Anne begins writing her diary on her thirteenth birthday, June 12, 1942. She is delighted that she received the diary as a birthday gift and plans to confide in it completely. She thinks of the diary as her “one true friend” and even gives it a name: Kitty. At the beginning of the diary, Anne writes about topics that are typical for a thirteen-year-old girl: her classes at school, her classmates, and her friends. Anne lives in Amsterdam with her parents, Otto and Edith Frank, and her sister Margot. The family immigrated to Holland from their native Germany when Anne was four years old due to Hitler’s rise to power. Since the German occupation of Holland in 1940, there have been an increasing number of anti-Jewish decrees in effect that make life much more difficult. Anne mentions these facts, but strives to have an optimistic attitude about life and to focus on things that interest her, such as her crushes and friends.
The Franks are forced to go into hiding in July 1942, when Margot receives a call-up notice from the Gestapo, which they all know means deportation to a “work camp.” With another Jewish family, the van Daans, the Franks have been preparing for this move by having possessions and food slowly transferred to a secret annex at the top of Mr. Frank’s office building. Mr. Frank’s Gentile business partners (Mr. Kleiman and Mr. Kugler) and office staff (Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl) help to conceal the families, bringing them food, other supplies, news and companionship over the next two years. Anne often refers to these good Dutch people as their “protectors.”
The Franks and the van Daans—a family of three consisting of two parents and their son Peter—are later joined by a single man, a dentist named Mr. Dussel, who shares Anne’s room. Anne’s diary documents—often in highly amusing terms—the complexities of life for a group of eight persons living in hiding in close quarters. Anne is also very honest with her diary, often reporting her own petty outrages and arguments,...
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