Born an ordinary girl from Frankfurt, Germany, Anne Frank is remembered for her extraordinary message of hope amidst terrors of the Holocaust.
To escape the antisemitism of Nazi Germany, Anne’s family chose to emigrate to The Netherlands in 1933. Anne’s father, Otto Frank, left first to establish his business, Opekta, a company licensed to sell pectin, a setting agent used in jam. The family followed, enrolled in school and began living their normal lives again.
But, in May 1940, the Nazis invaded The Netherlands and stripped the local Jewish population of its rights. After Anne’s sister, Margot, received a call for work duty, the Franks went into hiding in a secret annex located in the back of the Opekta building and only accessible through a movable bookcase. With help from Otto’s co-workers, Victor Kugler, Johannes Kleiman, Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl, the family lived quietly and fearfully indoors for two years.
Throughout her stay, Anne wrote a diary. This diary, after her death, would reveal to the world a first-person account of a Jewish girl’s experience of the Holocaust: the fear, the hiding and the hope for a better future. In her triumphant story of the human spirit, we see Anne not only as a victim and a survivor, but also as the ordinary kid she so much desired to be.
Here are 10 facts about Anne’s life as just another kid:
- In school, Anne was well-known as the funny girl who liked to be the center of attention.
- Her math teacher, Mr. Keesing, was often cross with her for talking during class and referred to her as “Mistress Chatterback.”
- Before hiding, Anne had a cat named Moortje.
- Anne had a collection of marbles, which she gave to her neighbor Toosje Kupers for safekeeping.
- In the annex, Anne decorated her bedroom walls with inspiration: pictures of movie stars, dancers, royalty and works of art.
- With a deep love for Hollywood, Anne dreamed of becoming an actress when she grew up.
- Anne admired the Dutch Royal Family and enjoyed researching the royal ancestry.
- Anne wore and loved the pair of burgundy suede heels Miep gave her during hiding.
- With affection, Anne called her father, “Pim.”
- Anne had a love of nature. During hiding, she often went to the uncovered attic window to look at the large chestnut tree in the neighboring garden.
She sounds like many other teenagers you know, doesn’t she?
Seventy-three years after she started her diary, Anne Frank’s story continues to inspire many. She reminds us that extraordinary stories often come from the most ordinary of kids. As children, teenagers and adults, we all have the power to fight discrimination and prejudice.