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The Diary of a Young Girl Study Guide

The Diary of a Young Girl By Anne Frank

Anne Frank received an autograph book for her 13th birthday, but decided to use it as a dairy instead. She wrote about a lot of mundane aspects of her life, but also the life of the Dutch Jews during the German occupation of the Netherlands. In July 1942, a month after Anne's birthday, her mother received an order to relocate to a work camp. The family had already planned to go into hiding, but the relocation order forced them to do so earlier than they had planned.

They left their apartment disorganized to give the impression that they had run, and left a note that hinted that they were headed to Switzerland. They walked several miles wearing all of the clothing they could put on, because they didn't dare be seen with luggage. They lived in the Achterhuis, a secret three-story space above Anne's father's workplace. The door to the Achterhuis was covered with a bookcase to keep it secret.

Victor Kugler, Johannes Kleiman, Meip Gies, and Bep Voskuijl were the only employees that knew of the Frank family's hiding place, and along with Miep's husband Jan and Bep's father Johannes Hendrick, they took care of the Frank family. All were faced with the death penalty if they were caught harboring Jews.

Quickly, the Franks were joined by another family: the van Pels -- Hermann, Auguste, and Peter; then a few months later by Fritz Pfeffer, a family friend. Anne was happy to have new people to talk to, but tensions grew quickly in such a confined space. She found Pfeffer intrusive, Auguste foolish, and Hermann and Fritz selfish because they ate a lot. Initially, she dismissed Peter van Pels, but soon found a kinship with him and became romantically inclined. They kissed, but Anne soon began to wonder if her feelings were genuine, or a result of the confinement.

As to her own family, Anne was ambivalent toward her mother Edith, close to her father Otto, and frequently jealous of her sister Margot. Most of her time was spent reading and writing; she wanted to return to school, but the closest she could get was taking a correspondence course using Bep Voskuijl's name.

As Anne matured, she began to write of more abstract subjects such as her faith in God, and what it meant to be human. She also wrote of the Nazi atrocities in such a clear and ringing voice, that her diary has become a symbol of Jewish struggle in Europe and worldwide.

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