Anne Frank was just 15 years old when she died but her diary is perhaps the best-known document chronicling life under Nazi occupation and the persecution suffered by Jews. The diary was written over the course of two years. This was while she and her family were in hiding in Amsterdam during the Second World War to escape from the Nazis.
Here are a few fascinating facts that you probably did not know about Anne:
Anne was just a nickname. Her full name was Annelies Marie Frank.
The Frank family were originally German
Anne’s father, Otto, was a German businessman who served in the German army during World War One. In the face of the Nazis’ rising anti-Semitism, Otto moved his family to Amsterdam in the autumn of 1933. There, he ran a company that sold spices and pectin for use in the manufacture of jam.
Anne’s diary was a 13th birthday present. She herself choose the red, checked autograph book.
She celebrated two birthdays while living in hiding.
Anne’s 14th and 15th birthdays were spent in the annex but she was still given presents by other residents of the hiding place and their helpers on the outside world. Among these presents were several books, including a book on Greek and Roman mythology that Anne received for her 14th birthday, as well as a poem written by her father, part of which she copied out in her diary.
Anne wrote two versions of her diary
Anne rewrote her diary in 1944 after hearing a call on the radio for people to save their war-time diaries in order to help document the suffering of the Nazi occupation once the war was over.
She called her diary “Kitty”.
Much of Anne’s diary is written in the form of letters to this “Kitty”. When rewriting her diary, Anne standardised the entires by addressing all of them to Kitty.
The residents of the annex were arrested on 4 August 1944.
Following their arrest, the residents of the annex were first taken to Westerbork transit camp in the Netherlands and then on to the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. At this point the men and women were separated.
The exact date of Anne’s death is not known.
It is thought she died in either February or March of 1945. Both Anne and her sister Margot are believed to have contracted typhus at Bergen-Belsen and died around the same time. This took place just a few weeks before the camp was liberated.
Anne’s father was the only resident of the annex to survive the Holocaust
Her diary was first published on 25 June 1947
Following the arrest of the annex’s residents, Anne’s diary was retrieved by Miep Gies, a trusted friend of the Frank family who had helped them during their time in hiding. Gies kept the diary in a desk drawer and gave it to Otto in July 1945 following confirmation of Anne’s death.
In keeping with Anne’s wishes, Otto sought to have the diary published. It was then published under the title The Secret Annex. Diary Letters from June 14, 1942 to August 1, 1944. More than seventy years later, the diary has been translated into as many as 70 languages and more than 30 million copies have been published.