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Anne Frank, one of the most famous authors of the 20th century, wrote the inspiring diary of a Jewish girl who was forced to hide with her family here in a hidden apartment from the Nazis. In the pages of The Diary of Anne Frank (published posthumously in 1947 as The Annex by her father—the title she chose) the young Anne recorded two increasingly fraught years living in secret in a warren of rooms at the back of this 1635 canal house. Anne Frank was born in Germany in 1929; when she was four her family moved to the Netherlands to escape growing anti-Jewish sentiment. Otto Frank operated a pectin business and decided to stay in his adopted country when the war finally reached the Netherlands in 1940. In July 1942 he took his wife and daughters, Anne and her sister, Margo, into hiding, and a week later they were joined by the Van Pels family: Auguste, Hermann, and their son, Peter. Four months later, dentist Fritz Pfeffer moved in.
The five adults and three children
sought refuge in the attic of the rear annex, or achterhuis, of Otto's business in the center of Amsterdam. The entrance to the flat was hidden behind a hinged bookcase. Here, like many onderduikers ("people in hiding") throughout Amsterdam, Anne dreamed her dreams, wrote her diary, and pinned up movie-star pictures to her wall (still on view). Five trusted employees provided them with food and supplies. In her diary, Anne chronicles the day-to-day life in the house: her longing for a best friend, her crush on Peter, her frustration with her mother, her love for her father, and her annoyance with the petty dentist, who was called Dussel in her diary. In August 1944, the Franks were betrayed and the Gestapo invaded their hideaway. All the members of the annex were transported to camps. Anne and Margot died of typhoid in Bergen-Belsen a few months before the liberation. Otto Frank was the only survivor of the annex. Miep Gies, one of the friends who helped with the hiding, found Anne's diary after the raid and kept it through the war. Now, millions of people read it and its tale of humanity's struggle with fascism. The line to get into the Anne Frank House is extremely long, especially in the summer. It moves (sort of) quickly, but it's best to arrive early or book tickets online to avoid the worst crowds.