The diary of a young gir.., p.28
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       The Diary of a Young Girl, p.28

           Anne Frank
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  It’s being said in underground circles that the German Jews who immigrated to Holland before the war and have now been sent to Poland shouldn’t be allowed to return here. They were granted the right to asylum in Holland, but once Hitler is gone, they should go back to Germany.

  When you hear that, you begin to wonder why we’re fighting this long and difficult war. We’re always being told that we’re fighting for freedom, truth and justice! The war isn’t even over, and already there’s dissension and Jews are regarded as lesser beings. Oh, it’s sad, very sad that the old adage has been confirmed for the umpteenth time: “What one Christian does is his own responsibility, what one Jew does reflects on all Jews.”

  To be honest, I can’t understand how the Dutch, a nation of good, honest, upright people, can sit in judgment on us the way they do. On us—the most oppressed, unfortunate and pitiable people in all the world.

  I have only one hope: that this anti-Semitism is just a passing thing, that the Dutch will show their true colors, that they’ll never waver from what they know in their hearts to be just, for this is unjust!

  And if they ever carry out this terrible threat, the meager handful of Jews still left in Holland will have to go. We too will have to shoulder our bundles and move on, away from this beautiful country, which once so kindly took us in and now turns its back on us.

  I love Holland. Once I hoped it would become a fatherland to me, since I had lost my own. And I hope so still!

  Yours, Anne M. Frank

  THURSDAY, MAY 25, 1944

  Dearest Kitty,

  Bep’s engaged! The news isn’t much of a surprise, though none of us are particularly pleased. Bertus may be a nice, steady, athletic young man, but Bep doesn’t love him, and to me that’s enough reason to advise her against marrying him.

  Bep’s trying to get ahead in the world, and Bertus is pulling her back; he’s a laborer, without any interests or any desire to make something of himself, and I don’t think that’ll make Bep happy. I can understand Bep’s wanting to put an end to her indecision; four weeks ago she decided to write him off, but then she felt even worse. So she wrote him a letter, and now she’s engaged.

  There are several factors involved in this engagement. First, Bep’s sick father, who likes Bertus very much. Second, she’s the oldest of the Voskuijl girls and her mother teases her about being an old maid. Third, she’s just turned twenty-four, and that matters a great deal to Bep.

  Mother said it would have been better if Bep had simply had an affair with Bertus. I don’t know, I feel sorry for Bep and can understand her loneliness. In any case, they can get married only after the war, since Bertus is in hiding, or at any rate has gone underground. Besides, they don’t have a penny to their name and nothing in the way of a hope chest. What a sorry prospect for Bep, for whom we all wish the best. I only hope Bertus improves under her influence, or that Bep finds another man, one who knows how to appreciate her!

  Yours, Anne M. Frank


  There’s something happening every day. This morning Mr. van Hoeven was arrested. He was hiding two Jews in his house. It’s a heavy blow for us, not only because those poor Jews are once again balancing on the edge of an abyss, but also because it’s terrible for Mr. van Hoeven.

  The world’s been turned upside down. The most decent people are being sent to concentration camps, prisons and lonely cells, while the lowest of the low rule over young and old, rich and poor. One gets caught for black marketeering, another for hiding Jews or other unfortunate souls. Unless you’re a Nazi, you don’t know what’s going to happen to you from one day to the next.

  Mr. van Hoeven is a great loss to us too. Bep can’t possibly lug such huge amounts of potatoes all the way here, nor should she have to, so our only choice is to eat fewer of them. I’ll tell you what we have in mind, but it’s certainly not going to make life here any more agreeable. Mother says we’ll skip breakfast, eat hot cereal and bread for lunch and fried potatoes for dinner and, if possible, vegetables or lettuce once or twice a week. That’s all there is. We’re going to be hungry, but nothing’s worse than being caught.

  Yours, Anne M. Frank

  FRIDAY, MAY 26, 1944

  My dearest Kitty,

  At long, long last, I can sit quietly at my table before the crack in the window frame and write you everything, everything I want to say.

