Anne Frank, Forty Years On

On 4th April 1944, Anne Frank wrote, 'I want to go on living even after my death!' Four months later, she and her family left for a concentration camp after capture by the Gestapo, and she died from typhus at Bergen-Belsen in March 1945, aged fifteen years.

Anne Frank is chiefly known for her Diary, with approximately eighteen million copies sold, in fifty-two editions, in over fifty languages (including Japanese, Ladino, and Serbo-Croat). A play and a film based on the Diary ensured that its ideals and poignant drama reached a wider audience. However, Anne Frank has lived on as an impetus behind the Anne Frank Foundation in Amsterdam, propagating the aspirations bequeathed to the world by the Diary through its educational work; as a symbol and martyr of Nazi atrocity; as a target for extreme right-wing attempts to whitewash the past; and as a writer with literary and documentary value.

In 1933, the Frank family fled from Germany and its anti-Semitic atmosphere to Amsterdam where Otto Frank, Anne's father, set up a firm, Opekta. On December 1st, 1940, this business moved into a building at Prinsengracht 263 and Anne attended a Montessori school. The German invasion of Holland in Spring 1940 threatened all who had sought sanctuary in Holland. In March 1941, German occupation forces issued a decree making it possible for Jewish businesses to be controlled and sold. Otto Frank turned over the management of Opekta to a Mr Koophuis and that of Pecaton, a wholesale firm in spices also run by Otto Frank, to a Mr Kraler. Further anti-Jewish laws followed constructing an anti-Semitic apartheid system in public places, the banning of secondary education for Jews, and ultimately the deportation of Jews to Auschwitz and other camps. For the Jews, survival depended on hiding.

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