Diary of a Young Girl
June 15, 1943–November 11, 1943
I can only cry out and implore, “Oh ring, ring, open wide and let us out!”
Mr. Voskuijl is diagnosed with cancer and knows he does not have long to live. Anne decides to stop studying shorthand because she is becoming nearsighted and cannot get glasses. The group briefly considers sending her out to an ophthalmologist, but Mr. Frank has heard that the British have landed in Sicily, Italy, and thinks the war will soon be over. Anne’s favorite day of the week is Saturday, when Bep brings books from the library. Anne asks Mr. Dussel if she can use the table in their room to study during the afternoon, but he refuses. They argue over it, so Mr. Frank intervenes and arranges for Anne to have access to the table for two afternoons each week. There is another break-in at the office, and this time the robbers take cash and ration coupons for sugar. Anne writes about what she plans to do when they are able to leave the annex. She says she would be so overjoyed she would not know where to start, but she wants to go back to school again.
Two air-raid sirens sound in one day as bombs fall relentlessly on Amsterdam. The residents of the annex are scared, but Anne tries to be brave. On the radio they hear the good news that Benito Mussolini, Italy’s Fascist leader, has been deposed. They are forced to turn in the radio, which angers Mr. Dussel. Anne describes the complicated daily schedule of the annex, pointing out that it is very different from the routine that ordinary people would follow during ordinary times. Her account, as usual, is filled with humorous and not very complimentary descriptions of the other people in the annex.
Anne receives new shoes, and Mr. Dussel almost causes trouble by asking Miep to bring him a banned book. Italy surrenders unconditionally, but Anne’s happiness is tempered by the news that Mr. Kleiman will have to undergo a serious stomach operation. She also worries that Mr. van Maaren, a man who works in the warehouse and is not trustworthy, will find out about the hiding place. Anne writes that she has been taking medication every day for depression. Bep is exasperated with the number of errands they ask her to run, and everyone’s temper is constantly flaring up. Anne compares herself to a bird with broken wings, longing for fresh air and sunshine.
Margot decides to take a correspondence course in Latin to ease her boredom, but Anne says it is too difficult. Mr. Frank asks Mr. Kleiman for a children’s Bible so that Anne can learn about the New Testament. Miep tells Anne that she envies the peace and quiet of the annex. But Anne, who is constantly afraid of being discovered, compares the eight residents to a patch of blue sky surrounded by dark clouds. The clouds are coming in, and they can see both the destruction below them and the peace above them.
Anne writes a memorial to her fountain pen, which she has owned for many years but which was accidentally melted in the stove. She says that her only consolation is that the pen was cremated, as she hopes to be when she dies.
By the middle of 1943, Anne’s mood becomes darker as her frustration and anger increase. She has plenty of time to contemplate the war, and in each diary entry her anxiety grows. Her tone is less cheerful and humorous, despite occasional injections of satire or sarcasm, particularly when she is annoyed with another resident of the annex. While Anne tries to act like a brave adult, she still jumps into her father’s bed during air raids and takes medication for her depression. Anne is still just a young girl and can no longer pretend to be strong.
Anne gives a cynical description of her discovery that hypocrisy rather than honesty is the only way to get along with people. She displays her newfound skill at hypocrisy in her negotiations with Mr. Dussel over the study table in their bedroom. Although she considers Mr. Dussel rude and impossible to deal with, she swallows her feelings to gain the upper hand. By maintaining her composure, Anne feels superior to the “petty and pedantic” Dussel. Her language and behavior show us that the once-lighthearted girl is becoming depressed and cynical, trusting less in the security of her parents and relying more on her own resourcefulness.
Although the Franks are being persecuted as Jews, they clearly see themselves as part of society as a whole, not members of a separate group. Mr. Frank demonstrates his open-mindedness when he decides to buy Anne a Bible. Additionally, since the Franks and the van Daans do not keep kosher but do celebrate both Jewish and Christian holidays, they most likely identified themselves as Germans first and Jews second. Their identity became unclear when Hitler came to power and they lost their German citizenship. Despite the forced segregation imposed in the Netherlands, the Franks settled in comfortably enough for Anne to consider herself part of wider Dutch society.
In this section, Anne also describes more of Miep’s role in keeping the annex running and gives us a sense of the amount of work Miep has to do to keep them supplied in secret. Anne understands Miep’s envy of the people in the annex, since the situation outside is not favorable for any of the Dutch people, even non-Jews. The people who protect the annex are under just as much stress as those inside. Nonetheless, Anne knows that Miep is unaware of the difficulties of their life in hiding, such as the constant quarreling and frustration at being in such close quarters. Miep does not understand what it is like to be a young girl, trapped in a small attic with a whole world just out of reach.
Anne’s language becomes more metaphorical in this part of the diary, as she increasingly attempts to describe her fear and depression using figurative language. She chooses to describe her situation in terms of the natural environment, the part of the world she misses most while she is in hiding. She compares herself to a bird with a broken wing and compares the eight residents to clouds caught between peace and war. Anne uses these comparisons to nature to express her feelings and desires that are too difficult to describe in literal terms.