The diary of a young gir.., p.27
The Diary of a Young Girl, p.27Anne Frank
Poor Mouschi! How were you to know it’s impossible to get peat for your box?
THURSDAY, MAY 11, 1944
A new sketch to make you laugh:
Peter’s hair had to be cut, and as usual his mother was to be the hairdresser. At seven twenty-five Peter vanished into his room, and reappeared at the stroke of seven-thirty, stripped down to his blue swimming trunks and a pair of tennis shoes.
“Are you coming?” he asked his mother.
“Yes, I’ll be up in a minute, but I can’t find the scissors!”
Peter helped her look, rummaging around in her cosmetics drawer. “Don’t make such a mess, Peter,” she grumbled.
I didn’t catch Peter’s reply, but it must have been insolent, because she cuffed him on the arm. He cuffed her back, she punched him with all her might, and Peter pulled his arm away with a look of mock horror on his face. “Come on, old girl!”
Mrs. van D. stayed put. Peter grabbed her by the wrists and pulled her all around the room. She laughed, cried, scolded and kicked, but nothing helped. Peter led his prisoner as far as the attic stairs, where he was obliged to let go of her. Mrs. van D. came back to the room and collapsed into a chair with a loud sigh.
“Die Entführung der Mutter,”26 I joked.
“Yes, but he hurt me.”
I went to have a look and cooled her hot, red wrists with water. Peter, still by the stairs and growing impatient again, strode into the room with his belt in his hand, like a lion tamer. Mrs. van D. didn’t move, but stayed by her writing desk, looking for a handkerchief. “You’ve got to apologize first.”
“All right, I hereby offer my apologies, but only because if I don’t, we’ll be here till midnight.”
Mrs. van D. had to laugh in spite of herself. She got up and went toward the door, where she felt obliged to give us an explanation. (By us I mean Father, Mother and me; we were busy doing the dishes.) “He wasn’t like this at home,” she said. “I’d have belted him so hard he’d have gone flying down the stairs [!]. He’s never been so insolent. This isn’t the first time he’s deserved a good hiding. That’s what you get with a modern upbringing, modern children. I’d never have grabbed my mother like that. Did you treat your mother that way, Mr. Frank?” She was very upset, pacing back and forth, saying whatever came into her head, and she still hadn’t gone upstairs. Finally, at long last, she made her exit.
Less than five minutes later she stormed back down the stairs, with her cheeks all puffed out, and flung her apron on a chair. When I asked if she was through, she replied that she was going downstairs. She tore down the stairs like a tornado, probably straight into the arms of her Putti.
She didn’t come up again until eight, this time with her husband. Peter was dragged from the attic, given a merciless scolding and showered with abuse: ill-mannered brat, no-good bum, bad example, Anne this, Margot that, I couldn’t hear the rest.
Everything seems to have calmed down again today!
Yours, Anne M. Frank
PS. Tuesday and Wednesday evening our beloved Queen addressed the country. She’s taking a vacation so she’ll be in good health for her return to the Netherlands. She used words like “soon, when I’m back in Holland,” “a swift liberation,” “heroism” and “heavy burdens.”
This was followed by a speech by Prime Minister Gerbrandy. He has such a squeaky little child’s voice that Mother instinctively said, “Oooh.” A clergyman, who must have borrowed his voice from Mr. Edel, concluded by asking God to take care of the Jews, all those in concentration camps and prisons and everyone working in Germany.
THURSDAY, MAY 11, 1944
Since I’ve left my entire “junk box”—including my fountain pen—upstairs and I’m not allowed to disturb the grown-ups during their nap time (until two-thirty), you’ll have to make do with a letter in pencil.
I’m terribly busy at the moment, and strange as it may sound, I don’t have enough time to get through my pile of work. Shall I tell you briefly what I’ve got to do? Well then, before tomorrow I have to finish reading the first volume of a biography of Galileo Galilei, since it has to be returned to the library. I started reading it yesterday and have gotten up to page 220 out of 320 pages, so I’ll manage it. Next week I have to read Palestine at the Crossroads and the second volume of Galilei. Besides that, I finished the first volume of a biography of Emperor Charles V yesterday, and I still have to work out the many genealogical charts I’ve collected and the notes I’ve taken. Next I have three pages of foreign words from my various books, all of which have to be written down, memorized and read aloud. Number four: my movie stars are in a terrible disarray and are dying to be straightened out, but since it’ll take several days to do that and Professor Anne is, as she’s already said, up to her ears in work, they’ll have to put up with the chaos a while longer. Then there’re Theseus, Oedipus, Peleus, Orpheus, Jason and Hercules all waiting to be untangled, since their various deeds are running crisscross through my mind like multicolored threads in a dress. Myron and Phidias are also urgently in need of attention, or else I’ll forget entirely how they fit into the picture. The same applies, for example, to the Seven Years’ War and the Nine Years’ War. Now I’m getting everything all mixed up. Well, what can you do with a memory like mine! Just imagine how forgetful I’ll be when I’m eighty!
Oh, one more thing. The Bible. How long is it going to take before I come to the story of the bathing Susanna? And what do they mean by Sodom and Gomorrah? Oh, there’s still so much to find out and learn. And in the meantime, I’ve left Charlotte of the Palatine in the lurch.
