Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, chapter name NOVEMBER 19, 1942 - APRIL 2, 1943

NOVEMBER 19, 1942 - APRIL 2, 1943


Dearest Kitty,

Just as we thought, Mr. Dussel is a very nice man. Of course he didn't mind sharing a room with me; to be honest, I'm not exactly delighted at having a stranger use my things, but you have to make sacrifices for a good cause, and I'm glad I can make this small one. "If we can save even one of our friends, the rest doesn't matter," said Father, and he's absolutely right.

The first day Mr. Dussel was here, he asked me all sorts of questions -- for example, what time the cleaning lady comes to the office, how we've arranged to use the washroom and when we're allowed to go to the toilet. You may laugh, but these things aren't so easy in a hiding place. During the daytime we can't make any noise that might be heard downstairs, and when someone else is there, like the cleaning lady, we have to be extra careful. I patiently explained all this to Mr. Dussel, but I was surprised to see how slow he is to catch on. He asks everything twice and still can't remember what you've told him.

Maybe he's just confused by the sudden change and he'll get over it. Otherwise, everything is going fine.

Mr. Dussel has told us much about the outside world we've missed for so long. He had sad news. Countless friends and acquaintances have been taken off to a dreadful fate. Night after night, green and gray military vehicles cruise the streets. They knock on every door, asking whether any Jews live there. If so, the whole family is immediately taken away. If not, they proceed to the next house. It's impossible to escape their clutches unless you go into hiding. They often go around with lists, knocking only on those doors where they know there's a big haul to be made. They frequently offer a bounty, so much per head. It's like the slave hunts of the olden days. I don't mean to make light of this, it's much too tragic for that. In the evenings when it's dark, I often see long lines of good, innocent people, accompanied by crying children, walking on and on, ordered about by a handful of men who bully and beat them until they nearly drop. No one is spared. The sick, the elderly, children, babies and pregnant women -- all are marched to their death.

We're so fortunate here, away from the turmoil. We wouldn't have to give a moment's thought to all this suffering if it weren't for the fact that we're so worried about those we hold dear, whom we can no longer help. I feel wicked sleeping in a warm bed, while somewhere out there my dearest friends are dropping from exhaustion or being knocked to the ground.

I get frightened myself when I think of close friends who are now at the mercy of the cruelest monsters ever to stalk the earth.

And all because they're Jews.

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

We don't really know how to react. Up to now very little news about the Jews had reached us here, and we thought it best to stay as cheerful as possible. Every now and then Miep used to mention what had happened to a friend, and Mother or Mrs. van Daan would start to cry, so she decided it was better not to say any more. But we bombarded Mr. Dussel with questions, and the stories he had to tell were so gruesome and dreadful that we can't get them out of our heads. Once we've had time to digest the news, we'll probably go back to our usual joking and teasing. It won't do us or those outside any good if we continue to be as gloomy as we are now. And what would be the point of turning the Secret Annex into a Melancholy Annex? No matter what I'm doing, I can't help thinking about those who are gone. I catch myself laughing and remember that it's a disgrace to be so cheerful. But am I supposed to spend the whole day crying? No, I can't do that. This gloom will pass. Added to this misery there's another, but of a more personal nature, and it pales in comparison to the suffering I've just told you about. Still, I can't help telling you that lately I've begun to feel deserted. I'm surrounded by too great a void. I never used to give it much thought, since my mind was filled with my friends and having a good time. Now I think either about unhappy things or about myself. It's taken a while, but I've finally realized that Father, no matter how kind he may be, can't take the place of my former world. When it comes to my feelings, Mother and Margot ceased to count long ago.

But why do I bother you with this foolishness? I'm terribly ungrateful, Kitty, I know, but when I've been scolded for the umpteenth time and have all these other woes to think about as well, my head begins to reel!

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

We've been using too much electricity and have now exceeded our ration. The result: excessive economy and the prospect of having the electricity cut off. No light for fourteen days; that's a pleasant thought, isn't it? But who knows, maybe it won't be so long! It's too dark to read after four or four-thirty, so we while away the time with all kinds of crazy activities: telling riddles, doing calisthenics in the dark, speaking English or French, reviewing books -- after a while everything gets boring. Yesterday I discovered a new pastime: using a good pair of binoculars to peek into the lighted rooms of the neighbors. During the day our curtains can't be opened, not even an inch, but there's no harm when it's so dark.

I never knew that neighbors could be so interesting. Ours are, at any rate. I've come across a few at dinner, one family making home movies and the dentist across the way working on a frightened old lady.