  I feel more miserable than I have in months. Even after the break-in I didn’t feel so utterly broken, inside and out. On the one hand, there’s the news about Mr. van Hoeven, the Jewish question (which is discussed in detail by everyone in the house), the invasion (which is so long in coming), the awful food, the tension, the miserable atmosphere, my disappointment in Peter. On the other hand, there’s Bep’s engagement, the Pentecost reception, the flowers, Mr. Kugler’s birthday, cakes and stories about cabarets, movies and concerts. That gap, that enormous gap, is always there. One day we’re laughing at the comical side of life in hiding, and the next day (and there are many such days), we’re frightened, and the fear, tension and despair can be read on our faces.

  Miep and Mr. Kugler bear the greatest burden for us, and for all those in hiding—Miep in everything she does and Mr. Kugler through his enormous responsibility for the eight of us, which is sometimes so overwhelming that he can hardly speak from the pent-up tension and strain. Mr. Kleiman and Bep also take very good care of us, but they’re able to put the Annex out of their minds, even if it’s only for a few hours or a few days. They have their own worries, Mr. Kleiman with his health and Bep with her engagement, which isn’t looking very promising at the moment. But they also have their outings, their visits with friends, their everyday lives as ordinary people, so that the tension is sometimes relieved, if only for a short while, while ours never is, never has been, not once in the two years we’ve been here. How much longer will this increasingly oppressive, unbearable weight press down on us?

  The drains are clogged again. We can’t run the water, or if we do, only a trickle; we can’t flush the toilet, so we have to use a toilet brush; and we’ve been putting our dirty water into a big earthenware jar. We can manage for today, but what will happen if the plumber can’t fix it on his own? The Sanitation Department can’t come until Tuesday.

  Miep sent us a raisin bread with “Happy Pentecost” written on top. It’s almost as if she were mocking us, since our moods and cares are far from “happy.”

  We’ve all become more frightened since the van Hoeven business. Once again you hear “shh” from all sides, and we’re doing everything more quietly. The police forced the door there; they could just as easily do that here too! What will we do if we’re ever … no, I mustn’t write that down. But the question won’t let itself be pushed to the back of my mind today; on the contrary, all the fear I’ve ever felt is looming before me in all its horror.

  I had to go downstairs alone at eight this evening to use the bathroom. There was no one down there, since they were all listening to the radio. I wanted to be brave, but it was hard. I always feel safer upstairs than in that huge, silent house; when I’m alone with those mysterious muffled sounds from upstairs and the honking of horns in the street, I have to hurry and remind myself where I am to keep from getting the shivers.

  Miep has been acting much nicer toward us since her talk with Father. But I haven’t told you about that yet. Miep came up one afternoon all flushed and asked Father straight out if we thought they too were infected with the current anti-Semitism. Father was stunned and quickly talked her out of the idea, but some of Miep’s suspicion has lingered on. They’re doing more errands for us now and showing more of an interest in our troubles, though we certainly shouldn’t bother them with our woes. Oh, they’re such good, noble people!

  I’ve asked myself again and again whether it wouldn’t have been better if we hadn’t gone into hiding, if we were dead now and didn’t have to go through this misery, especially so that the others could be spared the burden. But we all shri
nk from this thought. We still love life, we haven’t yet forgotten the voice of nature, and we keep hoping, hoping for … everything.

  Let something happen soon, even an air raid. Nothing can be more crushing than this anxiety. Let the end come, however cruel; at least then we’ll know whether we are to be the victors or the vanquished.

  Yours, Anne M. Frank

  WEDNESDAY, MAY 31, 1944

  Dearest Kitty,

  Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday it was too hot to hold my fountain pen, which is why I couldn’t write to you. Friday the drains were clogged, Saturday they were fixed. Mrs. Kleiman came for a visit in the afternoon and told us a lot about Jopie; she and Jacque van Maarsen are in the same hockey club. Sunday Bep dropped by to make sure there hadn’t been a break-in and stayed for breakfast. Monday (a holiday because of Pentecost), Mr. Gies served as the Annex watchman, and Tuesday we were finally allowed to open the windows. We’ve seldom had a Pentecost weekend that was so beautiful and warm. Or maybe “hot” is a better word. Hot weather is horrible in the Annex. To give you an idea of the numerous complaints, I’ll briefly describe these sweltering days.

