• Opening panel
  • Period I: 1929-1933
  • Period II: 1933-1939
  • Period III: 1939-1942
  • Period IV: 1942-1945
  • Period V: 1945-today

    The story of Anne Frank's life is the thread running through the exhibition.
    In the life of the Frank family there are the events and their results happening during and after the dictatorship of the Nazi Party.
            In the exhibition there are both photos of the Franks' family album and photos showing the historical events that time, presented. On this way we name concrete results of events of that time, consequences of the political decisions and behaviours of concrete people towards the others, who, similar to the Frank Family have been discriminated and persecuted.
            The story of Anne Frank's life has been split into five periods. In each of these periods a theme is elaborated on that is also relevant today.

            Anne Frank's diary has been interpreted and assessed in many different ways. Some see Anne as a symbol for the incomprehensible suffering of millions, others see Anne primarily as an author and some are inspired by the thoughts and ideals expressed in her diary. We have taken all of these viewpoints into consideration and aim to encourage visitors to find out more about this young girl.

    Opening panel

    The visitor finds several quotations on Anne Frank and her diary. One understands that the meaning of Anne Frank and her diary can be comprehended differently


    Anne Frank's diary has been interpreted and assessed in many different ways. Some see Anne as a symbol for the incomprehensible suffering of millions, others see Anne primarily as an author and some are inspired by the thoughts and ideals expressed in her diary. We have taken all of these viewpoints into consideration and aim to encourage visitors to find out more about this young girl.

    The latest Polish edition of Anne Frank's Diary, ZNAK Publishing House, Krak� 2001
    "It's a wonder I haven't abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that the people are truly good at heart. It's utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wildness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better that this cruelty too will end, that peace and tranquillity will return once more."July, 15th 1944 (Anna Frank)

    Period I: 1929-1933

    Anne Frank was born on June 12th, 1929. Germany, in the 1920s, was a country suffering severe economic crisis. The Nazis use the Jews and other minorities as scapegoats for their desperate financial situation. Many Germans accept this escape into nationalistic feelings of arrogance and oppression.
    The Frank family is fully aware of these changes but Anne's early years are nonetheless happy. Photos from that time show the Frank's family life in Frankfurt am Main.
    In contrast to the historical events of Anne Frank's early years, we show a portrait of Otto Treumann, a German-Jewish boy who grew up in Nuremberg and who commented on the rise of Nazism and nationalism from his own point of view.

    Anne with her mother, June 1929
    "My father, the most adorable father I've ever seen, didn't marry my mother until he was thirty-six and she was twenty-five. My sister Margot was born in Frankfurt am Main in Germany in 1926. I was born on 12th June, 1929."
    (Anne Frank)

    Margot and Anne with the neighbourhood children
    "One morning I discovered Anne on the balcony in the rain, standing in the middle of a puddle and crowing with pleasure. She didn't move a muscle when I scolded her. She just wanted me to tell her a story, right away."
    (Kati Stilgenbauer)

    Period II: 1933-1939

    By 1933, the Nazi Party gets the largest number of votes of any party in Germany and comes to power. In 1933, Otto Frank decides to immigrate to Holland with his family. He has the opportunity to build a new life in Amsterdam. He is worried by the rapid rise of the Nazis after January 30th, 1933, and hopes to bring his family to safety, away from ever-growing discrimination and persecution. Whilst they live safely in Amsterdam, persecution continues in Germany, culminating in the Kristallnacht program in November, 1938. In her diary Anne describes the carefree times that she is able to experience in Holland. At this period in her life we again contrast the life of another young person: Hans Massaquoi was born in 1926 to a German mother and a Liberian father. He tells of the ludicrous Nazi school subject of 'Racial Studies' and of the 'Cleansing of the Aryan Race' with its obvious threat to all minorities.

    Boycott of the Jewish shops in Germany, 1st of April 1933
    "The world around me collapsed.. I had to face the consequences and though this did hurt me deeply I realized that Germany was not the world and I left for ever." (Otto Frank)

    Anne with her friend Sanne at Merwedeplein in Amsterdam
    "Because we're Jewish, my father immigrated to Holland in 1933, when he became the Managing Director of the Dutch Opekta Company, which manufactures products used in making jam." (Anne Frank)

    Period III: 1939-1942

    On September 1, 1939 Germany invaded Poland and only twenty years after the end of the Great War, World War I (1914-18), the world was once again in conflict. While concerned about developments in the East, the Franks do not feel the full impact of German aggression until 1940 when the German Army invades Holland in May, 1940. Even before this date, it would have been difficult to flee Holland and find a place of asylum. Once the Nazi invasion and occupation of Holland have taken place it is almost impossible to escape. The Nazis begin their persecution of Jews and other minorities through discriminatory laws throughout Western Europe. All this is only a first step toward the process of mass deportations and the government ordered systematic murders that soon followed.
    In July 1942, Margot Frank gets a call up notice to report to the authorities for "work" abroad. This prompts the Frank family to go into hiding and they move to the Annex of the building occupied by the company which Otto Frank owned. Miep Gies along with three other employees were the primary helpers who brought supplies and visited those in hiding. Anne Frank writes often how much the helpers did and admiringly of their willingness to help those in hiding. In her memoir, Miep Gies stresses that she is not heroic, and that one does not need to be heroic to aid others.

