Early Life (June 12,1929-June 15,1942)
Anne Frank, a courageous girl, was gifted a red and white checkered diary by her friend on her thirteenth birthday. She named it Kitty and started writing her feelings and happenings around her as she never had a good friend. Kitty turned to be her friend in which she confided everything. Thus, it was a source of comfort and support to her. Apart from Kitty she received many other gifts like a game, a bottle of grape juice and a blue blouse, a puzzle, a jar of cold cream, 2.50 guilders and a gift certificate, two books from her parents. She celebrated her birthday in the school by sharing cookies with her teachers and her classmates. They played volley-ball, danced around Anne in a circle and sang ‘Happy Birthday’. Then she went home where her friends Ilse Wagner, Hanneli Goslar and Jacqueline van Maarsen were waiting for her. They were called Anne, Hanne and Sanne by others. Her friends presented her a beautiful book—Dutch Sagas and Legends. A puzzle, a darling brooch and a book ‘Daisy goes to the Mountains’ were some of the other gifts presented by her aunts.
Anne celebrated her birthday party on Sunday afternoon. She watched the Rin Tin Tin movie with her friends. It was a big hit. The list of Anne’s friends as written in her diary includes her classmates as well as boys. Her best friend in her class was Jacqueline Van Maarsen but later she realized she never had a real friend and was mistaken about Jacqueline.
Anne had many friends. Betty Bloemendaal looked kind of a poor girl as she lived in some obscure street in West Amsterdam and was a quiet girl. D.Q. was a nervous girl and the teachers always kept assigning her extra homework as punishment. Henny Mets and Ilse Wagner were nice girls with cheerful dispositions. E. S. talked too much whereas Hanneli Goslar was a shy girl—outspoken at home but reserved around other people J.R. was a detestable girl who thought she was grown up. She was easily offended and burst into tears at the slightest thing. There were a few nice girls also in the list -Nannie van Praag-Sigaar, Eefje de Jong and G.Z.
Among the boys there were some who admired her friends, some she regarded as funny, smart but there were others who were quite boring.
But the strange thing was that Anne did not have a true friend. She needed a friend in whom she could confide but there was none. Finally she decided to make ‘Kitty’ her friend and share her secrets with her.
Anne and her Family (June, 20,1942)
Anne’s father, Otto Frank, was an adorable father. He got married to Anne’s mother at the age of thirty-six. Anne had an elder sister, Margot who was bom in 1926 and Anne was bom on June 29,1929. They lived at Frankfurt till Anne was four years old. Her father worked in a Dutch Opekta Company, which manufactured products used in making jam. In 1933, her parents immigrated to Holland as her father had become the Managing Director of the company. The daughters, Margot and Anne, were sent to stay with their grandmother at Aachen. Anne was sent to a Montessori nursery school where she stayed till she was six. Her teacher in the sixth grade was Mrs. Kuperus, the principal. Both of them had grown a liking for each other and were in tears when Anne had to leave the school as she had been accepted at the Jewish Lyceum.
Life in Germany : Anne’s family lived a life full of anxieties as their relatives in Germany were suffering under Hitler’s anti-Jewish laws. In 1938, her uncles (mother’s brothers) fled from Germany and took a safe refuge in North America whereas their elderly grandmother, aged seventy three came to live with them.
Trouble started for the Jews after May 1940 as a series of anti-Jewish decrees restricted their freedom. According to the Germans, Jews were required to wear a yellow star, forbidden to use street-cars, not even own or ride them.. Their shopping time was fixed between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. There were so many restrictions but life went on. Meanwhile Anne’s grandmother got sick and she died in January 1942. Anne loved her very much and when Anne celebrated her birthday in 1942, grandma’s candle was lit with the others.
Life at School (June 21,1942)
Anne and her five friends formed a club called ‘The Little Dipper Minus Two’. They used to play a lot of ping pong. After a lot of games of ping-pong they used to go to the nearest ice cream parlour that allowed Jews.
June 21,1942 made Anne a little nervous. Actually, it was the day when they were worried about an upcoming meeting in the school in which the teachers would decide the promotion of students to the next grade. Anne was a bit skeptical about Maths.
