knowledge of the situation of the Jews in Holland does not help students understand why the Frank family story is so special.

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1 Teaching Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl: Anne Frank s story talks to middle schoolers and many, many middle school English teachers use The Diary of a Young Girl to teach their Standards of Learning Strands (Oral Language, Reading, and Writing), as well as to teach the Holocaust. Teaching Anne Frank without giving students background knowledge of the situation of the Jews in Holland does not help students understand why the Frank family story is so special. When students begin reading The Diary of a Young Girl they enter Anne s life in hiding. Anne s hiding place is in the middle of Nazi occupied Holland. World War II, and the occupation of Holland, is the beginning of the story that ends with Anne s death. The situation of all Jews living in Holland is not part of Anne s diary because she had no idea that her diary would ever be read by anyone. The diary is not something that the author made up. There is a preface and an afterward to the diary that must be taught in order for readers to fully appreciate what they are about to read. Of the almost 12 million people that died in the Holocaust, 6 million were Jews, 1.5 million were children. One of these children was Anne Frank whose, Diary of a Young Girl tells the story of an ordinary young girl, her family and friends, trapped in events history has labeled, a watershed, defining, moment. Preface: Before the diary Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt, Germany. When the Nazi s came to power in 1933 Otto Frank, Anne s father, moved his family to Amsterdam, Netherlands. Holland was a neutral country during World War II and believed that its neutrality would be recognized in any future conflicts. Hitler invaded Holland in Hitler repeatedly (had) given reassurances to the Dutch government that he would absolutely honor Dutch neutrality. i By 1940 Jews in Holland knew what was happening to Jews in other German occupied countries in Europe, but they also knew that those countries had never been considered neutral. Neutrality turned out to be only a concept and when Hitler invaded Holland Jews, who thought that they would be safe in Holland, realized that they were not. Many Jews and non-jews tried to escape to England and Belgium but escape was impossible.

2 The Dutch government was taken over by a German appointed official who tried to assure the people that the Nazis, Would not impose their ideology upon the Dutch. ii The man that the Nazi s selected to govern Holland was considered by the population to be a die-hard Nazi and he, along with for assistants became the people who put the Nazi laws and regulations into effect. Part of the plan was for Holland to made part of Germany after the Nazis had won the war. The Nazi s felt that 98.5% of the Dutch were completely Aryan, and therefore worthy of being part of the new Germany; 1.5% of the population was Jewish. In 1940, anti-jewish laws were slowly put into action. Jews were ordered not to live near the coast and had to register as aliens. Jews were not allowed to be promoted in civil service jobs. Jews were given a definition: persons were Jews who had one grandparent who was Jewish. All Jewish civil servants were fired, and Jewish business owners were required to register with the government. In January 1941 all Jews were told to register with the government and using this census the Dutch government was able to track the whereabouts of all Dutch Jews; 160,000 Jews registered. The Nazis demanded that all Dutch persons carry ID cards in order to receive rations, the cards of Jews were stamped with a J. Jews were forbidden to eat in restaurants, attend theaters, movies and go to meeting halls. Jews were restricted to living in Amsterdam and forbidden to own radios. Jewish doctors, lawyers and others could only assist other Jews and all Jewish farms were to be sold. Jews were prohibited from going to public parks and swimming pools. In August, 1941 Jewish children were prohibited from attending schools with non-jews. (Anne Frank and her sister Margot began attending the Jewish Lycee in Amsterdam). In November of 1941 citizenships were stripped from all German Jews outside of Germany including the Dutch Jews. In 1942, Hitler and his upper echelon met at Wannsee to formulate the Final Solution of all European Jews; putting this meeting into action would take about six months. During this six months the Nazis continued their Arynazation of Jewish owned businesses. Some Jews were able to sell their business to gentiles while some transferred their businesses to people who were sympathetic to them. Anne Frank s father Otto transferred his business to Henk Gies, the spouse of Miep Gies, and the person credited with helping to hide the Frank family.

3 In 1942 the German s instituted the Nuremberg Laws within Holland followed by laws decreeing that all Jews must purchase, and wear, a yellow Star of David at all times. In 1942, the Nazis demanded that all jewelry and art collections be turned over to the government. The amount of money, and the way in which the money was kept, was also severely restricted. In 1942 a curfew for all Jews was instituted. Jews had to be in their home from 8PM to 6AM and were no longer allowed to visit non-jews. In addition, Jews were also not allowed to use or have telephone or use public transportation unless they worked for the Jewish Council or were working for the Germans. Later in 1942, the word was passed that Dutch Jews would be deported and that Jews ages would be put into labor service in Germany; notices were sent out to those Jews affected by the order. Margot Frank, Anne Frank s older sister was ordered to report for this labor service. Otto Frank had already been planning to take his family into hiding; Margot s labor service order provoked Mr. Frank into moving his family into hiding immediately. Most Dutch Jews did not have such a plan ready to implement. Afterward: After the diary On August 4, 1944 the Frank family and others in the hiding place were discovered. The group was sent by cattle car to Westerbork camp and then to Auschwitz. Anne and Margot were sent to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp as they were deemed fit enough for labor. Anne died of typhus in March 1945 in Bergen-Belsen. Anne's father, Otto Frank, survived the war. For further information about the Jews of Holland, go to For further information about Anne Frank, go to

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5 World War II Nazi Occupation of Holland Anne Frank i lib.usc.edu/~anthonya/holo.htm ii ibid

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