Diary of a Young Girl
October 14, 1942–November 20, 1942
Anne continues to keep busy by studying French, math, history, and shorthand. She writes that she is getting along with her mother and Margot better. The two sisters agree to let each other read their diaries. Anne asks Margot what she wants to be when she grows up, but Margot is mysterious about it.
Anne and the others in the annex have a scare when a carpenter comes to fill the fire extinguishers without advanced warning. They hear someone banging on the bookcase and they think the carpenter is going to discover them, but then they realize it is Mr. Kleiman, a man who helped them hide, trying to move the door since it is stuck. Miep Gies, a worker in Mr. Frank’s office, spends a night in the annex along with her husband, Jan. Anne enjoys having the visitors around.
Later in the week, Mr. Frank becomes ill, but the family cannot call a doctor. That weekend, Bep Voskuijl, another worker in Mr. Frank’s office, stays in the annex. Anne writes that she is very excited because she thinks she is about to get her period. In a note she adds to this section in 1944, Anne writes that she cannot believe her “childish innocence” from that time, and she calls her descriptions “indelicate.” She also mentions how the whole time she has been in hiding she has longed for “trust, love and physical affection.”
Anne reports on some of the British successes in Africa and puzzles over Churchill’s famous quotation about the war being at “the end of the beginning.” Mr. Frank recovers from his illness, and Peter turns sixteen. The residents of the annex also agree to take in an eighth person, and Anne is very excited at the prospect of a new addition.
The newcomer is Albert Dussel, a dentist who is married to a Christian woman. Mr. Dussel is excited when Miep tells him of the hiding place, but he asks for a few extra days to put his accounts in order and treat some patients. Mr. Dussel meets Mr. Kleiman at an appointed time, and Miep then leads him to the annex. Mr. Dussel is surprised to see the Frank family because he had heard they were in Belgium.
The van Daans give Mr. Dussel a tongue-in-cheek list of rules upon his arrival. He shares a room with Anne and tells her about the atrocities committed outside, including the murders of women and children. Anne thinks that they are lucky to be in hiding, and she thinks of the suffering her friends must endure merely because they are Jewish. Anne writes that she is very upset by the news, but she resolves that she cannot spend all her time crying. The loneliness of the attic makes her unhappy.
In this section we see Anne’s strength in the face of mounting fears. Anne begins to worry more about an intrusion into the annex, but nonetheless continues to detail the day-to-day changes in her emotions and passes the time with her studies. For the first time, Anne writes about feeling closer to Margot, but we do not get a good idea of Margot’s character. Margot does not share Anne’s plans for the future, which suggests that she is afraid she will not have a future at all.
Anne does not make any overt attempt to get to know the other members of the annex, except for Peter. This may seem odd considering the confined nature of the annex. However, social and familial structures of the 1940s were often formal and inhibited personal intimacy between generations or with people outside the family. In addition, since Anne is going through puberty, she is understandably more focused on what is going on in her own life and does not necessarily have a strong enough sense of self to engage deeply with the adults. Furthermore, the group’s stressful living conditions put everyone on edge, making them less inclined to open up in a meaningful way. Many of the residents seem to guard their inner thoughts from even their close family members.
For Anne, the early excitement of being in hiding gives way to frustration at being trapped in such close quarters with the van Daans and her own family. Mr. Dussel’s arrival is initially exciting for Anne because it brings a change in a life that has little variety. However, this sense of excitement is soured when Mr. Dussel tells Anne about the persecution of Jews in the outside world. Anne begins to express her inability to understand the injustice of persecution and genocide. For Anne, the probable deaths of her friends and acquaintances are still abstract in her mind and have not yet become real. She knows rationally what is happening outside of the annex, but the relative security of the hiding place allows her to escape the harsh realities of the war and retain some of her childhood innocence.