There were nine teachers in Anne’s school out of which seven were men. Her Maths teacher, Mr. Keesing, had warned her several times as she talked too much. One day, he assigned her an extra home work, an essay on ‘A Chatterbox’. Anne jotted down the assignment and tried to stay quiet. She decided to write an essay that had convincing arguments to prove the necessity of talking. Mr. Keesing enjoyed the arguments but when she talked again in the class, she was assigned another topic ‘An incorrigible chatterbox’. Then in the third class, the topic was ‘Quack
Quack Quack ‘ Anne had exhausted her ingenuity on the topic of chatterboxes. So, she took the help of her friend
Sanne who was good at poetry. They wrote the essay from beginning to end in verse. It was a beautiful poem about a mother duck and father swan with three baby ducklings that were bitten to death by father for quacking too much. Mr. Keesing took the joke in the right way and since then Anne had been allowed to talk and hadn’t been assigned any extra homework.
First meeting with Hello (July 1-5,1942)
Since Jews were not allowed to make use of cars they used to walk wherever they went. On June 24,1942 as Anne passed the bicycle racks, she heard her name being called. When she turned around, she saw her friend Wilmas’ second cousin Hello Silberberg, standing there. Anne was surprised and wasn’t sure what he wanted but still they walked together to school and it continued afterwards also. On the way Hello told Anne about himself that he came from Gelsenkirchen and was living with his grandparents. His parents were in Belgium. He used to have a girlfriend named Ursula but later left her as he didn’t enjoy her company. On Julyl, 1942, Hello told Anne that his grandmother wanted him to meet Ursul and not Anne but Anne could feel that Hello was in love with her and not Ursul. Even Margot and Anne’s mother had developed a liking for Hello which Anne liked. Though she knew in her heart that it was Peter and not Hello whom she loved. Hello was just a friend or as her mother put it—a suitor.
Call-up Notice (July 9-11,1942)
After the results were decl’ared and Anne got her examination results. Anne noticed that her father looked worried about something. When she asked him, he told her that they had to go into hiding. They had already started making preparations by sending their clothes, food and furniture to other people as they neither wanted their belongings to be seized by the Germans nor to be into their clutches. Anne got scared.
On July 8,1942 Margot informed Anne that father had received a call-up notice from the SS. The call-up notice brought the vision of concentration camps and lonely cells and that was frightening. Another terrible jolt came when they realised that the call-up notice was not for Otto but for Margot. After much discussion, it was decided to go into hiding even if it had to be a month earlier than what had been planned.
Margot and Anne started packing their belongings. They packed everything from curler, handerkerchiefs to clothes, school bags and not to forget Anne’s diary. Miep and Jan Gies helped them in shifting their baggage and finally at seven-thirty the family left for their hiding place. They left the house in a mess to create an impression that they had left in a hurry.
Hiding Place: As the Jews were not allowed any conveyance, they walked in pouring rain to reach their hiding place, which was located in Otto’s office-building. The office people- Mr. Kugler, Mr. Kleiman, Miep and Bep Voskuijl- all were informed of their coming. Finally, they reached the building. There was a large warehouse on the ground floor which was used as a workroom and a store room. There was a stairway which led to the ‘Office’ – a very large and light room. There was a kitchen with a hot water heater and two gas burners and a bathroom on the second floor. A wooden staircase led to the third floor. One of its doors led to the ‘Secret Annexe’ at the back of the house. There were many doors behind that which led to a kitchen, a large spacious room, and a washroom.
After they arrived at 263, Prinsengracht. Miep led them to their rooms which were full of the cardboard boxes which they had been shifting. Anne and her father cleared most of it and turned it into a place of living. They found the annexe to be an ideal and comfortable hiding place. Otto plastered the walls with postcards, movie star collection, and pictures to make it look good. Anne’s mother stitched curtains crookedly with unskilled fingers to hang on the windows and doors so that their neighbours might not hear or see them. They loaded the place with strawberries and cherries. They also had a supply of reading material, and decided to buy lots of games to keep themselves quiet so that the people downstairs could not hear them.
Life At Secret Annexe (July 12,1942)
Life at the annexe was not comfortable. Remaining indoors the whole day was quiet boring. By this time Anne had a feeling that her mother did not like her. She loved Margot more than Anne. Though she praised her when she worked hard but she used to pick on her again after five minutes. This was not the case with her father. He liked her and always stood by her. He came to her defence also when she required.
