relationship that wouldn’t have existed under other circumstances.

Anne’s diary was very detailed. She created profiles of not only all of her family members, but also of the other Jews who were currently residing with her at the time. Anne and her father had the strongest bond; she wrote many times about how they were closer than any other members of the family or people living with them. She could talk to him about anything. Her father agreed that he was closest with Anne, as well. Anne’s sister, Margot, was poor at showing her feelings, and liked to keep everything inside of her. She was more of an introvert. Anne, however, was completely the opposite. She wanted to talk about her feelings, and express herself. This is why she wrote in her diary so much. Anne felt like writing down all of what went on around her would give her something to do; it gave her life a purpose. It also helped her emotionally, as holding all of her emotions in, like her sister did, would have been an unhealthy thing to do. Her father loved that about her, as he was the same way, and they were able to talk to each other about their feelings on multiple occasions, and it made them both feel better.

Anne’s personality was not without flaws, however. She got jealous at times towards her big sister Margot, as she wished she had the shy nature her sister had. Her other family members would remind her of this, often saying things such as “why can’t you be more like Margot”. However, as Anne got older and more mature, she and her sister developed a special bond, and they became very close. She would write lots of nice things about her sister and their relationship.

Anne’s relationship with her mother, however, was much different than her relationships with her father and sister. She and her mother would argue a lot. Anne was uneasy when the thought of confronting her mother would arrive. She thought her mother was careless, and she refused to talk to her because her sarcasm was too much to handle. She even went on to say that she hated her and didn’t even consider her to be her mother. As Anne matured, she revised parts of her diary, and she wrote about how she was ashamed of what she had written, and she did not feel that way. It was an example of her emotions getting the best of her. She realized that this hardship must have been taking a toll on her mother, and Anne’s attitude and reluctance to speak with her only made things worse. She started to treat her mother in a more kindly manner, with much more respect than before.

Everything changed one morning in August of 1944. Someone, who to this day has never been identified, reported to the Nazis that there were Jews hiding in the building Anne was hiding in, and the Nazi army broke in, and took all of the hiding Jews. They were held and questioned for the rest of the day, until they were transferred to a prison. A few days after that, they were moved to a concentration camp. The camp was severely overcrowded, with hundreds of thousands of Jews living there, and hundreds of thousands more had already died there. Because the Franks were in hiding, they were considered criminals, and went to a different part of the camp to do extra difficult and strenuous labor.

A few members of the house that Anne and her family used to hide in were released early from prison. They returned to the house and found Anne’s diary. The vowed to return it to her after the war was over. Unfortunately, while that time did come, there was no more Anne Frank to return the book to.

For those wondering what happened to Anne Frank, this is what happened: Otto Frank, Anne’s father, was separated from Anne and the rest of his family. He was sent to another section of the camp. Anne, meanwhile, went with her mother and sister. The Nazis then further organized the group of Jews. Ones who could work were sent one way; ones who could not were sent another. All children were put in the group of those who could not work. All of the unable to work groups were directed to the gas chambers, to meet their sudden fate. Anne, however, was spared and allowed to work, as she had just turned fifteen. She soon found out that the vast majority of her transport to the camp was sent directly to the gas chambers. She figured that most of her family, including her father Otto, had been killed. However, at that time, all of the members of her family were still alive.

Frank was soon “disinfected”, which meant she had all of her hair shaven off, had a number branded to her arm, and she had to remove all of her clothes to be washed. Anne worked all day, carrying large quantities of rocks and shoveling dirt.  During the night, she slept in her designated cabin area, which was overpopulated in a very unhealthy way. When Anne would see young kids heading to the gas chamber to be executed, she would get tearful, however for the most part survivors have said that she gave them hope. Her confidence and charisma helped many others get through the unbelievably rough times. She was also incredibly courageous, as she would sneak extra food to her family.

anne-frank-youngAnne soon got a massive infection known as the scabies. She was sent to a hospital on the camp, which was filled with rodents and poorly managed. Anne’s condition never improved, but she and her family were relocated to another camp. Her mother, however, was left behind and died of starvation. At the new camp, disease was spreading everywhere, killing tens of thousands of Jews that were held there. Because there was a large amount of different diseases, it is unknown what killed Anne Frank. Her sister Margot fell from her bunk and died from shock, and Anne died a few days later. It is still unknown how she died to this very day. Many theories suggest that Anne died of typhus, as the disease was very prominent and some reports from survivors say that they noticed the Frank family displaying signs of the disease.

Only a few thousand of over 100,000 Jews that were captured from the Netherlands had survived the Holocaust. Anne frank was not one of them.

Anne’s father, Otto Frank, did in fact survive. After the camps were liberated, he returned to the Netherlands. He learnt and mourned the death of his family. He was soon given Anne’s diary that she had written. At the time, Otto didn’t know that Anne had kept a diary, let alone one so detailed. He remembered Anne’s desire to become an author, and he decided to attempt to get her diary published. He remembered Anne talking about a radio broadcast from 1944, which said that after the war the man would create a public record of the events of the Holocaust. Otto Frank decided to submit Anne’s diary there. He also gave the works to a historian named Annie Romein-Verschoor; however the book was not published by either him nor the man from the radio show. Finally, in 1950, the book was published.

In 1952, the book was released overseas, titled Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, in the United States. The book was released to critical lauding and commercial success. Surprisingly, the book was most popular in Japan, where it sold over a hundred thousand copies within its first wave of printing. Since then, the book has been republished a countless number of times. Most copies were abridged, with parts about Anne’s body growth and family issues removed. However, over time, the unabridged version has become preferred due to its more realistic portrayal of Anne and her mind at the time.

The house that Anne Frank and her family lived in was restored and turned into a museum. Although Anne Frank passed away a long time ago, she continues to live on. Schools all across the world have the students read her diary, and her telling of these events are to this day one of the most detailed and easy to read accounts of the Holocaust. Anne’s writings showed just how terrible the acts of fascism that occurred at the time were, and the fact that she was only a young girl made the fact even more meaningful. Many other books, movies, and other forms of media have been created from her stories, and children around the world are using her diary as a way to learn firsthand about the Holocaust and all of the trouble innocent people had to go through just to attempt to continue their normal lives. Anne Frank showed the world just how horrible the Holocaust was for those in it, and thanks to her work, to this day we will never forget the Holocaust, or the millions of innocent Jews who died during that time.

Andy Debolt
Andy is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a Bachelors Degree in Journalism. When he isn't writing Andy enjoys water sports and spending time on the golf course.
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