Anne Frank: August 14, 1942

Anne Frank’s diary is remembered and cherished mainly because of the tremendous insight it gives into the mind and personality of this incredible young girl. Many of the entries that Anne crafted were her own personal reflections on the people and events of her immediate environment in the secret annex. As a result, her writing was not mainly about the Holocaust as it was unfolding in the world, but rather about the personal, inner experience of hiding. Nevertheless, Anne frequently included details in her diary that shed light on the realities of life for Jews and their friends on the outside. Often she was able to do this because she had access to news from her family’s helpers, but on August 14, 1942 she wrote about what she had learned from the Van Pels family that had come later into the hiding place.

On the day of the Van Pels’ arrival, she learned of the reaction to her family’s disappearance just one week earlier. Anne had not known much about her parents’ plan to take the family into hiding until the last possible moment. She had not had to consider very deeply the plans that would have to be laid to ensure a clean get away. It wasn’t until she heard the account of Hermann van Pels that she realized all that had been involved. She recorded the story as he related it. “Mr. Goudsmit [a tenant in the Frank home] phoned at nine o’clock on Monday morning and asked if I could come around. I went immediately and found G in a state of great agitation. He let me read a letter that the Franks had left behind… Mr. G was afraid that the house would be searched so we went through all the rooms, tidied up a bit, and cleared away the breakfast things. Suddenly I discovered a writing pad on Mrs. Frank’s desk with an address in Maastricht written on it. Although I knew that this was done on purpose, I pretended to be very surprised and shocked and urged Mr. G to tear up this unfortunate little piece of paper without delay.”

Anne was amused by this story, especially by the impression that the family had given through the “forgotten” notepad that they had fled the city. This account revealed, however, the very serious business of misdirection and deception that was required to go successfully into hiding. The fact that the Franks were eventually discovered should not obscure the fact that they had planned their escape into the secret annex very well.

You may learn more about the lives of children in hiding from the Nazis here.

You may find out much more about Anne Frank and her diary here.

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