August 14,1942: August 14,1942 brought a change in the life of the Franks as Van Daans also shifted with them. Germans had sent call-up notices to them also but they had no other option except hiding like the Franks. Now there were seven of them- the Franks, Mrs. and Mr. Van Daan and Peter Van Daan, their son. They wanted to know from Van Daans what had happened after they left their apartment. Mr. Van Daan told them that their landlord Mr. Goldschmidt had called him and showed him the note that the Frank family had left behind and so he was planning to bring the cat. While clearing the things, they found a notepad with an address in Maastricht written on it. Mr. Van Daan somehow convinced him that they might have shifted to Maastricht.
September 2,1942 : Mrs. Van Daan had started behaving in a strange way. She never wanted her house-hold things to be used in the daily routine and so started keeping them under lock and key. Her son Peter was hypersensitive and lazy boy. He did not have access to the books that Mr. Vein Daan read as it was meant only for adults. This had piqued Peter’s curiosity and he caught hold of one of the books. When Mr. Van Daan came to know about it, there was a great feeling of quarrel between the two and Peter didn’t take his meals. On the other hand Margot was allowed to read those books. No restriction was imposed on her. Anne’s mother was of the opinion that girls are more mature and hence should be allowed to read the books.
Life Between September And October 1942
Life went on in the same monotonous way. Every other day there was a quarrel or a hot discussion between Anne’s mother and Mrs. Van Daan. There was no change at all. Anne started reading some books. She worked hard at French and crammed five irregular verbs. She helped her father with Dutch lessons .Anne’s mother still scolded her and she grew a disliking towards her. Sometimes she used to burst into tears. There were hot discussions on petty topics like maids, which always ended with both of them in real bad moods. Sometimes there were bickering between the two ladies but most of the time Anne’s mother had to step back as Mrs. Van Daan seemed to be bom debater.
While in hiding, these people faced another problem and that was of taking bath. They used to wash themselves in a wash tub as there was no bath tub. It was very inconvenient till one day Peter gave Anne the idea of taking bath in the spacious office bathroom. Anne liked the idea as well as the place better than anything else. On other days Anne used to think about the days when they would come out of their hiding. On October 7,1942 she imagined herself in Switzerland where they had a beautiful house with beautiful new furniture. She bought so many things when she went to the market as her father had given her 150 guilders. But all this was a dream which never came true.
Life At The Jew Camp: On October 9,1942, Anne Frank noted that many of their J ewish friends and acquaintances were shifted to a big camp in Drenthe. The Gestapo was treating all of them badly. Miep told them that a person had managed to escape from there and informed that it was terrible at the camp. The people got almost nothing to eat, much less to drink as water was available only one hour a day. There was only one toilet and sink for thousand people. It was quite depressing and dismal when Anne heard about it.
A Scary Incident (October 20 1942)
Anne continued her studies during her stay at the secret annexe. On October 14,1942, she translated a chapter, wrote down some vocabulary words, worked on maths problems and also translated three pages of French Grammar. She had started working at short-hand also which she used to enjoy. She read a lot of Komer plays like Hedwig, The cousin, From Bremer, The Governess, The Green Domino, etc. By now, her relationship with her mother had also improved and Margot and Anne exchanged their diaries with each other to read.
The most frightening thing that happened on October 20,1942 was that a carpenter had come that day to fill the five fire extinguishers in the building. The office staff forgot to inform them. But somehow Anne could make it when she heard the hammering on the landing. She informed others about it. Anne and her father stationed themselves at the door so they could hear when the man had left. After about fifteen minutes, the carpenter put his hammer and some other tools on the bookcase (or so they thought) and banged on the door. They turned white with fear presuming that someone had got suspicious about someone living in that place. The knocking, pulling, pushing and jerking at the door continued for some time. Anne fainted out of fear that someone had discovered their wonderful hiding place. It was only after they heard Mr. Kleiman’s voice saying, ‘Open up, it’s me’ that they all heaved a sigh of relief. They opened the door at once.
Actually, the hook fastening the book case (against the door) had got stuck. The carpenter had left after finishing his work and at the same time Mr. Kleiman arrived to get Bep but he couldn’t open the bookcase. For Anne, it was a terrible day as she imagined a giant, the crudest fascist in the world, was trying to get inside the secret annexe.
But everyone soon got over it and life returned to its previous tone. On October 29,1942 they got the information that the furniture had been removed from van Daan’s apartment but they didn’t inform Mrs. Van Daan as she already had grown nervous the last few days. Anne spent most of the time reading books written by well known German authors. Her mother also gave her a prayer book to read. She read them but wondered why mother wanted her to be religious and devout.