Mr. Dussel, the man who was said to get along so well with children and to absolutely adore them, has turned out to be an old-fashioned disciplinarian and preacher of unbearably long sermons on manners. Since I have the singular pleasure of sharing my far too narrow room with His Excellency, and since I'm generally considered to be the worst behaved of the three young people, it's all I can do to avoid having the same old scoldings and admonitions repeatedly flung at my head and to pretend not to hear. This wouldn't be so bad if Mr. Dussel weren't such a tattletale and hadn't singled out Mother to be the recipient of his reports. If Mr. Dussel's just read me the riot act, Mother lectures me all over again, this time throwing the whole book at me. And if I'm really lucky, Mrs. van D. calls me to account five minutes later and lays down the law as well!

Really, it's not easy being the badly brought-up center of attention of a family of nitpickers.

In bed at night, as I ponder my many sins and exaggerated shortcomings, I get so confused by the sheer amount of things I have to consider that I either laugh or cry, depending on my mood. Then I fall asleep with the strange feeling of wanting to be different than I am or being different than I want to be, or perhaps of behaving differently than I am or want to be.

Oh dear, now I'm confusing you too. Forgive me, but I don't like crossing things out, and in these times of scarcity, tossing away a piece of paper is clearly taboo. So I can only advise you not to reread the above passage and to make no attempt to get to the bottom of it, because you'll never find your way out again!

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

Hanukkah and St. Nicholas Day nearly coincided this year; they were only one day apart. We didn't make much of a fuss with Hanukkah, merely exchanging a few small gifts and lighting the candles. Since candles are in short supply, we lit them for only ten minutes, but as long as we sing the song, that doesn't matter. Mr. van Daan made a menorah out of wood, so that was taken care of too.

St. Nicholas Day on Saturday was much more fun. During dinner Bep and Miep were so busy whispering to Father that our curiosity was aroused and we suspected they were up to something. Sure enough, at eight o'clock we all trooped downstairs through the hall in pitch darkness (it gave me the shivers, and I wished I was safely back upstairs!) to the alcove. We could switch on the light, since this room doesn't have any windows. When that was done, Father opened the big cabinet. "Oh, how wonderful!" we all cried.

In the corner was a large basket decorated with colorful paper and a mask of Black Peter.

We quickly took the basket upstairs with us. Inside was a little gift for everyone, including an appropriate verse. Since you're familiar with the kinds of poems people write each other on St. Nicholas Day, I won't copy them down for you. I received a Kewpie doll, Father got bookends, and so on. Well anyway, it was a nice idea, and since the eight of us had never celebrated St. Nicholas Day before, this was a good time to begin.

Yours, Anne

PS. We also had presents for everyone downstairs, a few things .left over from the Good Old Days; plus Miep and Bep are always grateful for money.

Today we heard that Mr. van Daan' s ashtray, Mr. Dussel's picture frame and Father's bookends were made by none other than Mr. Voskuijl. How anyone can be so clever with his hands is a mystery to me!



Dearest Kitty,

Mr. van Daan used to be in the meat, sausage and spice business. He was hired for his knowledge of spices, and yet, to our great delight, it's his sausage talents that have come in handy now.

We ordered a large amount of meat (under the counter, of course) that we were planning to preserve in case there were hard times ahead. Mr. van Daan decided to make bratwurst, sausages and mettwurst. I had fun watching him put the meat through the grinder: once, twice, three times. Then he added the remaining ingredients to the ground meat and used a long pipe to force the mixture into the casings. We ate the bratwurst with sauerkraut for lunch, but the sausages, which were going to be canned, had to dry first, so we hung them over a pole suspended from the ceiling. Everyone who came into the room burst into laughter when they saw the dangling sausages. It was such a comical sight.

The kitchen was a shambles. Mr. van Daan, clad in his wife's apron and looking fatter than ever, was working away at the meat. What with his bloody hands, red face and spotted apron, he looked like a real butcher. Mrs. D. was trying to do everything at once: learning Dutch out of a book, stirring the soup, watching the meat, sighing and moaning about her broken rib. That's what happens when old ladies do such stupid exercises to get rid of their fat behinds! Dussel had an eye infection and was sitting next to the stove dabbing his eye with chamomile tea. Pim, seated in the one ray of sunshine coming through the window, kept having to move his chair this way and that to stay out of the way. His rheumatism must have been bothering him because he was slightly hunched over and was keeping an eye on Mr. van Daan with an agonized expression on his face. He reminded me of those aged invalids you see in the poor-house. Peter was romping around the room with Mouschi, the cat, while Mother, Margot and I were peeling boiled potatoes. When you get right down to it, none of us were doing our work properly, because we were all so busy watching Mr. van Daan. Dussel has opened his dental practice. Just for fun, I'll describe the session with his very first patient.

