After a few happy years in Amsterdam, World War 2 broke out – Germany attacked Poland, and the German army went through Europe taking over country after country. The Netherlands never expected to be attacked by their neighbours, but the country was invaded and taken over in 1940. Now the Nazis’ policies against Jews would be put in place there too.
“After May 1940…the trouble started for the Jews. Our freedom was severely restricted by a series of anti-Jewish decrees: Jews were required to wear a yellow star; Jews were required to turn-in their bicycles; Jews were forbidden to ride trams or in cars, even their own…Jews were forbidden to go to theatres, cinemas or any other forms of entertainment; Jews were forbidden to use swimming pools, tennis courts, hockey fields or any other athletic fields…You couldn’t do this and you couldn’t do that, but life went on…”
20 June 1942
These words come from Anne’s diary. In 1942, after Anne and her family had lived by the rules set by the Nazi party for two years, they went into hiding to escape from the persecution, imprisonment and maybe even death by the cruel Nazis. Just before the family hid themselves away, Anne’s parents bought her a present for her birthday, June 12th. It was a red checked diary - a special journal to record all her thoughts and dreams. It was just what she had asked for. She took this new prized possession with her into hiding and spent over two years writing in it nearly every day at her desk in her new bedroom.
This is what she wrote about receiving her diary on her birthday in 1942:
“I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.”
12 June 1942
However, Anne’s story does not have a happy ending. After they had been hidden away from the world for over two years, without being able to go outside or make loud noises – Anne and her family were betrayed. Somebody had told the Nazis where they were hiding. They were taken by the Dutch police from their hiding place and were sent to concentration camps in Eastern Europe with thousands of other Jews, black people, homosexuals, gypsies and others. They were…