Anne Frank’s story is known worldwide because of the diary that she kept while in hiding during the Second World War. She became a child victim of the Holocaust along with other members of her family, including her mother, Edith, and sister, Margot. However, her father, Otto, survived. Her diary reveals a child’s perspective of life while in hiding.

Life before the war

Anne was born in Frankfurt, Germany on 12th June 1929. Her full name was Annelies Marie Frank. Her childhood in Germany was short as the family soon moved to the Netherlands. Although her father’s family had lived in Germany for generations the family moved to Amsterdam due to growing fears of antisemitism. After the family’s arrival in Holland her father soon set up a new business. Their new home was located on the Merwedeplein. The two sisters also attended new schools. As the situation grew worse in Holland as well as in the rest of Europe the family tried to flee prior to the war. Attempts to emigrate to England and America were unsuccessful and the family had to remain in Amsterdam.

Holland and the Second World War

The Second World War started on 1st September 1939, and on 10th May 1940, German troops invaded Holland. The Dutch surrendered to the invading force five days later. Now that the country was occupied life started to change and this had tremendous implications for the Frank family. The invading force placed restrictions on Jews like those they had imposed in Germany. These anti-Jewish regulations would directly affect the Frank family as Anne and Margot had to attend Jewish schools and Otto’s business was taken away from him.

The family tried again to emigrate to America but were unsuccessful; they were now trapped in Holland. At this moment, the family decided to go into hiding. Otto’s business was on the Prinsengracht and together with his business partner Hermann van Pels, who was also Jewish, and Johannes Kleiman and Victor Kugler, who were employees, they organised for the family to disappear from everyday life and go into hiding.

Prior to going into hiding Anne received a diary for her birthday. She wanted to become a writer or a journalist. This diary would capture her story throughout her time in the annex.

Anne goes into hiding

Anne, along with her family, went into hiding on 6th July 1942, a day after her sister received a call-up to report to a work camp. But the family did not go into hiding alone. Another Jewish family joined them a week later. The Van Pels family and the Frank family lived together in their hiding place until November 1942 when they were joined by a dentist called Fritz Pfeffer. Now there were eight people altogether in hiding. They would have to live in a small space and try to create a daily routine for themselves, all the while being anxious about what may happen to them if they were discovered. Anne would carry on writing her diary while she lived in the annex. The family would stay in hiding for just over two years and they were helped by:

Johannes Kleiman

Victor Kugler

Miep Gies

Bep Voskuijl

Jan Gies

Johannes Voskuijl

They would bring the family food but also news from the outside world.

Anne would never finish writing her diary or her short stories. But today we can read her words and learn more about her life in hiding. The family were discovered and arrested on 4th August 1944.

Deportation and stolen lives

Anne was arrested and taken to Auschwitz via the transit camp at Westerbork. She later was murdered in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp along with her older sister. Her mother also did not survive. Anne’s diary was rescued by Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl who looked after this precious object until Otto Frank returned to Amsterdam. Otto was liberated on 27th January 1945. We still do not know how the annex was discovered.

Memories within a diary

Anne’s father published his daughter’s diary. On 25th June 1947, The Secret Annex was published and young readers as well as adults could read about Anne’s world during her short lifetime. Her diary has been translated into many different languages and it has been adapted into a play as well as several films and TV series. Not all items survived from the family’s secret annex, but Anne’s diary did.

We have 3 napkins in the collection which were donated by Eva Schloss – Anne’s posthumous step-sister and Holocaust survivor.

The Anne Frank Memorial at the HNCM

This memorial is located in the memorial garden where visitors can reflect upon her story.


Frank, Anne, The Diary of a Young Girl: Definitive Edition (Puffin: London, 2007).

Schloss, Eva, After Auschwitz: A story of heartbreak and survival by the stepsister of Anne Frank (Hodder Paperbacks: London, 2014).

The Diary of Anne Frank - Complete BBC Series [DVD].

Goodrich, Frances and Hackett, Albert, The play of the diary of Anne Frank (Heinemann: Essex, 1995).

Anne Frank (2001) [DVD].