  Saturday: “Wonderful, what fantastic weather,” we all said in the morning. “If only it weren’t quite so hot,” we said in the afternoon, when the windows had to be shut.

  Sunday: “The heat’s unbearable, the butter’s melting, there’s not a cool spot anywhere in the house, the bread’s drying out, the milk’s going sour, the windows can’t be opened. We poor outcasts are suffocating while everyone else is enjoying their Pentecost.” (According to Mrs. van D.)

  Monday: “My feet hurt, I have nothing cool to wear, I can’t do the dishes in this heat!” Grumbling from early in the morning to late at night. It was awful.

  I can’t stand the heat. I’m glad the wind’s come up today, but that the sun’s still shining.

  Yours, Anne M. Frank

  FRIDAY, JUNE 2, 1944

  Dear Kitty,

  “If you’re going to the attic, take an umbrella with you, preferably a large one!” This is to protect you from “household showers.” There’s a Dutch proverb: “High and dry, safe and sound,” but it obviously doesn’t apply to wartime (guns!) and to people in hiding (cat box!). Mouschi’s gotten into the habit of relieving herself on some newspapers or between the cracks in the floorboards, so we have good reason to fear the splatters and, even worse, the stench. The new Moortje in the warehouse has the same problem. Anyone who’s ever had a cat that’s not housebroken can imagine the smells, other than pepper and thyme, that permeate this house.

  I also have a brand-new prescription for gunfire jitters: When the shooting gets loud, proceed to the nearest wooden staircase. Run up and down a few times, making sure to stumble at least once. What with the scratches and the noise of running and falling, you won’t even be able to hear the shooting, much less worry about it. Yours truly has put this magic formula to use, with great success!

  Yours, Anne M. Frank

  MONDAY, JUNE 5, 1944

  Dearest Kitty,

  New problems in the Annex. A quarrel between Dussel and the Franks over the division of butter. Capitulation on the part of Dussel. Close friendship between the latter and Mrs. van Daan, flirtations, kisses and friendly little smiles. Dussel is beginning to long for female companionship.

  The van Daans don’t see why we should bake a spice cake for Mr. Kugler’s birthday when we can’t have one ourselves. All very petty. Mood upstairs: bad. Mrs. van D. has a cold. Dussel caught with brewer’s yeast tablets, while we’ve got none.

  The Fifth Army has taken Rome. The city neither destroyed nor bombed. Great propaganda for Hitler.

  Very few potatoes and vegetables. One loaf of bread was moldy.

  Scharminkeltje (name of new warehouse cat) can’t stand pepper. She sleeps in the cat box and does her business in the wood shavings. Impossible to keep her.

  Bad weather. Continuous bombing of Pas de Calais and the west coast of France.

  No one buying dollars. Gold even less interesting. The bottom of our black moneybox is in sight. What are we going to live on next month?

  Yours, Anne M. Frank

  TUESDAY, JUNE 6, 1944

  My dearest Kitty,

  “This is D Day,” the BBC announced at twelve. “This is the day.” The invasion has begun!

  This morning at eight the British reported heavy bombing of Calais, Boulogne, Le Havre and Cherbourg, as well as Pas de Calais (as usual). Further, as a precautionary measure for those in the occupied territories, everyone living within a zone of twenty miles from the coast was warned to prepare for bombardments. Where possible, the British will drop pamphlets an hour ahead of time.

  According to the German news, British paratroopers have landed on the coast of France. “British landing craft are engaged in combat with German naval units,” according to the BBC.

  Conclusion reached by the Annex while breakfasting at nine: this is a trial landing, like the one two years ago in Dieppe.

  BBC broadcast in German, Dutch, French and other languages at ten: The invasion has begun! So this is the “real” invasion. BBC broadcast in German at eleven: speech by Supreme Commander General Dwight Eisenhower.

  BBC broadcast in English: “This is D Day.” General Eisenhower said to the French people: “Stiff fighting will come now, but after this the victory. The year 1944 is the year of complete victory. Good luck!”