Mother was ironing, and Mrs. van D., the first victim, sat down on a chair in the middle of the room. Dussel, unpacking his case with an air of importance, asked for some eau de cologne, which could be used as a disinfectant, and vaseline, which would have to do for wax. He looked in Mrs. van D.'s mouth and found two teeth that made her wince with pain and utter incoherent cries every time he touched them. After a lengthy examination (lengthy as far as Mrs. van D. was concerned, since it actually took no longer than two minutes), Dussel began to scrape out a cavity. But Mrs. van D. had no intention of letting him. She flailed her arms and legs until Dussel finally let go of his probe and it . . . remained stuck in Mrs. van D.'s tooth. That really did it! Mrs. van D. lashed out wildly in all directions, cried (as much as you can with an instrument like that in your mouth), tried to remove it, but only managed to push it in even farther. Mr. Dussel calmly observed the scene, his hands on his hips, while the rest of the audience roared with laughter. Of course, that was very mean of us. If it'd been me, I'm sure I would have yelled even louder. After a great deal of squirming, kicking, screaming and shouting, Mrs. van D. finally managed to yank the thing out, and Mr. Dussel went on with his work as if nothing had happened. He was so quick that Mrs. van D. didn't have time to pull any more shenanigans. But then, he had more help than he's ever had before: no fewer than two assistants; Mr. van D. and I performed our job well. The whole scene resembled one of those engravings from the Middle Ages entitled" A Quack at Work." In the meantime, however, the patient was getting restless, since she had to keep an eye on "her" soup and "her" food. One thing is certain: it'll be a while before Mrs. van D. makes another dental appointment!

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

I'm sitting here nice and cozy in the front office, peering out through a chink in the heavy curtains. It's dusky, but there's just enough light to write by.

It's really strange watching people walk past. They all seem to be in such a hurry that they nearly trip over their own feet. Those on bicycles whiz by so fast I can't even tell who's on the bike. The people in this neighborhood aren't particularly attractive to look at. The children especially are so dirty you wouldn't want to touch them with a ten-foot pole. Real slum kids with runny noses. I can hardly understand a word they say.

Yesterday afternoon, when Margot and I were taking a bath, I said, "What if we took a fishing rod and reeled in each of those kids one by one as they walked by, stuck them in the tub, washed and mended their clothes and then. . ."

"And then tomorrow they'd be just as dirty and tattered as they were before," Margot replied.

But I'm babbling. There are also other things to look at cars, boats and the rain. I can hear the streetcar and the children and I'm enjoying myself.

Our thoughts are subject to as little change as we are. They're like a merry-go-round, turning from the Jews to food, from food to politics. By the way, speaking of Jews, I saw two yesterday when I was peeking through ; the curtains. I felt as though I were gazing at one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It gave me such a funny feeling, as if I'd denounced them to the authorities and was now spying on their misfortune.

Across from us is a houseboat. The captain lives there with his wife and children. He has a small yapping dog. We know the little dog only by its bark and by its tail, which we can see whenever it runs around the deck. Oh, what a shame, it's just started raining and most of the people are hidden under their umbrellas. All I can see are raincoats, and now and again the back of a stocking-capped head. Actually, I don't even need to look. By now I can recognize the women at a glance: gone to fat from eating potatoes, dressed in a red or green coat and worn-out shoes, a shopping bag dangling from their arms, with faces that are either grim or good-humored, depending on the mood of their husbands.

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

The Annex was delighted to hear that we'll all be receiving an extra quarter pound of butter for Christmas. According to the newspaper, everyone is entitled to half a pound, but they mean those lucky souls who get their ration books from the government, not Jews in hiding like us who can only afford to buy four rather than eight ration books on the black market. Each of us is going to bake something with the butter. This morning I made two cakes and a batch of cookies. It's very busy upstairs, and Mother has informed me that I'm not to do any studying or reading until all the household chores have been finished.

Mrs. van Daan is lying in bed nursing her bruised rib. She complains all day long, constantly demands that the bandages be changed and is generally dissatisfied with everything. I'll be glad when she gets back on her feet and can clean up after herself because, I must admit, she's extraordinarily hardworking and neat, and as long as she's in good physical and mental condition, she's quite cheerful.

As if I don't hear "shh, shh" enough during the day because I'm always making "too much" noise, my dear roommate has come up with the idea of saying "shh, shh" to me all night too. According to him, I shouldn't even turn over. I refuse to take any notice of him, and the next time he shushes me, I'm going to shush him right back. He gets more exasperating and egotistical as the days go by. Except for the first week, I haven't seen even one of the cookies he so generously promised me. He's particularly infuriating on Sundays, when he switches on the light at the crack of dawn to exercise for ten minutes.

