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A photograph of a Dutch postage stamp showing an image of Anne Frank

Anne Frank: Biography

Image Credit: catwalker / | Above: A 1980's Dutch postage stamp showing an image of Anne Frank

The Diary of Anne Frank, dated from 12 June 1942 until 4 August 1944, is one of the most widely read books in the world but her time in hiding was just one part of this remarkable girl's short life.

She was born on 12 June 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany, and was the second daughter of Otto Frank and Edith Frank-Hollander. Her sister Margot was three years older. She enjoyed four happy years growing up in Frankfurt until the Nazi's came to power.

Of German Jewish descent, she and her family moved to Holland in 1933, where her father set up a business. By 1934, Edith and the two girls were living in Amsterdam, where they both attended school. From a young age, Anne showed an aptitude for reading and writing, while her outspoken and energetic personality shone through. When Holland was occupied by the Nazis in 1940, their heritage put the family under threat.

The family were subjected to the same rules as German Jews, namely Jewish children could only attend Jewish schools, they faced curfews, were not allowed to own a business and were forced to wear a yellow star. Otto transferred his shares in his company to a friend and resigned as director leaving the family with enough income to survive.

On her 13th birthday, Otto gave Anne an autograph book bound with white and red checked cloth and closed with a small lock. She proceeded to use this as her diary, with the first entries detailing how her family were segregated and discriminated against. In July 1942, her sister Margot received a call up notice from the Central Office of Jewish Emigration ordering her to report for a relocation to a work camp. This made the family move into hiding earlier than planned.

On 6 July 1942, Anne, her sister Margot and her parents went into hiding, along with four other families. Their hiding place, the annexe, was in a specially prepared space above the offices of their business.

Whilst in hiding, they were supported by a group of friends, who brought them food as well as anything else they needed.

Anne started each diary entry 'Dear Kitty' and what followed was an incredibly candid and eloquent account of her life in confinement. It expresses her fear, boredom and confusion at the situation she found herself in.

As well as giving the reader an insight into of what it was like to live under such extreme circumstances, it also shows Anne struggling with the universal problem of growing up.

Her diary ends in 1944 when the annexe was raided by the Nazi authorities. Anne and Margot were first sent to Auschwitz and then to Bergen-Belsen where they died of typhoid in 1945.

She was survived only by her father Otto. Anne's diary was kept safe by the family friend, Miep Gies, who gave it to Otto when he returned to Holland. When Anne was still alive she had expressed interest in having her diary published as a record of her experience. After her death, her father edited it, and it was first published in 1947.

'The Diary of Anne Frank' is an exceptionally popular and well known piece of writing. It has been translated into 67 languages and is especially popular with young people.