  BBC broadcast in English at one: 11,000 planes are shuttling back and forth or standing by to land troops and bomb behind enemy lines; 4,000 landing craft and small boats are continually arriving in the area between Cherbourg and Le Havre. English and American troops are already engaged in heavy combat. Speeches by Gerbrandy, the Prime Minister of Belgium, King Haakon of Norway, de Gaulle of France, the King of England and, last but not least, Churchill.

  A huge commotion in the Annex! Is this really the beginning of the long-awaited liberation? The liberation we’ve all talked so much about, which still seems too good, too much of a fairy tale ever to come true? Will this year, 1944, bring us victory? We don’t know yet. But where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again. We’ll need to be brave to endure the many fears and hardships and the suffering yet to come. It’s now a matter of remaining calm and steadfast, of gritting our teeth and keeping a stiff upper lip! France, Russia, Italy, and even Germany, can cry out in agony, but we don’t yet have that right!

  Oh, Kitty, the best part about the invasion is that I have the feeling that friends are on the way. Those terrible Germans have oppressed and threatened us for so long that the thought of friends and salvation means everything to us! Now it’s not just the Jews, but Holland and all of occupied Europe. Maybe, Margot says, I can even go back to school in September or October.

  Yours, Anne M. Frank

  PS. I’ll keep you informed of the latest news!

  This morning and last night, dummies made of straw and rubber were dropped from the air behind German lines, and they exploded the minute they hit the ground. Many paratroopers, their faces blackened so they couldn’t be seen in the dark, landed as well. The French coast was bombarded with 5,500 tons of bombs during the night, and then, at six in the morning, the first landing craft came ashore. Today there were 20,000 airplanes in action. The German coastal batteries were destroyed even before the landing; a small bridgehead has already been formed. Everything’s going well, despite the bad weather. The army and the people are “one will and one hope.”

  FRIDAY, JUNE 9, 1944

  Dearest Kitty,

  Great news of the invasion! The Allies have taken Bayeux, a village on the coast of France, and are now fighting for Caen. They’re clearly intending to cut off the peninsula where Cherbourg is located. Every evening the war correspondents report on the difficulties, the courage and the fighting spirit of the army. To get their stories, they pull off the most amazing feats. A few of the wounded who are already back in England also spoke on the r
adio. Despite the miserable weather, the planes are flying diligently back and forth. We heard over the BBC that Churchill wanted to land along with the troops on D Day, but Eisenhower and the other generals managed to talk him out of it. Just imagine, so much courage for such an old man—he must be at least seventy!

  The excitement here has died down somewhat; still, we’re all hoping that the war will finally be over by the end of the year. It’s about time! Mrs. van Daan’s constant griping is unbearable; now that she can no longer drive us crazy with the invasion, she moans and groans all day about the bad weather. If only we could plunk her down in the loft in a bucket of cold water!

  Everyone in the Annex except Mr. van Daan and Peter has read the Hungarian Rhapsody trilogy, a biography of the composer, piano virtuoso and child prodigy Franz Liszt. It’s very interesting, though in my opinion there’s a bit too much emphasis on women; Liszt was not only the greatest and most famous pianist of his time, he was also the biggest womanizer, even at the age of seventy. He had an affair with Countess Marie d’Agoult, Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein, the dancer Lola Montez, the pianist Agnes Kingworth, the pianist Sophie Menter, the Circassian princess Olga Janina, Baroness Olga Meyendorff, actress Lilla what’s-her-name, etc., etc., and there’s no end to it. Those parts of the book dealing with music and the other arts are much more interesting. Some of the people mentioned are Schumann, Clara Wieck, Hector Berlioz, Johannes Brahms, Beethoven, Joachim, Richard Wagner, Hans von Bülow, Anton Rubinstein, Frédéric Chopin, Victor Hugo, Honoré de Balzac, Hiller, Hummel, Czerny, Rossini, Cherubini, Paganini, Mendelssohn, etc., etc.

  Liszt appears to have been a decent man, very generous and modest, though exceptionally vain. He helped others, put art above all else, was extremely fond of cognac and women, couldn’t bear the sight of tears, was a gentleman, couldn’t refuse anyone a favor, wasn’t interested in money and cared about religious freedom and the world.

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