To me, the torment seems to last for hours, since the chairs I use to make my bed longer are constantly being jiggled under my sleepy head. After rounding off his limbering-up exercises with a few vigorous arm swings, His Lordship begins dressing. His underwear is hanging on a hook, so first he lumbers over to get it and then lumbers back, past my bed. But his tie is on the table, so once again he pushes and bumps his way past the chairs. But I mustn't waste any more of your time griping about disgusting old men. It won't help matters anyway. My plans for revenge, such as unscrewing the light bulb, locking the door and hiding his clothes, have unfortunately had to be abandoned in the interests of peace.

Oh, I'm becoming so sensible! We've got to be reasonable about everything we do here: studying, listening, holding our tongues, helping others, being kind, making compromises and I don't know what else! I'm afraid my common sense, which was in short supply to begin with, will be used up too quickly and I won't have any left by the time the war is over.

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

This morning I was constantly interrupted, and as a result I haven't been able to finish a single thing I've begun.

We have a new pastime, namely, filling packages with powdered gravy. The gravy is one of Gies & Co.'s products. Mr. Kugler hasn't been able to find anyone else to fill the packages, and besides, it's cheaper if we do the job. It's the kind of work they do in prisons. It's incredibly boring and makes us dizzy and giggly.

Terrible things are happening outside. At any time of night and day, poor helpless people are being dragged out of their homes. They're allowed to take only a knapsack and a little cash with them, and even then, they're robbed of these possessions on the way. Families are torn apart; men, women and children are separated. Children come home from school to find that their parents have disappeared. Women return from shopping to find their houses sealed, their families gone. The Christians in Holland are also living in fear because their sons are being sent to Germany. Everyone is scared. Every night hundreds of planes pass over Holland on their way to German cities, to sow their bombs on German soil. Every hour hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of people are being killed in Russia and Africa. No one can keep out of the conflict, the entire world is at war, and even though the Allies are doing better, the end is nowhere in sight.

As for us, we're quite fortunate. Luckier than millions of people. It's quiet and safe here, and we're using our money to buy food. We're so selfish that we talk about "after the war" and look forward to new clothes and shoes, when actually we should be saving every penny to help others when the war is over, to salvage whatever we can.

The children in this neighborhood run around in thin shirts and wooden shoes. They have no coats, no caps, no stockings and no one to help them. Gnawing on a carrot to still their hunger pangs, they walk from their cold houses through cold streets to an even colder classroom. Things have gotten so bad in Holland that hordes of children stop passersby in the streets to beg for a piece of bread.

I could spend hours telling you about the suffering the war has brought, but I'd only make myself more miserable. All we can do is wait, as calmly as possible, for it to end. Jews and Christians alike are waiting, the whole world is waiting, and many are waiting for death.

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

I'm seething with rage, yet I can't show it. I'd like to scream, stamp my foot, give Mother a good shaking, cry and I don't know what else because of the nasty words, mocking looks and accusations that she hurls at me day after day, piercing me like arrows from a tightly strung bow, which are nearly impossible to pull from my body. I'd like to scream at Mother, Margot, the van Daans, Dussel and Father too: "Leave me alone, let me have at least one night when I don't cry myself to sleep with my eyes burning and my head pounding. Let me get away, away from everything, away from this world!" But I can't do that. I can't let them see my doubts, or the wounds they've inflicted on me. I couldn't bear their sympathy or their good-humored derision. It would only make me want to scream even more.

Everyone thinks I'm showing off when I talk, ridiculous when I'm silent, insolent when I answer, cunning when I have a good idea, lazy when I'm tired, selfish when I eat one bite more than I should, stupid, cowardly, calculating, etc., etc. All day long I hear nothing but what an exasperating child I am, and although I laugh it off and pretend not to mind, I do mind. I wish I could ask God to give me another personality, one that doesn't antagonize everyone.

But that's impossible. I'm stuck with the character I was born with, and yet I'm sure I'm not a bad person. I do my best to please everyone, more than they'd ever suspect in a million years. When I'm upstairs, I try to laugh it off because I don't want them to see my troubles.

More than once, after a series of absurd reproaches, I've snapped at Mother: "I don't care what you say. Why don't you just wash your hands of me -- I'm a hopeless case." Of course, she'd tell me not to talk back and virtually ignore me for two days. Then suddenly all would be forgotten and she'd treat me like everyone else. It's impossible for me to be all smiles one day and venomous the next. I'd rather choose the golden mean, which isn't so golden, and keep my thoughts to myself. Perhaps sometime I'll treat the others with the same contempt as they treat me. Oh, if only I could.

