August 4, 1944: Anne Frank Is Captured By The Nazi Gestapo

August 4, 1944: Anne Frank Is Captured By The Nazi Gestapo

Amsterdam : Netherlands | Aug 04, 2011 at 7:04 PM PDT
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Anne Frank 2009 Film 3/8

Pursuing a tip from a Dutch informer, the Nazi Gestapo captured 15-year-old Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family in a warehouse in Amsterdam. In 1942, out of fear of deportation to a Nazi death camp, the Franks had taken shelter there. They lived in the small area with another Jewish family and a single Jewish man, and were aided by Christian friends. Anne spent much of her time in the “secret annex,” writing in her diary. Although the diary survived the war, overlooked by the Gestapo, Anne and almost all of the others died in the Nazi concentration camps.

On June 12, 1929, Annelies Marie Frank was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. She was the second daughter of Otto Frank and Edith Frank-Hollander, both of Jewish families that had lived in Germany for centuries. With the rise of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in 1933, Otto moved his family to Amsterdam to flee from the escalating Nazi persecution of the Jews. He ran a prosperous spice and jam business in Holland. Anne attended a Montessori school with other middle-class Dutch children. However, in 1940, when Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands, she had to transfer to a Jewish school. In 1942, Otto started setting up a hideaway in an annex of his warehouse on the Prinsengracht Canal in Amsterdam.

On her 13th birthday in 1942, Anne started a diary, discussing her day-to-day experiences, her relationship with her family and friends, and observations about the increasingly dangerous world around her. Less than a month later, Anne’s older sister, Margot, got a call-up notice to report to a Nazi “work camp.” The following day, the Frank family took shelter in the secret annex. Otto Frank’s business partner and his family joined them a week later. The group was joined by a Jewish dentist in November.

The entrance to the secret annex was concealed by a hinged bookcase, and former employees of Otto and other Dutch friends brought them food and supplies. Anne and the others lived in rooms with blacked-out windows, and never flushed the toilet during the day out of fear that their presence would be detected.

On August 1, 1944, Anne made her final entry in her diary. The Nazi Gestapo arrived three days later. Anne and the others were arrested, as well as two of the Christians who had helped shelter them. They were transported to a concentration camp in Holland. The next month, Anne and most of the group were sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. In the fall of 1944, with the Soviet liberation of Poland underway, Anne and her sister, Margot, were shipped to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. Due to the deplorable conditions of the camp, both of the sisters caught typhus and died in early March of 1945. Less than two months later, British forces liberated the camp.

Otto Frank was the only one of the 10 to survive the Nazi concentration camps. Following the war, he went back to Amsterdam, and was reunited with Miep Gies, one of his former employees who had helped shelter him. She gave him Anne’s diary, which she had discovered intact following the Nazi raid. In 1947, Otto published Anne’s diary in its original Dutch as Diary of a Young Girl. An immediate best-seller and eventually translated into over 50 languages, The Diary of Anne Frank has served as a literary testament to the approximately six million Jews, as well as Anne herself, who were silenced in the Holocaust.

The Frank family’s hiding place at Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam opened as a museum in 1960. In 1995, a new English translation of Anne's diary, containing restored material that had been edited out of the original version, made the work almost a third longer.


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Anne Frank
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Stephanie Sklar is based in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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