Skip To Content

Everything you need to know about Anne Frank

Editor’s note: This article, originally published on July 9, 2019, has been republished in honor of the anniversary of the first publication of Anne Frank’s “Diary of a Young Girl” on June 25, 1947.

Anne Frank: You know her name, but do you know her story?

Frank has become such a universal political and cultural touchstone that it can be easy to forget who, exactly, she was. Read on for answers to your most pressing questions.

Who was Anne Frank?

Anne Frank, born Annelies Marie Frank, was a teenage victim of the Holocaust. She was born in Frankfurt, Germany on June 12, 1929, moved with her family to Amsterdam in 1934 to escape the Nazis, and died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in February or March of 1945 at age 15. Frank is most famous as the author of “The Diary of a Young Girl,” a diary she wrote while she and her family lived in hiding for two years during the Holocaust.

What did Anne Frank do during the Holocaust?

Frank and her family went into hiding in July of 1942. Frank’s father, Otto Frank, arranged the hideout in a secret space in his office building, known as the Secret Annex. Miep Gies, Bep Voskuijl, Johannes Kleiman and Victor Kugler, some of Otto Frank’s employees at Opekta Works, made sure the family got the supplies they needed. (Jan Gies, Miep Gies’s husband, and Johannes Hendrik Voskuijl, Voskuijl’s father, also assisted the family.) Alongside Otto and Anne Frank, Frank’s mother Edith Frank and sister Margot Frank lived in the Secret Annex; so did the van Pels family, which consisted of Hermann and Auguste van Pels and their son Peter van Pels, and a Frank family friend named Fritz Pfeffer. While she lived in the Secret Annex, Frank worked on her diary. She also engaged in a brief romance with Peter van Pels.

On August 4, 1944, the Secret Annex was raided by German police. Frank, her family, the van Pels family and Pfeffer were shortly afterward deported to the Westerbork transit camp in the northern Netherlands. On September 3, the Frank family was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where Edith, Margot and Anne were separated from Otto Frank. On October 28, Anne and Margot Frank were sent to Bergen-Belsen, where both died in early 1945.

What is Anne Frank’s diary?

Anne Frank’s diary, which Frank began writing shortly before moving into the Secret Annex, was published as “The Diary of a Young Girl” in 1950. The diary consists of a series of entries addressed to a fictional pen pal whom Frank christened “Kitty.” Miep Gies rescued Frank’s writing from the Secret Annex and gave it to Otto Frank after the Holocaust; Otto Frank had it published in Dutch in 1947 after editing it extensively and censoring some of his daughter’s writing about her fraught relationship with her family and her sexuality.

In assembling the first edition of Frank’s diary for publication, Otto Frank worked from the two versions of the diary that Frank, who edited her own work, left behind. The original version that Frank wrote is commonly known as “version A,” and the version that she personally edited is known as “version B.” Frank intended her diary for publication, even giving it the title of “Het Achterhuis,” which translates to “The House Behind.” The title referred to the Secret Annex. She also gave pseudonyms to the characters in her diary, including her family. In “version b” of the diary, she referred to herself first as Anne Aulis and second as Anne Robin. Otto Frank, in preparing the diary for publication, eliminated the family’s pseudonyms. Outside of the Frank family, in Frank’s manuscript Auguste van Pels became Petronella van Daan, Hermann van Pels became Hans van Daan, Peter van Pels became Alfred van Daan and Fritz Pfeffer became Alfred Dussell. In the published diary, Peter van Pels was known as Peter van Daan.

“The Diary of a Young Girl” first appeared in the United States in 1952. Several different versions of the diary have since appeared, some including writing by Frank that was originally censored. The most authoritative version of the diary is considered to be the edition co-edited by Otto Frank and Mirjam Pressler; Pressler’s translation is the English-language source of the most commonly celebrated quotes from Frank. Anne Frank’s diary is one of the most widely-read books in the world. It’s been translated into over 70 languages and has sold over 30 million copies.

Where is the Anne Frank House?

The Anne Frank House is a memorial to Frank’s life and tragic early death in Amsterdam. In addition to materials about Frank, the House serves as a museum dedicated to Holocaust awareness. It occupies the building in which Frank and her family hid in the Secret Annex, as well as the building next door. Both buildings open on to Amsterdam’s Prinsengracht canal.

How did Anne Frank die?

Anne Frank’s specific cause of death and date of death are not known. However, it is widely believed that she died of typhus during an outbreak that consumed Bergen-Belsen in the first few months of 1945. That outbreak claimed thousands of victims. Eyewitnesses described both Anne and Margot Frank, who also perished during the outbreak, as displaying symptoms of typhus in early February 1945.

Did Anne Frank’s family survive the Holocaust?

Only Otto Frank survived the Holocaust. Anne and Margot Frank died at Bergen-Belsen, and Edith Frank, who was left behind at Auschwitz-Birkenau when her daughters were transferred to Bergen-Belsen, died of starvation.

After the end of World War II, Otto Frank committed his life to publishing and building the legacy of Anne Frank’s diary. He relocated from Amsterdam to Basel, in Switzerland, in 1952, and the following year remarried. His second wife was Fritzi Geiringer, who with her daughter had survived months in Auschwitz-Birkenau during the Holocaust. Geiringer’s daughter, [Eva Schloss (nee Geiringer)](nee Geiringer “Eva Schloss (nee Geiringer)”) is an advocate for Holocaust awareness. Otto Frank died on August 19, 1980.

All of the Frank family’s co-residents in the Secret Annex died during the Holocaust. Hermann van Pels was killed at Auschwitz; sources agree he was killed in a gas chamber in October 1944. Peter van Pels died at the Mauthausen concentration camp five days after the camp was liberated after participating in a forced death march from Auschwitz. The exact circumstances of Auguste van Pels’s death are unknown. And Fritz Pfeffer died at the Neuengamme concentration camp on December 20, 1944, apparently of a gastrointestinal infection.

What are Anne Frank’s most famous quotes?

Anne Frank is known for many moving quotes. Among the most famous are:

•“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

•“I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.”

•“What is done cannot be undone, but one can prevent it happening again.”

•“Even if people are still very young, they shouldn’t be prevented from saying what they think.”

•“I must uphold my ideals, for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out.”

•“Whoever is happy will make others happy too.”

Are there movies about Anne Frank?

Anne Frank’s diary has been adapted multiple times. The most famous adaptation are the Broadway play “The Diary of Anne Frank,” by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, which premiered in 1955 and won the 1956 Tony Award for Best Play. That play was adapted into a film of the same title in 1959; directed by George Stevens, the film starred Millie Perkins as Anne Frank and won two Oscars.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.