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

Though it's been ages since I've written to you about the squabbles, there's still no change. In the beginning Mr. Dussel took our soon-forgotten clashes very seriously, but now he's grown used to them and no longer tries to mediate.

Margot and Peter aren't exactly what you'd call "young"; they're both so quiet and boring. Next to them, I stick out like a sore thumb, and I'm always being told, "Margot and Peter don't act that way. Why don't you follow your sister's example!" I hate that.

I confess that I have absolutely no desire to be like Margot. She's too weak-willed and passive to suit me; she lets herself be swayed by others and always backs down under pressure. I want to have more spunk! But I keep ideas like these to myself. They'd only laugh at me if I offered this in my defense.

During meals the air is filled with tension. Fortunately, the outbursts are sometimes held in check by the "soup eaters," the people from the office who come up to have a cup of soup for lunch.

This afternoon Mr. van Daan again brought up the fact that Margot eats so little. "I suppose you do it to keep your figure," he added in a mocking tone.

Mother, who always comes to Margot's defense, said in a loud voice, "I can't stand that stupid chatter of yours a minute longer."

Mrs. van D. turned red as a beet. Mr. van D. stared straight ahead and said nothing. Still, we often have a good laugh. Not long ago Mrs. van D. was entertaining us with some bit of nonsense or another. She was talking about the past, about how well she got along with her father and what a flirt she was. "And you know," she continued, "my father told me that if a gentleman ever got fresh, I was to say, 'Remember, sir, that I'm a lady,' and he'd know what I meant." We split our sides laughing, as if she'd told us a good joke.

Even Peter, though he's usually quiet, occasionally gives rise to hilarity. He has the misfortune of adoring foreign words without knowing what they mean. One afternoon we couldn't use the toilet because there were visitors in the office. Unable to wait, he went to the bathroom but didn't flush the toilet. To warn us of the unpleasant odor, he tacked a sign to the bathroom door: "RSVP -- gas!" Of course, he meant "Danger -- gas!" but he thought "RSVP" looked more elegant. He didn't have the faintest idea that it meant "please reply."

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

Pim is expecting the invasion any day now. Churchill has had pneumonia, but is gradually getting better. Gandhi, the champion of Indian freedom, is on one of his umpteenth hunger strikes. Mrs. van D. claims she's fatalistic. But who's the most afraid when the guns go off? None other than Petronella van Daan.

Jan brought along the episcopal letter that the bishops addressed to their parishioners. It was beautiful and inspiring. "People of the Netherlands, stand up and take action. Each of us must choose our own weapons to fight for the freedom of our country, our people and our religion! Give your help and support. Act now!" This is what they're preaching from the pulpit. Will it do any good? It's definitely too late to help our fellow Jews.

Guess what's happened to us now? The owner of the building sold it without informing Mr. Kugler and Mr. Kleiman. One morning the new landlord arrived with an architect to look the place over. Thank goodness Mr. Kleiman was in the office. He showed the gentlemen all there was to see, with the exception of the Secret Annex. He claimed he'd left the key at home and the new owner asked no further questions. If only he doesn't come back demanding to see the Annex. In that case, we'll be in big trouble! Father emptied a card file for Margot and me and filled it with index cards that are blank on one side. This is to become our reading file, in which Margot and I are supposed to note down the books we've read, the author and the date. I've learned two new words: "brothel" and "coquette." I've bought a separate notebook for new words.

There's a new division of butter and margarine. Each person is to get their portion on their own plate. The distribution is very unfair. The van Daans, who always make breakfast for everyone, give themselves one and a half times more than they do us. My parents are much too afraid of an argument to say anything, which is a shame, because I think people like that should always be given a taste of their own medicine.

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

Mrs. van D. has a new nickname -- we've started calling her Mrs. Beaverbrook. Of course, that doesn't mean anything to you, so let me explain. A certain Mr. Beaverbrook often talks on the English radio about what he considers to be the far too lenient bombardment of Germany. Mrs. van Daan, who always contradicts everyone, including Churchill and the news reports, is in complete agreement with Mr. Beaverbrook. So we thought it would be a good idea for her to be married to him, and since she was flattered by the notion, we've decided to call her Mrs. Beaverbrook from now on.

We're getting a new warehouse employee, since the old one is being sent to Germany. That's bad for him but good for us because the new one won't be familiar with the building. We're still afraid of the men who work in the warehouse.