November 9,1942 – November 20,1942
Mr. Frank became ill, but the family could not call a doctor. That weekend, Bep Voskuijl, another worker in Mr. Frank’s office, stayed in the annexe. Anne was not happy with her mother as she found something or the other to scold Anne. She never passed any judgement on Margot but always found faults in whatever Anne did. Perhaps that was the reason Anne turned to her diary and confided in it. Mr. Frank recovered from his illness, and Peter turned sixteen on 9 November 1942. The residents of the annexe also agreed to take in an eighth person, and Anne was quite excited at the prospect of a new addition. The new entrant was Albert Dussel, a dentist who was married to a Christian woman. Mr. Dussel was excited when Miep informed him of the hiding place, but he asked for some time to put his accounts in order and treat some patients. Mr. Dussel met Mr. Kleiman at an appointed time, and Miep then led him to the annexe. Mr. Dussel was surprised when he met the Frank family because he had heard they were in Belgium. The van Daans gave Mr. Dussel a list of rules when he arrived. He shared a room with Anne and told her about the shocking things happening outside, including the murders of women and children. Anne thought herself to be lucky to be in hiding, and she thought of the suffering her friends must undergo merely because they were Jewish. Anne was very upset by the news, but she decided that she could not spend all her time crying. The loneliness of the attic made her feel bad.
November 28,1942-June 13,1943
Anne started having a feeling that Mr. Dussel was a strict disciplinarian. Meanwhile, it was time for the celebrations of Hanukkah and St. Nicholas Day which fell on almost the same day. They lighted the Hanukkah candles for only ten minutes as the candles were in short supply. For St. Nicholas Day, father hid a basket filled with presents and a mask of Black Peter in a cabinet.
Van Daan made sausages to preserve the meat they had bought. Mr. Dussel started a dental practice in the annexe and tried to fix Mrs. van Daan’s cavities. Anne got tired of Mrs. van Daan’s incessant complaints and was annoyed that Mr. Dussel constantly told her to be quiet at night. Mr. Kugler brought the residents gravy packets to fill because there was no one else to do the job. According to Anne, however, it was a prisoner’s job. Meanwhile so much was happening outside. Jews were being taken from their homes and separated from their families, and non-Jewish children were wandering the streets in hunger. Both Christians and Jews wanted the war to end, and she believed that her family was better off than people outside the annexe. Anne realised that everyone was always yelling at her and calling her ‘exasperating’. Mr. Frank thought the war would end soon, but the level of anxiety in the annexe increased. Anne got frightened by the sound of gunfire one night and crawled into her father’s bed for comfort. Another night, Peter also climbed up into the loft and a rat bit his arm. The residents got frightened when they heard the sound of burglars in the building. Later, the residents heard a radio announcement that all Jews must be deported from Utrecht and the other provinces of the Netherlands by the beginning of July. Mr. Dussel received a package for his birthday from his wife. Anne noticed that Mr. Dussel did not share his personal food with the other residents or the Dutch helpers. Anne felt that her family was better off than the vast majority of Jews. She predicted that they would look back and wonder how they lived for so long under such difficult conditions. Mr. van Daan believed that the war would end in 1943. On Anne’s fourteenth birthday, her father wrote a poem for her, and Margot translated it from German to Dutch.
June 15,1943-November 11,1943
Mr. Voskuijl did not feel well and was diagnosed with cancer and knew he did not have long to live. Anne decided that she would not learn shorthand anymore as she was becoming nearsighted and reading glasses could not be arranged. The group briefly considered sending her out to an ophthalmologist, but Mr. Frank had heard that the British had landed in Sicily, and so the war would end soon. There was another break-in at the office, and this time the robbers took cash and ration coupons for sugar. Anne thought she would be overjoyed when the war would end as she wanted to go back to school again. Two air-raid sirens sounded in one day as bombs fell relentlessly on Amsterdam. The residents of the annexe got scared, but Anne tried to be brave. They heard the good news that Benito Mussolini, Italy’s fascist leader, had been deposed. Italy surrendered unconditionally, but Anne’s happiness was tampered by the news that Mr. Kleiman had to undergo a stomach surgery. She was worried that Mr. Van Maaren, a man who worked in the warehouse and was not trustworthy, would find out about the hiding place. Anne sometimes used to get frustrated and depression started building in. Anne compared herself to a bird with broken wings, longing for fresh air and sunshine. Margot decided to take a correspondence course in Latin to overcome her boredom, but Anne found it too difficult. Mr. Frank asked Mr. Kleiman for a children’s Bible so that Anne could learn about the New Testament. Anne was constantly afraid of being discovered, and compared the eight residents to a patch of blue sky surrounded by dark clouds. The clouds were setting in, and they could see both the destruction below them and the peace above them.
