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The Diary of Anne Ku

27 August 2000 Sunday


265 Prinsengracht in central Amsterdam was the office and warehouse of Otto Frank, Anne's father. Between 1942 and 1944, it was also the hiding place of eight Jewish people. Today I had the privilege of visiting the Secret Annexe for the first time.

Born in Frankfurt in 1929, Anne Frank was the younger daughter of Otto and Edith Frank. They and Anne's sister Margot moved to Amsterdam when Hitler came into power. The father arrived first.

Anne had received a diary book on her birthday. So she decided to keep a diary - in secret. She always began with "Dear Kitty." The house of the secret hiding place has now become a museum. Extracts from her diary are framed throughout. Anne wrote on 11 May 1944 that she wanted to become a journalist - and later on a famous writer. Her wish was fulfilled by her father after her death. Anne Frank died three months before her sixteenth birthday - of typhus in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Norway. She did not know that her father survived Auschwitz. After months of wandering, Otto Frank returned to Amsterdam and met up with his office secretary who gave him the diaries that Anne had kept. Otto then spent the rest of his life editing and publishing what is known as "Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl," followed by other editions.

I was extremely moved by the courage and determination of this young teenager to keep this diary in hiding. Imagine spending the prime of your life couped up inside! Unable to go out and play, she could only day dream and peek through the curtains. She had to tip toe through the house. As the war dragged on, food and other necessities became more scarce. Eventually, they were all betrayed on 4th August 1944 when someone tipped off the police. All eight were arrested and deported.