Gandhi is eating again.

The black market is doing a booming business. If we had enough money to pay the ridiculous prices, we could stuff ourselves silly. Our greengrocer buys potatoes from the "Wehrmacht" and brings them in sacks to the private office. Since he suspects we're hiding here, he makes a point of coming during lunchtime, when the warehouse employees are out.

So much pepper is being ground at the moment that we sneeze and cough with every breath we take. Everyone who comes upstairs greets us with an "ah-CHOO." Mrs. Van D. swears she won't go downstairs; one more whiff of pepper and she's going to get sick.

I don't think Father has a very nice business. Nothing but pectin and pepper. As long as you're in the food business, why not make candy?

A veritable thunderstorm of words came crashing down on me again this morning.

The air flashed with so many coarse expressions that my ears were ringing with "Anne's bad this" and "van Daans' good that." Fire and brimstone!

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

We had a short circuit last night, and besides that, the guns were booming away until dawn. I still haven't gotten over my fear of planes and shooting, and I crawl into Father's bed nearly every night for comfort. I know it sounds childish, but wait till it happens to you! The ackack guns make so much noise you can't hear your own voice. Mrs. Beaverbrook, the fatalist, practically burst into tears and said in a timid little voice, "Oh, it's so awful. Oh, the guns are so loud!" -- which is another way of saying "I'm so scared."

It didn't seem nearly as bad by candlelight as it did in the dark. I was shivering, as if I had a fever, and begged Father to relight the candle. He was adamant: there was to be no light. Suddenly we heard a burst of machine-gun fire, and that's ten times worse than antiaircraft guns. Mother jumped out of bed and, to Pim's great annoyance, lit the candle. Her resolute answer to his grumbling was, "After all, Anne is not an ex-soldier!" And that was the end of that!

Have I told you any of Mrs. van D.'s other fears? I don't think so. To keep you up to date on the latest adventures in the Secret Annex, I should tell you this as well. One night Mrs. van D. thought she heard loud footsteps in the attic, and she was so afraid of burglars, she woke her husband. At that very same moment, the thieves disappeared, and the only sound Mr. van D. could hear was the frightened pounding of his fatalistic wife's heart. "Oh, Putti!" she cried. (Putti is Mrs. van D.'s pet name for her husband.) "They must have taken all our sausages and dried beans. And what about Peter? Oh, do you think Peter's still safe and sound in his bed?"

"I'm sure they haven't stolen Peter. Stop being such a ninny, and let me get back to sleep!"

Impossible. Mrs. van D. was too scared to sleep.

A few nights later the entire van Daan family was awakened by ghostly noises. Peter went to the attic with a flashlight and -- scurry, scurry -- what do you think he saw running away? A whole slew of enormous rats!

Once we knew who the thieves were, we let Mouschi sleep in the attic and never saw our uninvited guests again. . . at least not at night.

A few evenings ago (it was seven-thirty and still light), Peter went up to the loft to get some old newspapers. He had to hold on tightly to the trapdoor to climb down the ladder. He put down his hand without looking, and nearly fell off the ladder from shock and pain. Without realizing it, he'd put his hand on a large rat, which had bitten him in the arm. By the time he reached us, white as a sheet and with his knees knocking, the blood had soaked through his pajamas. No wonder he was so shaken, since petting a rat isn't much fun, especially when it takes a chunk out of your arm.

Yours, Anne


FRIDAY, MARCH 12, 1943

Dearest Kitty,

May I introduce: Mama Frank, the children's advocate! Extra butter for the youngsters, the problems facing today's youth -- you name it, and Mother defends the younger generation. After a skirmish or two, she always gets her way.

One of the jars of pickled tongue is spoiled. A feast for Mouschi and Boche.

You haven't met Boche yet, despite the fact that she was here before we went into hiding. She's the warehouse and office cat, who keeps the rats at bay in the storeroom.

Her odd, political name can easily be explained. For a while the firm Gies & Co. had two cats: one for the warehouse and one for the attic. Their paths crossed from time to time, which invariably resulted in a fight. The warehouse cat was always the aggressor, while the attic cat was ultimately the victor, just as in politics. So the warehouse cat was named the German, or "Boche," and the attic cat the Englishman, or "Tommy." Sometime after that they got rid of Tommy, but Boche is always there to amuse us when we go downstairs.

We've eaten so many brown beans and navy beans that I can't stand to look at them. Just thinking about them makes me sick.

Our evening serving of bread has been canceled.

Daddy just said that he's not in a very cheerful mood. His eyes look so sad again, the poor man!

I can't tear myself away from the book A Knock at the Door by Ina Bakker Boudier.

