April 16, 1944 - Anne Frank


April 16, 1944


Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Diary of Anne Frank

One of the sad truths about Anne Frank is that she experienced significant milestones of growing up while confined in the hiding place of the secret annex. Most people have fond memories of their milestone moments. For some, it may have been a first date. For others, it could have been getting a driver’s license or a first job. Whatever the case, these milestones are a special sign of increasing maturity and even better things to come in the future. Of course, some of these types of events were not possible in hiding and Anne missed out on them entirely. Others did come, but they took place in a tense environment distorted by fear and the possibility of total loss. 


Anne wrote about one of her milestone moments on April 16, 1944. “Remember yesterday’s date, since it was a red letter day for me. Isn’t it an important day for every girl when she gets her first kiss? […] I can’t tell you, Kitty, the feeling that ran through me. I was too happy for words, and I think he [Peter] was too.” Of course, Anne was giddy from this experience, but by the next day, she had some doubts. She wondered if she was too young for this behavior and thought of how scandalous it would seem to her mother and perhaps even to her older sister.  She knew that neither she nor Peter were in a position to contemplate a future relationship. The fact that she came to this moment was due mostly to the fact that Peter was her only possible companion for the foreseeable future.  Anne expressed it in this way, “Oh, Anne, how terribly shocking! But seriously, I don’t think it’s at all shocking; we’re cooped up here, cut off from the world, anxious and fearful, especially lately. Why should we stay apart when we love each other? Why shouldn’t we kiss each other in times like these?” 

“Why should we stay apart if we love each other?”

Anne wrote about wanting to confide in her father, but decided not to. She didn’t want to sneak around and do things she knew her father would find objectionable, but she also knew she might never have another chance. The phrase “in times like these” showed that Anne felt she was in a distorted situation in which the normal rules might not apply. Her conclusion was “I’ve decided to look after my own interests.” 

It isn’t possible to know what  Anne would have done in normal times or how she would have viewed her first kiss years later. She never had the chance to explore the possibilities of a future relationship with Peter or anyone else. A few months after she experienced her first kiss, she and her family and fellow hiders were discovered and arrested. Only Anne’s father survived.

You may read about Anne’s experiences in hiding in her own words in Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.

You may learn more about Peter van Pels.