The story in brief
Anne Frank is a Jewish girl who had to go into hiding during The Second World War to escape the Nazis. She kept a diary while in hiding at Prinsengracht in Amsterdam. Anne and the others in hiding were discovered and deported to the concentration camps. Of the eight people in hiding only Anne’s father, Otto Frank, survives.
The Secret Annex Online
Discover Anne Frank's hiding place
Anne Frank’s Amsterdam
View the city’s timeline before, during and after the war.
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Anne Frank Timeline
With exceptional photographs and audio and video fragments.
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1925 - 1933: Life in Germany
After getting married, Otto and Edith Frank settle in Frankfurt. They soon have children: Margot in 1926, and Anne in 1929. Those first few years are happy ones, but the economic crisis empowers Hitler’s NSDAP. In 1933, Hitler takes over as leader of the German government. Otto and Edith Frank are deeply worried. Not only are they Jewish, the economic crisis causes many problems. They look for a means of escape.
1933 - 1939: Emigrating to the Netherlands
The Frank family leaves Germany. Otto Frank manages to set up a business in Amsterdam. Edith, Margot and Anne follow him to the Netherlands. They find a place to live on the Merwedeplein. The Franks feel safe and free again. The children go to school, Otto works hard on his business and Edith takes care of the household. But on 1 September 1939 Germany attacks Poland. It is the start of
1940 - 1942: The German invasion
10 May 1940, German troops invade the Netherlands. Five days later the Netherlands surrender. With the Netherlands now occupied, life changes for Jews. Restrictions keep mounting, both for individuals and for Otto's business. Otto tries to emigrate to America with his family but fails. It becomes clear that the family will have to go into hiding. The hiding place in Otto’s business premises are prepared.
1942 - 1944: The hiding place
When Margot is called up to be sent to a German labour camp, Otto and Edith decide the dangers have become too great. They go into hiding with the family in the secret annex. As well as the Franks there are also four other Jews in hiding: Hermann and Auguste van Pels with their son Peter, and Fritz Pfeffer. Four of Otto’s employees help them. Everyone lives in constant fear of being discovered. And it’s certainly not easy for eight people to live in such close quarters.
1942 - 1944: A diary as a best friend
Anne doesn’t just keep a diary during her time in the Secret Annex. She also writes short stories and collects sentences written by other authors in a book. Anne hopes for her diary to be published as a novel after the war. That’s why she starts rewriting it. But Anne does not finish her work. She and the other people in hiding are discovered and arrested.
1944 - 1945: The arrest
On 4 August 1944, everyone in the Secret Annex is arrested. Someone has betrayed them. They are deported first to the Westerbork transit camp, and then on to Auschwitz. Otto Frank is the only person from the Secret Annex to survive the camps, the other people in hiding in the secret annex all perish in different concentration camps. Hermann van Pels is murdered in the gas chambers, and Auguste is thrown in front of a train during a transport. The others die of disease and exhaustion. The identity of their betrayer has never been established.
1945 - 1946: Otto Frank returns
After Auschwitz is liberated, Otto returns to Amsterdam. On his journey back he hears of Edith’s death. Back in Amsterdam, he goes to see Miep and Jan Gies. He hopes Anne and Margot might still be alive, but then discovers that they too did not survive the war. Miep then gives him Anne’s diaries. Otto reads his daughter’s diary. He is surprised by her deep thoughts and feelings.
1947 - 1980: The diary of Anne Frank
Anne wished her diary to be published after the war. At first Otto is not sure what to do. But eventually Anne’s wish is fulfilled: Anne Frank’s diary called ‘The Secret Annex’ is published on 25 June 1947. There are translations, and it is adapted to both film and theatre. People all over the world get to know Anne Frank’s story, and are deeply touched. Otto Frank answers thousands of letters from people who have read his daughter’s diary. He spends the rest of his life working for human rights and respect.