This family saga is extremely well written, but the parts dealing with war, writers and the emancipation of women aren't very good. To be honest, these subjects don't interest me much.

Terrible bombing raids on Germany. Mr. van Daan is grouchy. The reason: the cigarette shortage.

The debate about whether or not to start eating the canned food ended in our favor.

I can't wear any of my shoes, except my ski boots, which are not very practical around the house. A pair of straw thongs that were purchased for 6.50 guilders were worn down to the soles within a week. Maybe Miep will be able to scrounge up something on the black market.

It's time to cut Father's hair. Pim swears that I do such a good job he'll never go to another barber after the war. If only I didn't nick his ear so often!

Yours, Anne



My dearest Kitty,

Turkey's entered the war. Great excitement. Anxiously awaiting radio reports.


FRIDAY, MARCH 19, 1943

Dearest Kitty,

In less than an hour, joy was followed by disappointment. Turkey hasn't entered the war yet. It was only a cabinet minister talking about Turkey giving up its neutrality sometime soon. The newspaper vendor in Dam Square was shouting "Turkey on England's side!" and the papers were being snatched out of his hands. This was how we'd heard the encouraging rumor.

Thousand-guilder notes are being declared invalid. That'll be a blow to the black marketeers and others like them, but even more to people in hiding and anyone else with money that can't be accounted for. To turn in a thousand-guilder bill, you have to be able to state how you came by it and provide proof. They can still be used to pay taxes, but only until next week. The five-hundred notes will lapse at the same time. Gies & Co. still had some unaccounted-for thousand-guilder bills, which they used to pay their estimated taxes for the coming years, so everything seems to be aboveboard.

Dussel has received an old-fashioned, foot-operated dentist's drill. That means I'll probably be getting a thorough checkup soon.

Dussel is terribly lax when it comes to obeying the rules of the house. Not only does he write letters to his Charlotte, he's also carrying on a chatty correspondence with various other people. Margot, the Annex's Dutch teacher, has been correcting these letters for him. Father has forbidden him to keep up the practice and Margot has stopped correcting the letters, but I think it won't be long before he starts up again. The Fuhrer has been talking to wounded soldiers. We listened on the radio, and it was pathetic. The questions and answers went something like this:

"My name is Heinrich Scheppel."

"Where were you wounded?"

"Near Stalingrad."

"What kind of wound is it?"

"Two frostbitten feet and a fracture of the left arm."

This is an exact report of the hideous puppet show aired on the radio. The wounded seemed proud of their wounds -- the more the better. One was so beside himself at the thought of shaking hands (I presume he still had one) with the Fuhrer that he could barely say a word.

I happened to drop Dussel's soap on the floor and step on it. Now there's a whole piece missing. I've already asked Father to compensate him for the damages, especially since Dussel only gets one bar of inferior wartime soap a month.

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

Mother, Father, Margot and I were sitting quite pleasantly together last night when Peter suddenly came in and whispered in Father's ear. I caught the words "a barrel falling over in the warehouse" and "someone fiddling with the door."

Margot heard it too, but was trying to calm me down, since I'd turned white as chalk and was extremely nervous. The three of us waited while Father and Peter went downstairs. A minute or two later Mrs. van Daan came up from where she'd been listening to the radio and told us that Pim had asked her to turn it off and tiptoe upstairs. But you know what happens when you're trying to be quiet -- the old stairs creaked twice as loud. Five minutes later Peter and Pim, the color drained from their faces, appeared again to relate their experiences.

They had positioned themselves under the staircase and waited. Nothing happened.

Then all of a sudden they heard a couple of bangs, as if two doors had been slammed shut inside the house. Pim bounded up the stairs, while Peter went to warn Dussel, who finally presented himself upstairs, though not without kicking up a fuss and making a lot of noise. Then we all tiptoed in our stockinged feet to the van Daans on the next floor. Mr. van D. had a bad cold and had already gone to bed, so we gathered around his bedside and discussed our suspicions in a whisper. Every time Mr. van D. coughed loudly, Mrs. van D. and I nearly had a nervous fit. He kept coughing until someone came up with the bright idea of giving him codeine. His cough subsided immediately.

Once again we waited and waited, but heard nothing. Finally we came to the conclusion that the burglars had taken to their heels when they heard footsteps in an otherwise quiet building. The problem now was that the chairs in the private office were neatly grouped around the radio, which was tuned to England. If the burglars had forced the door and the air-raid wardens were to notice it and call the police, there could be very serious repercussions. So Mr. van Daan got up, pulled on his coat and pants, put on his hat and cautiously followed Father down the stairs, with Peter (armed with a heavy hammer, to be on the safe side) right behind him. The ladies (including Margot and me) waited in suspense until the men returned five minutes later and reported that there was no sign of any activity in the building. We agreed not to run any water or flush the toilet; but since everyone's stomach was churning from all the tension, you can imagine the stench after we'd each had a turn in the bathroom.