Anne had a fountain pen which she valued highly. She got it when she was nine years old. It had come from her grandmother in a red leather case. When she was ten she took the pen to school and her teachers allowed her to use it. At the age of twelve it was given a new case in honour of the day she started at the Jewish lyceum. When she turned thirteen she took the pen to the annexe along with her and now that when she was fourteen it was enjoying its last year. One Friday afternoon, as Anne was busy in rubbing beans, she swept the floor and threw die dust in the stove. When she went back to her seat she found her pen missing. Everyone looked for it but all in vain. Next day, the remains of the pen were found when Mr. Frank emptied the stove. There was no trace of the gold nib. Anne was left with one consolation that at least her pen had been cremated just as she would be some day.
Bep had diphtheria and she was not allowed to come in contact with any of them for six weeks. It was very difficult to manage without her. Mr. Kleiman was still in bed and had taken only gruel for three weeks. Mr. Kugler was busy upto his neck in work. Margot started sending Latin lessons to a teacher under the registered name of Bep. The teacher corrected and sent them back. Mr. Dussel was in a state of confusion as Mrs. Van Daan wanted a treat from him on his first anniversary in the annexe.
Anne had a vision of Hanneli in her dreams. She saw her thin and worn wearing rags. She looked at her with sadness as if she wanted to ask why Anne had deserted her. Anne felt guilty for not having thought of her for month in fact she had not forgotten her. She felt helpless as she could not do anything for Hanneli.
It was again time to celebrate St. Nicholas Day but this time they could not celebrate it like last year so, Mr. Frank and Anne decided to write a verse for each person. Anne removed the note at quarter to eight from the big laundry basket and read it aloud. She then asked them to look into the basket for his or her shoe. There was a roar of laughter as everyone took out the shoe because inside each shoe was a little wrapped package addressed to its owner.
Anne was not well as she suffered from flu. She had a bad cough and had to duck under the blanket to try to keep from coughing. They were scared of somebody listening to the coughing. She was given all sorts of treatments to subside her coughing. Bep was still not well but her sister was a bit better. Everyone got something or the other for Flanukkah. The weather was drizzly and overcast and their spirits were low as there was no sign of the war to end.
Anne and other residents were quite moody during their stay at he annexe. Sometimes they felt ‘on top of the world’ and at other times ‘in tjie depths of despair’. Sometimes she used to feel herself fortunate as compared to other Jewish children. She wished to be out in the fresh air, longed to ride a bike, dance, whistle and feel that she was free. She often missed having a mother who took her seriously.
Anne received the Christmas present. Miep had made a delicious Christmas cake with ‘peace 1944’ written on top. Bep provided a batch of cookies. There was a jar of yogurt for Peter, Margot and Anne and a bottle of beer for each of the adults.
Anne again dreamt of grandmother and Hanneli. She thought about her grandma who was so loyal and good. She would never let any of her grandchildren down. She always stuck up for Anne despite her misbehaviour. When she thought of Hanneli she called herself selfish and coward and thanked God for giving her so much which she didn’t even deserve.
There were fewer squabbles in the annexe. Sometimes it was there but only because of food and that too because of the ridiculous ideas of Mrs. Van Daan. For the last few months they had been splitting up the meat, the soup, the potatoes and this time it was the fry potatoes. Anne wished they could split up completely.
Anne went through her diary as she had nothing to do and found that she had shown negative feelings towards her mother. She was shocked and started wondering why she had written such things in her diary. Then she cleared her conscience by telling herself that it was only because her mother did not understand her and she also did not try to be one with her feelings. But that period was now over.
Anne had grown wiser and mother steadier. She stopped retaliating against her mother and tried to think better words to write unpleasant words on paper rather than on her mother’s heart.
