Today I will discuss the young and short life of one of the most well known Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Anne Frank was acknowledged for her quality of writing. Her diary is one of the world’s most widely read books and there has been many plays and films written on the basis of her story.
Relevance to Audience: When thinking of this brave 13 year old girl, most think of the Jewish culture, Adolf Hitler, and the Nazi Soldiers of Germany. But of us really know the pain and suffering the Jewish victims had to go through just because of what religion they believed in. Statement of Speakers Creditability: I wanted to speak about Anne Frank today because her life and life experiences interest me and I thought I would share it with all of you as well. Transition: This is the life of Anne Frank.
I. Biographical Annelies
Marie “Anne” Frank was born June 12, 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany.
She was the second daughter of Otto and Edith Frank. She had a sister who was three years older than her, Margot Frank. Anne and her family were liberal jews, which means they did not practice all of the customs and traditions of Judaism. They lived in a community of Jewish and Non-Jewish citizens of different religions. In 1933, Mr. Frank opened a branch of his business in Amsterdam, Holland. Because of Adolf Hitler’s anti-Jewish decrees they had to relocate. Otto Frank believed that his family would finally be safe from the Nazi aggression, but who knew in a few years everything would change.
II. Before Going into Hiding
For Anne’s 13th birthday, she received a book she had shown her father in a shop a few days earlier. This book was an autograph book, bound with red and green plaid cloth and with a small lock on the front of the cover. Anne decided to use it as her personal diary. In this book she discussed some of the changes that had taken place in the Netherlands since the German occupation. In one of her entry dated on June 20, 1942, she list many of the restrictions that had been made to the Jewish population and talked about her sorrows about her grand mother passing away earlier that year.
Anne dreamed of being an actress one day. She loved to watch movies, but the Jews were band to go to the movie theaters from January 8, 1941 on. In July 1942, Margot Frank, Anne’s older sister received a notice from the Central Office for Jewish Emigration, ordering her to report for relocation to a work camp. Otto then decided to tell his family that they would go into hiding in the rooms above and behind his company’s building where his most trusted employees would help them. The call up notice forced them to relocate several weeks earlier than expected.
III. The Secret Annex
On a Monday morning, July 6, 1942 , the family moved into the hiding place. Their apartment was left bare to create the impression that they had suddenly left with a note left behind stating that they were on their way to Switzerland. Jews were not aloud to use public transport, so the Frank family had to walk a long distance from their home, with each of them wearing several layers of clothing, because they didn’t want to be questioned of where they may have been going if they were to carry luggage.
The secret annex was in the three story building with many rooms but the room that the Frank family and 5 other people were going to be staying was in the attic of three story building with a door hidden behind a book case. There was only 4 employees that knew about the people going into hiding. They were known as the “helpers”. These contacts provided were the only connections between the Jews in hiding and the out side world. They informed the Frank family of what was going on such as war news and political developments. The helpers made sure the families in hiding had all of their needs, ensured their safety and supplied them with food.
On the Morning of August 4th 1944, the Annex was surrounded by German Police following a tip off from an informer who was never identified. The Franks including two other families were taken to head quarters where they were interrogated and help over night. On August 5th, they were transferred to the House of Detention, which was an over crowded prison. After two long days of staying in prison they were then transported to Westerbork Concentration Camp. Because of going into hiding, the Franks were known as criminal and were sent to the Punishment Barrack for hard labor.
V. Concentration Camp and Death
On September 3, 1944 the group of Jewish prisoners were deported on what would be the last transport from Westerbork to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. They arrived after a three day journey. When they arrived the men were forcibly separated from the women and children. There was 1091 passengers and 549 including all children were directly sent to the gas chambers.
The other females that were not selected for immediate death, Anne was forced to strip down naked to be disinfected, her head was shaved, and was tattooed with an identification number on her arm. The women were used as slave labor and Anne was forced to haul rocks and dig rolls of dirt. By night they were crammed into over crowded barracks. Anne became withdrawn and tearful when she had to see young children being led to the gas chambers but knew that she had to stay strong to survive. Diseases grew rapidly in the concentration camps. Anne’s skin became badly infected with scabies.
Margot and Anne were then moved in to a infirmary , which was a state of constant darkness, and infested with rats and mice. Edith Frank stopped eating saving every piece of food for her daughters. On October 28th women were being relocated to Bergen-Belsen, including Anne and Margot Frank. Edith was left behind and later died from starvation. Tents were built at Bergen-Belsen to accommodate the majority of prisoners, as the population grew the death rate to disease increased rapidly. In March 1945, a Typhus epidemic spread through the camp and killed 17,000 prisoners.
Margot and Anne died of this disease a few weeks before the British troops came and liberated the camp on April 15 1945. After Liberation the camp was burned to prevent the spread of disease and Anne and Margot were buried in a mass grave. After the war only 5,000 Jews survived out of 107,000 that were deported from the Netherlands. Otto Frank, Anne’s father was the only one to survive out of their family. One of the Jews that were in hiding with the Franks returned Anne’s diary to her father after the war was over. Otto learned the more private side of his daughter. He realized how much Anne wanted to be an author, so he published her diary.
I believe that Anne’s story reached out to many Americans and has educated them on what has happened in history, not only for the United States, but other countries as well. She is a hero to have been so young. She was named by the Time in 1999 among the heroes and icons of the 20th century from their list of The Most Important People in Century. Thesis: I have given you a very brief description of who Anne Frank is and the how she became a very well known and important person to society.