On August 1, 1944, Anne Frank made the last entry in her famous diary. It’s amazing to see how the simple writings of a young girl have stood the test of time and inspired millions of people over the years.

Born on June 12, 1929, Anne Frank was a German teenager whose family was forced into hiding in the Netherlands when Hitler’s Nazi party took over Germany. The members of Anne’s family feared for their lives because they were Jewish.

The Nazis persecuted Jews during their time in power. From 1933 through 1945, the Nazis systematically persecuted and killed millions of Jews. This dark period of history is known as the Holocaust.

The Frank family hid from the Nazis in a secret annex at the back of a warehouse. Eventually, they were betrayed to the Nazis and arrested.

In March 1945, Anne Frank died of typhus in a concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen. She was only 15 years old.

On her 13th birthday, Anne received a diary as a present. Throughout the time her family was in hiding, Anne wrote in her diary. Her writings revealed a lot about the horrors of war and the ordinary struggles of a teenager during World War II.

Miep Gies, one of the people who had helped her family while they were in hiding, saved Anne’s diary. She gave it to Otto Frank, Anne’s father, when he returned from the concentration camps.

Otto published Anne’s diary in 1947. Since then, it has been translated into more than 60 different languages and has become one of the most widely read books in the world. It was published in English in 1952 with the title The Diary of a Young Girl.

At first, Anne wrote her diary only for herself. Writing became a way for her to express the emotions she felt but could hardly express while her family was hiding from the Nazis.

One day in 1944, Anne heard a radio announcement from Gerrit Bolkestein, a Dutch government official. He said that he hoped one day to publish eyewitness accounts, such as letters and diaries, of the suffering caused by the Nazis.

Anne decided that she would publish a book based on her diary after the war. Thanks to Miep Gies, Otto was able to fulfill her dream when Anne did not survive the war.

Although many diaries are personal daily reflections meant to be kept secret, diaries often become the source of information for memoirs, autobiographies and biographies. Even though diary entries can sometimes seem uninteresting — for example, observations about the weather, feelings or everyday events — such entries can later provide historians with priceless glimpses into the past.

Today, people still write in diaries every day. Of course, with modern technology, putting pen to paper can sometimes seem old-fashioned.

As times change, today’s blogs and posts on social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, might become the diary entries of tomorrow! Since what you post online is out there for everyone to see, you might want to stick to pen and paper if you want to keep your diary a secret!

 

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    • Hello, Niki! Thank you for leaving us this great comment today! We think it is fun to write down our secrets in a special journal. Do you have a diary? :-)

  1. I love to learn about Anne Frank. I think she and her family were really brave. Thank you for leaving me the wonderful links. I loved Exploring Anne Frank’s apartment. This website is really great. Anne Frank is a really important role model to me because she was so brave and courageous. Thank you Anne Frank!

    • Thank you so much for letting us know you learned from and liked the links found in this Wonder of the Day®, Leeann! We agree…Anne Frank and her family were very brave. We think it is GREAT that she is an important role model for you! :-)

    • Hi, Zoey! Thanks so much for sharing your comment with us today! We’re just guessing here, but maybe the people who go through your stuff are just concerned about you and want to protect you? We know it can be frustrating sometimes when you feel your privacy might not be respected, but try to remember how much those people love you and care about the things that are going on your life! :-)

  2. Hi! I have been writing in journals all my life. I think it is soo fun to go back and look at what my hand writing looked like and what was going on! Thanks for this awesome article!!

    • We bet it IS a lot of fun to go back and read your past journals, Leah! We think it is AWESOME that you write down things about your life and how you’re feeling in your journals…keep it up! :-)

  3. I think it is so interesting to learn about Anne Frank! I like her because I think she is an inspiring person and we share the same name! I think it’s so interesting to know that she died at 15! Sad, too! I think Hitler should have let people believe in their religion. I plan to read her book someday. Where is her actual diary now?

    • You’re welcome, Anne! Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands in Europe. Let us know some more interesting things you learn about Anne Frank, OK? :-)

  4. Usually someone reads my diaries, so really mine aren’t secret, but I don’t have any big secrets. Do you have any really big secrets about future wonders? :)

    • Thanks for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder of the Day®, Carmen! We MIGHT have some secrets about some super awesome upcoming Wonders, but we’ll never tell! :-) It would take away the excitement and fun of discovering a new Wonder each day if we told our Wonder Friends exactly what the next day’s Wonder would be! We think we’ll keep our upcoming Wonders secret for now! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts about diaries, Simone! We’re glad you stopped by Wonderopolis today! :-)

  5. Once, I read an SRA card on Anne Frank… she was really cool, but also never gave up hope, and was really, really, REALLY brave.

    • Anne Frank WAS super brave, Jaclyn…we agree! Thanks for sharing your background knowledge about her and also for leaving us this great comment today! :-)

  6. I read Diary Of A Young Girl before. It’s really good, but why do they call it that and not The Diary Of Anne Frank?

    • We’re not sure why the author chose to say “Young Girl” in the title of the book and not “Anne Frank,” Jade! We WONDER about that, too! Thank you for visiting Wonderopolis today and sharing your personal connection to this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • We think that’s WONDERful, Nayeli! Thank you for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  7. OH MY GOODNESS I L-O-V-E the diary of Anne Frank ( I have read it ) Anne Frank is one of my Role models!
    ~Betsy

    • Thank you for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder about Anne Frank, Betsy! We think it’s really awesome that you have learned all about her before! Many Wonder Friends have read her story and have been affected by her struggle and inspired by her incredible bravery and positivity. She is a WONDERful role model! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your comment, Boggysox! We think Anne Frank is an incredibly strong individual– we feel like we know her through her very own diary! :)

    • Hi Jenna, great question. Anne Frank suffered from typhus, a bacterial infection, which was the cause of her death. While Anne Frank was German, she was also Jewish. The concentration camps were meant to house only people of Jewish faith, which included Anne Frank and members of her family. This dark period of time, known as the Holocaust, reminds us that everyone should be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of race, religion or beliefs. :)

    • Great question, Wonder Friend Andy! Anne Frank and her family lived in the attic together until they were found. Her father, Otto, published her inspirational diary for all the world to read. Have you read The Diary of A Young Girl? :)

  8. But you didn’t answer my question correctly you only told me Anne Frank and her family and if I had read the book. You must answer my question please. And yes I have read the book.
    :D :D

    • Hey there, Andy! There was another family who was in hiding in the same attic as the Frank family. Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis to learn all about Anne Frank and her family’s bravery! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Are all diaries secret?
  • Who was Anne Frank?
  • Why should you start a diary?

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Try It Out

Ready to learn a bit more about Anne Frank? Discover Anne Frank’s hiding place when you explore The Secret Annex Online. You can also read excerpts from Anne Frank’s diary.

When you’ve finished exploring, write a diary entry about what happened in your life today. Even though nothing special may have happened today, write about your thoughts and feelings anyway.

Did you enjoy today’s Wonder of the Day? What did you learn? Does the story of Anne Frank inspire you? Why or why not?

What things made you happy today? What things made you sad? Are you worrying about anything right now? What are your hopes for the future?

When you’re finished, email or send us a copy of your diary entry. If you want to keep it secret, that’s OK, too. If you don’t mind sharing your thoughts and feelings with others, though, we’d love to read your diary entry for today!

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Encourage students to use critical literacy skills to understand perspective and then create a diary for an animal they research with ReadWriteThink’s Multiple Perspectives: Building Critical Thinking Skills lesson.

 

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