During World War II, the Nazis tried to systematically eliminate the Jews from Europe with their “Final Solution.” Anne Frank’s family that had been hiding in Amsterdam from the Gestapo for more than two years was betrayed and arrested. Anne Frank and seven other Jews were sent to the Nazi death camps. Seven of them would die in less than six months. 

Young Anne Frank began keeping a diary during her hiding. It became one of the most famous and well-read books of the 20th century.  

Anne was born Annelies Marie Frank in Frankfurt, Germany, on June 12, 1929, to Edith Hollander Frank and Otto Frank, a successful businessman. It was during this time that Adolf Hitler was coming to power. 

The Frank family could see the writing on the wall as the Nazi regime blamed the Jews for all of Germany’s ills, including losing the first World War. It began instituting restrictive policies on the Jews and Jewish businesses. Otto Frank knew he had to get out of Germany and moved his family to Amsterdam in 1933.

The Franks assimilated into the Netherlands easily. Otto created a small but successful business that produced pectin, the gelling substance for jams. Anne and her older sister Margo began school in early 1935. Anne was a popular girl in school and was described as energetic. 

But the antisemitism that they thought they had left behind in Germany soon followed them to Amsterdam. In 1940, the Germans invaded the Low Countries, France, Belgium, and overran nearly all of western Europe. They soon began applying the same restrictive policies that they had instituted in Germany. Jews were forbidden to go to parks or the cinema. They were forbidden to own businesses. Jewish children had to go to separate Jewish schools. Soon, all Jews had to wear the Star of David on their clothing. 

Otto Frank tried to get his family to safety in the U.S., but he was denied. He then tried to get his family to Cuba but failed. At the same time, the Germans had begun deporting Jews to Germany. When Margo received a letter for her to report to a “work camp” in Germany on July 5, 1942, they knew that they had to hide. 

The next day Otto, who had been preparing a hiding place in the annex of his business premises at Prinsengracht 263, moved the family in there. To try to throw the Germans off of his trail, he left false leads indicating that they had fled to Switzerland.