A Biography of Anne Frank
When asked to name an inspirational famous person many will impulsively say a sports star or singer. Few would mention a young Jewish girl who lived 70 years ago, in a war stricken city, in a Nazi controlled country. This girl is Anne Frank. Anne Frank’s legacy started on her birthday, June 12, 1942, when she received a red and white plaid diary. Little did she know this diary would be her dearest friend and companion for the 25 months she would soon spend hiding from the world. After Anne’s death in 1945, her father published her diary in 1947.
A publisher printed 1500 copies that sold out quickly. Everything kicked off from there. “It was translated into French and German. An English version appeared in 1951. In 1956 the diary became a play, and a movie in 1959”. A girl’s words spread in only a matter of years.
“Since its first publication, Anne’s diary has been translated into 50 languages and over twenty million copies have been sold”. This diary, a great contribution to the world, has benefited millions of people. It has helped generations grow and develop and has been a friend to many, just like it was a friend to Anne. Anne once wrote, “I want to be useful or give pleasure to people around me who yet don’t really know me. I want to go on living even after my death”, and that she did, Anne, using her diary and phenomenal writing skills, was able to leave a huge, everlasting mark on the world, her diary.
Long before Anne’s birth, her family settled in Frankfurt-am-main, Germany. The Frank family actually first settled in Frankfurt in the seventeenth century. Anne’s grandfather was a prominent banker. He was the father to Anne’s father, Otto Frank. Otto served in WWI and worked his way up to a lieutenant.
After the war, he went back home and worked at the family bank. In 1925 Otto Frank married Edith Hollander. Their first child, Margot Betti was born in 1926. In 1929 they had their second child, Annelies Marie, or Anne. In 1933 the family moved to the Netherlands because Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party came into power.
Mrs. Frank took Margot and Anne to Aachen to live with her mother, while Mr. Frank went to Amsterdam to find a home and start a business. Mrs. Frank and Margot went to Amsterdam in December of 1933.
Anne joined them in February 1934. To sum it up, this is a brief but useful family history, and it brings us to the city where most of Anne’s life played out. When Anne was a young teen, a time fans know her best, society was very troublesome. Allow me to paint the picture for you. Invasions and war were breaking out across the world in WWII. Germany invaded the Netherlands without warning on May 10, 1940.
German bombers destroyed over 24,000 houses which killed almost 1,000 people. “By May 15, the Netherlands was under German control”. This was the beginning of the end for many Jews. Everyone had to start carrying around identity cards. Jews had a “J” stamped on their identity cards.
Food was rationed, and Jewish families, like the Franks, could only shop at Jewish shops between 3-5 pm. Jews could only go to Jewish schools, were forbidden to own bikes or cars, couldn’t swim at public pools, and had a curfew that required them to be inside from 8pm to 6am. Perhaps one of the most known rules was all Jews had to wear a yellow star with the word Jew on it. These rules, along with a long list of others, were meant to segregate Jews, make their lives harder, make them feel different, less powerful. Sadly, this is what the society was like for Anne when she was a teen.
The end of Anne’s life was also the peak of Anne’s life, where most of her story lies and a diary was written. Her life and death were very closely acquainted. After Germany invaded the Netherlands, Jewish people in Amsterdam were getting rounded up for forced labor. “On the morning of July 5, 1942, Anne’s Father said, when the time comes, ‘We shall disappear of our own accord and not wait until they come and fetch us.’ The time came sooner than they expected.
That afternoon, Anne’s 16-year-old sister, Margot, received orders to transfer to a forced labor camp. Instead, the Franks immediately moved into a secret annex behind Mr. Frank’s office building at 263 Prinsengradnt”. The Franks were very fortunate to have such a good hiding place with kind caretakers. The annex consisted of several small rooms.
The Franks shared the annex with the van Pels family and a man named Fritz Pfeffer. It was a tight fit, and often the group squabbled. This is the period in which Anne wrote the bulk of her diary. Her diary reveals that she struggled with herself and often felt like two different Annes. On August 1, 1944, Anne wrote, “I’ve already told you before that I have, as it were, a dual personality.
One half embodies my exuberant cheerfulness, making fun of everything, my high-spiritedness, and above all, the way I take everything lightly. This includes not taking offense at a flirtation, a kiss, an embrace, a dirty joke. This side is usually lying in wait and pushes away the other, which is much better, deeper and purer. You must realize that no one knows Anne’s better side and that’s why most people find me so insufferable”. Anne found out many things about herself over the 25 months she spent in hiding.
Many things develop, including her feelings about God, her love for writing, and her relationship with Mr. and Mrs. van Pel’s son, Peter. Anne’s last entry is on Tuesday, 1 August, 1944. The people hiding in the annex were discovered on August 4, 1944.
Anne and her family are arrested and deported to Westerbork, where they stayed for the rest of August. On September 3, they were sent to Auschwitz concentration camp. There the family was separated. It was the last time Anne saw her father. After enduring Auschwitz, Anne, Margot, and Mrs. van Pel were sent to Bergen-Belsen in October of 1944.
Mrs. van Pel was sent on to a different camp, leaving Anne and Margot with just each other. In February or March o f1945, Margot got a disease called typhus, and it killed her. Anne was all alone. The conditions were terrible at the camps. So many people were dying that bodies littered the ground.
“Anne was so disgusted by the lice and fleas in her clothes that she had thrown them away and just wrapped herself in a blanket, even though it was winter”. Later that March Anne died from the same disease that took her sister. She was only 15. All those hopes and dreams never to be lived, all because of one man’s hatred. Anne’s life ended at 15, but her legacy continues to live on. Anne once wrote, “Go outside, to the fields, enjoy nature and the sunshine, go out and try to recapture happiness in yourself and in God.
Think of all the beauty that’s still left in and around you and be happy!” Anne wrote this in response to how she deals with feeling sad. She thinks that instead of thinking of misery in the world you should find the beauty instead. This says a lot about Anne and how she lived and her perspective of life. I think if you could learn one lesson from Anne’s life, it should be to take life as it comes and make the best of everything. Anne did this every day during the time she spent in hiding. She filled what could have been a dull life with light and happiness.
Anne’s life was cut short, but she was still able to teach many after her passing. When someone says the word “hero,” many will think of the traditional comic characters such as Superman and Batman, the superheroes that fight the “bad guys.” For me, when someone says “hero,” I think of a person who is brave and someone who takes what life throws at them and turns the darkest days around by making people smile. A hero is someone who is there for people and offers them advice and comfort in their lives. Anne Frank is a hero. She bravely left her life behind to live in a hidden world, and when that tiny world was discovered she bravely stepped on a cart, knowing she may never return.
She endured cruelty, starvation, and sickness, clinging on to hope the whole time. Alone, she bravely waited for death in the midst of typhus and after the typhus swept her away, she bravely shook death’s hand and was pulled into his embrace. Anne took the 15 years of her life and lived it. She made people smile on bad days. She cherished all the good ones too.
Even though Anne died 70 years ago, she still lives through her diary. She still is there for people on bad days and makes them smile. She still manages to offer comfort and advice to all who read her words. Anne Frank is a hero to me and many other people in the world. Anne Frank was an extraordinary girl who lived an extraordinary life and is the author of an extraordinary book. Anne’s life was cut short at 15, but in those 15 years of living she brought so much light.
Anne’s legacy lives on 70 years after her departure from this world. So, the next time someone asks you for the name of an inspirational famous person, I hope Anne Frank’s name crosses your mind.