You can see, can’t you, Kitty, that I’m full to bursting?
And now something else. You’ve known for a long time that my greatest wish is to be a journalist, and later on, a famous writer. We’ll have to wait and see if these grand illusions (or delusions!) will ever come true, but up to now I’ve had no lack of topics. In any case, after the war I’d like to publish a book called The Secret Annex. It remains to be seen whether I’ll succeed, but my diary can serve as the basis.
I also need to finish “Cady’s Life.” I’ve thought up the rest of the plot. After being cured in the sanatorium, Cady goes back home and continues writing to Hans. It’s 1941, and it doesn’t take her long to discover Hans’s Nazi sympathies, and since Cady is deeply concerned with the plight of the Jews and of her friend Marianne, they begin drifting apart. They meet and get back together, but break up when Hans takes up with another girl. Cady is shattered, and because she wants to have a good job, she studies nursing. After graduation she accepts a position, at the urging of her father’s friends, as a nurse in a TB sanatorium in Switzerland. During her first vacation she goes to Lake Como, where she runs into Hans. He tells her that two years earlier he’d married Cady’s successor, but that his wife took her life in a fit of depression. Now that he’s seen his little Cady again, he realizes how much he loves her, and once more asks for her hand in marriage. Cady refuses, even though, in spite of herself, she loves him as much as ever. But her pride holds her back. Hans goes away, and years later Cady learns that he’s wound up in England, where he’s struggling with ill health.
When she’s twenty-seven, Cady marries a well-to-do man from the country, named Simon. She grows to love him, but not as much as Hans. She has two daughters and a son, Lilian, Judith and Nico. She and Simon are happy together, but Hans is always in the back of her mind until one night she dreams of him and says farewell.
It’s not sentimental nonsense: it’s based on the story of Father’s life.
Yours, Anne M. Frank
SATURDAY, MAY 13, 1944
My dearest Kitty,
Yesterday was Father’s birthday, Father and Mother’s nineteenth wedding anniversary, a day without the cleaning lady … and the sun was shining as it’s never shone before in 1944. Our chestnut tree is in full bloom. It’s covered with leaves and is even more beautiful
Father received a biography of Linnaeus from Mr. Kleiman, a book on nature from Mr. Kugler, The Canals of Amsterdam from Dussel, a huge box from the van Daans (wrapped so beautifully it might have been done by a professional), containing three eggs, a bottle of beer, a jar of yogurt and a green tie. It made our jar of molasses seem rather paltry. My roses smelled wonderful compared to Miep and Bep’s red carnations. He was thoroughly spoiled. Fifty petits fours arrived from Siemons’ Bakery, delicious! Father also treated us to spice cake, the men to beer and the ladies to yogurt. Everything was scrumptious!
Yours, Anne M. Frank
TUESDAY, MAY 16, 1944
My dearest Kitty,
Just for a change (since we haven’t had one of these in so long) I’ll recount a little discussion between Mr. and Mrs. van D. last night:
Mrs. van D.: “The Germans have had plenty of time to fortify the Atlantic Wall, and they’ll certainly do everything within their power to hold back the British. It’s amazing how strong the Germans are!”
Mr. van D.: “Oh, yes, amazing!”
Mrs. van D.: “It is!”
Mr. van D.: “So strong they’re bound to win the war in the end, is that what you mean?”
Mrs. van D.: “They might. I’m not convinced that they won’t.”
Mr. van D.: “I won’t even answer that.”
Mrs. van D.: “You always wind up answering. You let yourself get carried away, every single time.”
Mr. van D.: “No, I don’t. I always keep my answers to the bare minimum.”
Mrs. van D.: “But you always do have an answer and you always have to be right! Your predictions hardly ever come true, you know!”
Mr. van D.: “So far they have.”
Mrs. van D.: “No they haven’t. You said the invasion was going to start last year, the Finns were supposed to have been out of the war by now, the Italian campaign ought to have been over by last winter, and the Russians should already have captured Lemberg. Oh no, I don’t set much store by your predictions.”
Mr. van D. (leaping to his feet): “Why don’t you shut your trap for a change? I’ll show you who’s right; someday you’ll get tired of needling me. I can’t stand your bellyaching a minute longer. Just wait, one day I’ll make you eat your words!” (End of Act One.)
Actually, I couldn’t help giggling. Mother couldn’t either, and even Peter was biting his lips to keep from laughing. Oh, those stupid grown-ups. They need to learn a few things first before they start making so many remarks about the younger generation!
Since Friday we’ve been keeping the windows open again at night.
Yours, Anne M. Frank
What Our Annex Family Is Interested In
(A Systematic Survey of Courses and Reading Matter)
Mr. van Daan. No courses; looks up many things in Knaur’s Encyclopedia and Lexicon; likes to read detective stories, medical books and love stories, exciting or trivial.
Mrs. van Daan. A correspondence course in English; likes to read biographical novels and occasionally other kinds of novels.
Mr. Frank. Is learning English (Dickens!) and a bit of Latin; never reads novels, but likes serious, rather dry descriptions of people and places.