Anne realised that her mother tried to be friendly with her whereas she wanted her to be a typical mother tactful and gentle. Once, Anne had gone to a dentist along with her mother and Margot. When the dentist job was over, her mother told her to go back while she and Margot decided to shop. Anne didn’t like the idea as she also wanted to go for shopping. The reason for sending her back was that she had her bike with her. Anne got so annoyed that she rebuked them publicly.
Another thing which she confessed in her diary was her becoming consciousness of the changes that were taking place in her body as well as her mind. Her periods had started and she wanted to have a girl-friend to share her secrets.
Anne liked to have a friend and she decided to select Peter for this role. Once she went to his room but she didn’t gather the courage to talk to him in a friendly way. She came back to her room and cried a lot. That night she had a dream in which she saw herself with Peter-Peter Schiff. When she woke up she could still feel his cheek against her and staring into her eyes. She had earlier dreamt of her granny (paternal grandmother) grandma (maternal grandmother) and Hanneli but this time it was Peter. His mental image was so clear that she didn’t need photograph of him.
Anne recollects how she was in love with Sally’s cousin – Appy. But later she realized that she had an out-and- out crush on Peter. They used to go together through their neighbourhood the whole summer. Years went by and Peter started meeting other girls arousing Anne’s jealousy towards those girls. The older she grew, the more she loved Peter. She used to do nothing else but think about Peter.
Bep, Miep and Jan fell ill. Bep had a bad cold whereas, the other two had upset stomachs. Anne kept herself busy practising dance steps every evening. Everyone in the annexe was interested in reading a book ‘A Cloudless Morning’ which dealt with a number of adolescent problems. Margot had got nicer feelings and started becoming a nice friend. On the other hand Anne’s mother believed that there was no mother like her who had such a good relationship and understanding of her daughters. Anne thought she was wrong. She kept on thinking about Peter most of the time.
The annexe residents had divided many things like meat, fats and oils. They were trying their own potatoes. The relationships had a change. Mother’s birthday was approaching. She had received some extra sugar from Mr. Kugler which made Van Daans jealous of her as Mrs. van Daan had not received such kind of courtesy from anyone.
Anne kept dreaming about Peter and her dreams were less vivid now. She used to be jealous of Margot’s relationship with father but gradually this emotion was weakening. Of course, she still felt hurt when her father used to be unreasonable towards her but she longed for his affection, hugs and kisses. Her mother received a real mocha cafe, prewar quality from the office and it was a nice day.
Anne found a change in her attitude. She started looking towards the petty quarrels with the Van Daans in a different way. She felt that they were not entirely to blame. The fault was on their part also. According to her ‘intelligent people’ (such as ourselves) should have more insight into how to deal with others. Mother should not have been very hard on van Daans.
A strange thing had happened. She could feel that people talk about sex in a secretive or disgusting manner. Even mother told Anne not to discuss sex with anyone especially boys and “if they bring it up, don’t answer them”. She was learning something about the sex from either books or things she picked up in conversations. Mrs. van Daan never discussed this topic with Peter. No one knew how much information did Peter have on this topic but one day, after a discussion whether Boche was a tomcat or a cat, Peter took Anne downstairs and showed her the sexual organ to confirm that it was a male cat. They had more discussions on this topic but Anne felt that she could discuss the topic normally with Peter, without craddng jokes.
Anne developed a great liking for family trees. She spent her Sundays sorting out and looking over movie-star collection. Every Monday Mr. Kugler brought her a copy of ‘Cinema and Theatre’ magazine. Others felt that it was a sheer waste of money but Anne’s knowledge about films and film stars had increased after reading the magazine. She started doing new hair styles. But after getting so many remarks from others she used to restore her hair to their normal mass of curls.
Anne’s mother and Mrs. Van Daan discussed about their childhood quite often and Anne found it very boring. Jan and Mr. Kleiman loved talking about people who had gone underground or into hiding which had become a routine. There were many resistance groups such as free Netherlands, that forget their identity cards, provided financial support to those in hiding, organised hiding places and found work for those young Christians who went underground. Anne felt amazed at the generosity and unselfishness of those people who risked their own lives to help and save others. Other bizarre stories were also making the rounds, e.g., Mr. Kleiman reported of a soccer match held in the province of Gelderland and new registration cards had been issued in Hilversum.
