Anne Frank would have been 90 this year. Her family had fled from Germany to Holland hoping to escape the Nazi’s persecution of the Jews. On her thirteenth birthday, June 12th 1942, she was given a red chequered diary. When the family went into hiding less than a month later Anne took her diary with her addressing each entry to Dear Kitty, the confidant and friend she so craved while shut up in the secret annexe above her father’s business premises.
The readings include reminiscences from Eva Schloss. Eva knew Anne as a young girl in Amsterdam. They both went into hiding from the Nazis on the same day. Like the Frank family, Eva's family were also betrayed and sent to concentration camps where her father and brother died. In 1953, Eva’s mother and Otto Frank were married.
Eva describes how Anne loved to write stories and then perform them to the other children where they lived. And hearing the diaries read out loud gives a sense of that young girl who loved to perform and to be heard.
Anne’s vivid descriptions of being cooped up for so long, rotten food, the often unsavoury toilet arrangements and the inevitable rows, sit alongside her remarkably assured understanding of her own character, women’s rights, frank discussions about sex, and her feelings towards Peter, the son of the other family in hiding with them.
Anne follows the progress of the war on the BBC, longing for the invasion and liberation. She is all too aware of what is happening to Jews in Europe but the horror of being discovered, the nights spent in complete silence as burglars prowl the offices below, is tempered by a deep faith in humanity.
The family were in hiding for over two years until, betrayed, they were sent to concentration camps. Anne and her sister Margot died in Bergen-Belsen in February 1945. Her mother died in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Only her father, Otto Frank, survived. On his return to Amsterdam in 1945 Miep Giep, his former secretary who had helped the family in hiding, returned Anne’s diary to him. She had found it in the annex and kept it safe, always hoping that one day she would be able to return it to Anne herself. It was published in 1947.
Omnibus reader: Georgia Groome
Abridged by Libby Spurrier
A Pier production for BBC Radio 4 first broadcast in five parts in 2019.
Anne Frank would have been 90 this year. Readings from her diary by Georgia Groome.