    The Frank Family at Merwedeplein
    "After May 1940 the good times were few and far between: first there was the war, then the capitulation and then the arrival of the Germans, which is when the trouble started for the Jews." (Anne Frank)

    Anne in Montessori School , 1941
    "Our freedom was severely restricted by a series of anti-Jewish decrees: Jews were required to wear a yellow star; Jews were required to hand in their bicycles; Jews were forbidden to use trams or buses; Jews were forbidden to ride in cars, even their own; Jews were required to do their shopping between 3 and 5 p.m.; Jews were required to frequent only Jewish-owned barbershops and hairdressers; Jews were forbidden to be out on the streets between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. (...)" (Anne Frank)

    Period IV: 1942-1945

    Between 1942 and 1944 in the annex at Prinsengracht 263 there are 8 people hiding. Besides the Franks there is also family van Pels ( Auguste, Hermann and their son, Peter)and the dentist dr Pfeffer. Anne changes their names in her diary, so the family van Pels is called "van Daan" and dr Pfeffer - "Dussel".

    In August 1944 people hiding in the annex were betrayed and at once arrested. Then they have been deported to transit camp Westerbork and afterwards to Auschwitz. The eyewitnesses supplement the memories of the Franks with their own ones, telling the story of Sinti and Roma, of deportations one couldn't avoid, of massive executions on Jews, and finally on extermination camps and on all of those things, that the soldiers, who freed those camps, saw.

    Except Otto Frank, everybody who was hiding in the secret annex at Prinsengracht died in different exterminations camps.

    The possible last photo of Anne and Margot
    "On Sunday morning Hello and I lay on our balcony in the sun; on Sunday afternoon he was going to come back, but at about 3 o'clock a policeman arrived and called from the door downstairs: Miss Margot Frank. Mummy went down and the policeman gave her a card which said that Margot Frank has to report to the S.S." (Anne Frank)

    The office building on the Prinsengracht, where Anne Frank, her family and friend were hiding
    "The Annex is an ideal place to hide in. It may be damp and lopsided, but there's probably not a more comfortable hiding place in all of Amsterdam. No, in all of Holland." (Anne Frank)

    Anne's and Fritz Pfeffer's room
    I feel wicked sleeping in a warm bed, while somewhere out there my dearest friends are dropping from exhaustion or being knocked to the ground. I get frightened myself when I think of close friends who are now at the mercy of the cruellest monsters ever to stalk the earth. (Anna Frank)

    Westertoren, tower of the western church- view from the window at the attic of the secret annex
    "Not being able to go outside upsets me more than I can say and I'm terrified our hiding place will be discovered and that we'll be shot. That, of course, is a fairly dismal prospect." (Anne Frank)

    Period V: 1945-today

    The defeat of the Axis powers and the end of Nazi tyranny is a source of widespread relief. However, millions of people have been killed and millions of others have lost family members and are refugees. Jews returning from the concentration camps find that no one wants to hear what happened there; people want to forget the war.
            Once Otto Frank finds out that neither Anne nor Margot survived the war, Miep Gies gives Anne's diary to her father. After reading his daughter's words, Otto Frank is greatly moved and points out that he like many parents didn't know his child in many ways. In 1947, the diary is published in an edited form in Dutch. Translated into over 59 languages the diary is the most widely read memoir of the Second World War.

    After World War II, nations all over the world come together to create an international organization called the United Nations. Its purpose is to safeguard human rights and prevent further conflicts. A series of international human rights laws are passed including the Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Prevention of Genocide. However, racism and discrimination persist despite all the good post-war intentions. The exhibition not only shows that it is the duty of the state to battle against racism and discrimination - but that it is also the responsibility of each individual.
            The final section discusses what happens after 1945 to survivors, what types of human rights laws have been passed and the continuing struggle against racism and discrimination of people today. The final section also shows pictures and quotations from people who have visited the Anne Frank House, as we aim to show the effect that a visit to the Anne Frank House has had on others.

    The sheets of Anne Frank's diary
    "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." (Anne Frank)

    Otto Frank was the only one to survive the war. In 1952 Otto remarries and moves to Basel, Switzerland. He died there in 1980 at the age of 91
    "I have received many thousands of letters. Young people especially always want to know how these terrible things could ever have happened. I answer them as well as I can, and I often finish by saying: 'I hope that Anne's book will have an effect on the rest of your life so that, insofar as it is possible in your circumstances, you will work for unity and peace.'" (Otto Frank)

  • A & K Woźniak