It was a Sunday and Anne found it boring as usual. She went downstairs in the dark all by herself. She stood at the top of the stairs while German planes flew back and forth. She was not afraid. She looked up at the sky and trusted in God. All she wanted to do was scream “Let me be, leave me alone”.
Everywhere, there was talk of inversion. Newspapers were full of invasion news and talks like ‘Germans will do what they can to defend the country, even flooding it, if necessary’ was driving people crazy. People were trying to find ways out if confronted with such situation. There were arguments about going hungry, dying, bombs, fire extinguishers, sleeping bags, I-cards, poison gas, etc., but all of them were not pleasant. Anne was the only person who remained calm throughout the discussion. She just hoped that everything would be all right in the end.
Anne had another row with her mother. Actually, something had pricked Margot while she was tucking herself in the wool blanket when they tried to find out, they found it was a pin left by their mother. When mother was informed about it, she got annoyed and criticized Anne for being careless many times.
It was a good day. The shining sun, the deep blue sky, the magnificent breeze, all made Anne long for conversation, freedom, friends, even being alone. She was in a state of utter confusion as she didn’t know what to read, what to write and what to do.
Anne felt Peter glancing at her most of the time. He had an argument with Mr. Dussel when he was fidgeting with the knobs of the radio and wanted to share it with someone. He found Anne to be the right person who would not tell anyone about it and told her everything. Anne listened intently and felt that he was the person with whom she could have a strong feeling of fellowship.
Mr. Dussel told Anne’s mother that Peter had apologised to him. Anne was surprised at this. She cleared it with Peter who told her that Mr. Dussel had been lying. That evening Mr. Van Daan and Peter snubbed Mr. Dussel and said they never wanted to speak again to each other. Peter had a dental appointment that day.
It was Margot’s birthday. She wanted to make Margot feel special, so she thought of making coffee and potatoes for her. She went to the attic to collect some potatoes and Peter helped her. Then she spent some time with Peter who told her that he had an inferiority complex and would never tell anyone after the war that he was a Jew. Anne didn’t like the dishonesty in him. But Anne could make out that he needed affection. That was the reason he hugged Nouschi so tightly.
Anne read the stories written by her ‘Evas Dream’ and ‘The Secret Annexe’ to Mr. Van Daan. Peter also came there and Anne made him read the part where Cady and Haws talked about God. She told him that she wanted him to see that she did not write amusing stories only.
Anne started going to Peter’s room frequently. Her mother didn’t approve of it and always told her not to bother him. She sometimes looked in an odd way at her when she came out of his room. Anne hated her for this.
Anne longed for Peter all the time. Sometimes she felt like crying and then comforting herself on his shoulder. She went twice upstairs but didn’t get any chance to meet him as he was not in his room. She ran to the washroom and cried a lot. Then she realised that she would never reach Peter in that way. She thought that he might not be interested in her. This thought brought more tears in her eyes and it was quite disappointing to have felt that way.
There was not much difference between the routine of people who were not in hiding and the people living in the annexe except that what they did during the rest of the week happened on Sunday in the annexe, getting up, lighting the stove, washing, cleaning, breakfast, washing up the dishes and laundry were the normal chores.
The weather had turned pleasant. Anne and Peter went to the attic to enjoy the natural breath. They could see the blue sky, chesmot tree, seagulls and other birds and were so rapt in the beauty that they were unable to speak. Anne realised that the best remedy for those who are frightened, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, where they can be alone with the sky, nature and God. It would bring comfort to them.
P. S. Thoughts: To Peter
They had been missing so many things at the internal level. Anne also longed for freedom and fresh air like Peter.
Anne thought about Peter only. She felt that both of them were struggling with their innermost feelings. Both their mothers have no motherly understanding and treated them badly.
Anne couldn’t help herself imagining Peter in front of her eyes all the time. It seemed that Peter Schiff and Peter Van Daan had melted into one Peter. All she wanted was to spend maximum time with Peter. According to Anne, she had grown sentimental and foolish.
Another burglary attempt took place. Mr. Van Daan found both the glass door and the office door open. On moving ahead he found even the doors above open. He checked everything and when he found that nothing was missing he went off to sleep.. But next morning Peter found the front door open and the projector and Mr. Kugler’s new briefcase had disappeared from the closet. They could make out that it was another case of burglary. The only explanation was that the burglar must have had a duplicate key since there were no signs of a forced entry.