Mrs. Frank. A correspondence course in English; reads everything except detective stories.
Mr. Dussel. Is learning English, Spanish and Dutch with no noticeable results; reads everything; goes along with the opinion of the majority.
Peter van Daan. Is learning English, French (correspondence course), shorthand in Dutch, English and German, commercial correspondence in English, woodworking, economics and sometimes math; seldom reads, sometimes geography.
Margot Frank. Correspondence courses in English, French and Latin, shorthand in English, German and Dutch, trigonometry, solid geometry, mechanics, physics, chemistry, algebra, geometry, English literature, French literature, German literature, Dutch literature, bookkeeping, geography, modern history, biology, economics; reads everything, preferably on religion and medicine.
Anne Frank. Shorthand in French, English, German and Dutch, geometry, algebra, history, geography, art history, mythology, biology, Bible history, Dutch literature; likes to read biographies, dull or exciting, and history books (sometimes novels and light reading).
FRIDAY, MAY 19, 1944
I felt rotten yesterday. Vomiting (me of all people!), headache, stomachache and anything else you can imagine. I’m feeling better today. I’m famished, but I think I’ll skip the beans we’re having for dinner.
Everything’s going fine between Peter and me. The poor boy has an even greater need for tenderness than I do. He still blushes every evening when he gets his good-night kiss, and then begs for another one. Am I merely a better substitute for Boche? I don’t mind. He’s so happy just knowing somebody loves him.
After my laborious conquest, I’ve distanced myself a little from the situation, but you mustn’t think my love has cooled. Peter’s a sweetheart, but I’ve slammed the door to my inner self; if he ever wants to force the lock again, he’ll have to use a harder crowbar!
Yours, Anne M. Frank
SATURDAY, MAY 20, 1944
Last night when I came down from the attic, I noticed, the moment I entered the room, that the lovely vase of carnations had fallen over. Mother was down on her hands and knees mopping up the water and Margot was fishing my papers off the floor. “What happened?” I asked with anxious foreboding, and before they could reply, I assessed the damage from across the room. My entire genealogy file, my notebooks, my books, everything was afloat. I nearly cried, and I was so upset I started speaking German. I can’t remember a word, but according to Margot I babbled something about “unübersehbarer Schaden, schrecklich, entsetzlich, nie zu ersetzen”27 and much more. Father burst out laughing and Mother and Margot joined in, but I felt like crying because all my work and elaborate notes were lost.
I took a closer look and, luckily, the “incalculable loss” wasn’t as bad as I’d expected. Up in the attic I carefully peeled apart the sheets of paper that were stuck together and then hung them on the clothesline to dry. It was such a funny sight, even I had to laugh. Maria de’ Medici alongside Charles V, William of Orange and Marie Antoinette.
“It’s Rassenschande,”28 Mr. van Daan joked.
After entrusting my papers to Peter’s care, I went back downstairs.
“Which books are ruined?” I asked Margot, who was going through them.
“Algebra,” Margot said.
But as luck would have it, my algebra book wasn’t entirely ruined. I wish it had fallen right in the vase. I’ve never loathed any book as much as that one. Inside the front cover are the names of at least twenty girls who had it before I did. It’s old, yellowed, full of scribbles, crossed-out words and revisions. The next time I’m in a wicked mood, I’m going to tear the darned thing to pieces!
Yours, Anne M. Frank
MONDAY, MAY 22, 1944
On May 20, Father lost his bet and had to give five jars of yogurt to Mrs. van Daan: the invasion still hasn’t begun. I can safely say that all of Amsterdam, all of Holland, in fact the entire western coast of Europe, all the way down to Spain, are talking about the invasion day and night, debating, making bets and … hoping.
The suspense is rising to fever pitch; by no means has everyone we think of as “good” Dutch people kept their faith in the English, not everyone thinks the English bluff is a masterful strategical move. Oh no, people want deeds—great, heroic deeds.
No one can see farther than the end of their nose, no one gives a thought to the fact that the British are fighting for their own country and their own people; everyone thinks it’s England’s duty to save Holland, as quickly as possible. What obligations do the English have toward us? What have the Dutch done to deserve the generous help they so clearly expect? Oh no, the Dutch are very much mistaken. The English, despite their
No country sacrifices its men without reason, and certainly not in the interests of another, and England is no exception. The invasion, liberation and freedom will come someday; yet England, not the occupied territories, will choose the moment.
To our great sorrow and dismay, we’ve heard that many people have changed their attitude toward us Jews. We’ve been told that anti-Semitism has cropped up in circles where once it would have been unthinkable. This fact has affected us all very, very deeply. The reason for the hatred is understandable, maybe even human, but that doesn’t make it right. According to the Christians, the Jews are blabbing their secrets to the Germans, denouncing their helpers and causing them to suffer the dreadful fate and punishments that have already been meted out to so many. All of this is true. But as with everything, they should look at the matter from both sides: would Christians act any differently if they were in our place? Could anyone, regardless of whether they’re Jews or Christians, remain silent in the face of German pressure? Everyone knows it’s practically impossible, so why do they ask the impossible of the Jews?
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