Bep shared her inner feelings of dejection and depression with the two ladies-Mrs. Van Daan and Anne’s mother and wanted some help from them to come out of that situation. Anne’s mother told her to think of all other people in the world who had been suffering. Anne got annoyed. She felt how could grown up be stupid and foolish. She wanted to tell Bep something but she could not. She talked to Peter in the afternoon. Even he had something in his mind which he wanted to share with someone.
Anne started having a feeling that her love for Peter was growing. She again went to the attic to bring potatoes. On the way back, she met Peter and sat talking with him for next one hour. Peter asked him ‘In love’ and she replied “Why should I be in love ?” But deep within her even she knew that she was in love with Peter. It seemed crazy to talk about Peter. It gave her happiness.
Normally, Saturday used to be very boring and dull for Anne but this Saturday her father had a conversation with her in French, and then he read out from Dickens. After having finished the lesson she went downstairs and found Peter waiting for her. She liked it; they talked for almost an hour. Anne wondered whether Peter was also in love with her. Mrs. Van Daan asked what was going on between the two of them but she didn’t say anything. At one moment Anne protested “I take that as an insult” still, it was only Peter she thought about.
Van Daans scolded Peter for petty things and Anne disliked this because she felt a feeling of responsibility toWards him. Anne realised that Peter had no friend in whom he could confide. She wanted to be with him to take away his loneliness. She kept hoping to discover that he was dying to see her and then he would be able to express his feelings to her.
Anne thought about her schooldays and she felt them to be unreal; she had many friends and admirers. Even Peter said “You were always the centre of attraction”. But now there was a drastic change in her. She wanted friends, not admirers. She wanted to be friendly with people who respected her for her character and her deeds and not her flattering smile. That’s why she didn’t miss the schooldays. She looked back at her life of 1943 which brought crying spells and loneliness for her but they brought the gradual realization of her faults and shortcomings as well. The second half of 1943 was a bit better. She had became a teenager but was treated more like a grown up. She wanted to change herself, she didn’t want to be with her mother. New year brought another change. She longed for boyfriend and this brought a difference between Anne and her mother.
Margot and Anne wrote notes for each other. Anne dreamed of Peter. In one of her dreams she saw Peter giving her a kiss but telling her that he didn’t love her. In another dream she found Peter telling her that she was flirting and she told Peter that she was not. She was glad when she woke up that it was only a dream and not a reality. In one of her dreams, she dreamt they were kissing each other and realized that Peter had the cheeks of a man who shaved; they were not soft.
10th March was not a good day. Miep caught cold. Mr. Kleiman had not recovered from his illness. The man who used to supply them potatoes got arrested. Someone scared them by knocking on the wall next door. So, many things happened which made Anne feel sad and dejected. She did not want to do anything not even write the diary pages. She met Peter and they talked and chatted for half an hour in the afternoon.
Anne’s desire to be with Peter kept on increasing. She always wanted to be with him, to talk to him. But she was afraid of being a nuisance. Peter had told her that at one time he used to take her as a pain in the neck and according to Anne she also felt the same but the situation had changed now. She wanted both of them to be the best of friends.
Peter was acting as if he had been annoyed with Anne and it was becoming unbearable for Anne. She used to have the hardest time trying to maintain a normal appearance when she was feeling sad and miserable. She wanted to go outside and talk to someone and sometimes she just wished to be alone. The news from the outside world had made her condition worse. Margot sometimes asked her but she didn’t confide in her.
The people who supplied them food coupons got arrested and there were only five blackmarket ration cards with no coupons, no food and no oils. Since Miep and Mr. Kleiman were sick again it was difficult for Bep to manage the shopping. Now their lunch was washed potatoes and pickled kale. The whole house smelt of them. Mr. Van Daan was irritated as well as annoyed. Mr. Van Daan wanted to smoke only. Mr. Frank wanted to stay calm and quiet whereas Mr. Dussel had to complete his assignment.
Bep was down with a bad cold. Mr. Kleiman’s stomach bled so much that he lost consciousness. They wanted Mr. Keiman to go to a reliable doctor to get a medical certificate of ill health. Doctors attended even serious patients on telephone as there was a long line of patients.
Anne had started resenting the idea of sharing a room with Mr. Alfred Dussel whereas Peter had a room of his own. She didn’t like the idea of not talking to Peter. She wanted to share her inner thoughts with him.