Incidents like these are always accompanied by other disasters, and this was no exception. Number one: the Westertoren bells stopped chiming, and I'd always found them so comforting. Number two: Mr. Voskuijlleft early last night, and we weren't sure if he'd given Bep the key and she'd forgotten to lock the door. But that was of little importance now. The night had just begun, and we still weren't sure what to expect. We were somewhat reassured by the fact that between eight-fifteen -- when the burglar had first entered the building and put our lives in jeopardy, and ten-thirty, we hadn't heard a sound. The more we thought about it, the less likely it seemed that a burglar would have forced a door so early in the evening, when there were still people out on the streets. Besides that, it occurred to us that the warehouse manager at the Keg Company next door might still have been at work. What with the excitement and the thin walls, it's easy to mistake the sounds. Besides, your imagination often plays tricks on you in moments of danger. So we went to bed, though not to sleep. Father and Mother and Mr. Dussel were awake most of the night, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that I hardly got a wink of sleep. This morning the men went downstairs to see if the outside door was still locked, but all was well!

Of course, we gave the entire office staff a blow-by-blow account of the incident, which had been far from pleasant. It's much easier to laugh at these kinds of things after they've happened, and Bep was the only one who took us seriously.

Yours, Anne

PS. This morning the toilet was clogged, and Father had to stick in a long wooden pole and fish out several pounds of excrement and strawberry recipes (which is what we use for toilet paper these days). Afterward we burned the pole.



Dearest Kitty,

We've finished our shorthand course and are now working on improving our speed. Aren't we smart! Let me tell you more about my "time killers" (this is what I call my courses, because all we ever do is try to make the days go by as quickly as possible so we are that much closer to the end of our time here). I adore mythology, especially the Greek and Roman gods. Everyone here thinks my interest is just a passing fancy, since they've never heard of a teenager with an appreciation of mythology. Well then, I guess I'm the first!

Mr. van Daan has a cold. Or rather, he has a scratchy throat, but he's making an enormous to-do over it. He gargles with chamomile tea, coats the roof of his mouth with a tincture of myrrh and rubs Mentholatum over his chest, nose, gums and tongue.

And to top it off, he's in a foul mood!

Rauter, some German bigwig, recently gave a speech. "All Jews must be out of the German-occupied territories before July 1. The province of Utrecht will be cleansed of Jews [as if they were cockroaches] between April 1 and May 1, and the provinces of North and South Holland between May 1 and June 1." These poor people are being shipped off to filthy slaughterhouses like a herd of sick and neglected cattle. But I'll say no more on the subject. My own thoughts give me nightmares!

One good piece of news is that the Labor Exchange was set on fire in an act of sabotage. A few days later the County Clerk's Office also went up in flames. Men posing as German police bound and gagged the guards and managed to destroy some important documents.

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

I'm not really in the mood for pranks (see the date).

On the contrary, today I can safely quote the saying" Misfortunes never come singly." First, Mr. Kleiman, our merry sunshine, had another bout of gastrointestinal hemorrhaging yesterday and will have to stay in bed for at least three weeks. I should tell you that his stomach has been bothering him quite a bit, and there's no cure. Second, Bep has the flu. Third, Mr. Voskuijl has to go to the hospital next week. He probably has an ulcer and will have to undergo surgery. Fourth, the managers of Pomosin Industries came from Frankfurt to discuss the new Opekta deliveries. Father had gone yet the important points with Mr. Kleiman, and there wasn't enough time to give Mr. Kugler a thorough briefing.

The gentlemen arrived from Frankfurt, and Father was already shaking at the thought of how the talks would go. "If only I could be there, if only I were downstairs," he exclaimed.

"Go lie down with your ear to the floor. They'll be brought to the private office, and you'll be able to hear everything.'

Father's face cleared, and yesterday morning at ten-thirty Margot and Pim (two ears are better than one) took up their posts on the floor. By noon the talks weren't finished, but Father was in no shape to continue his listening campaign. He was in agony from having to lie for hours in such an unusual and uncomfortable position. At two-thirty we heard voices in the hall, and I took his place; Margot kept me company. The conversation was so long-winded and boring that I suddenly fell asleep on the cold, hard linoleum. Margot didn't dare touch me for fear they'd hear us, and of course she couldn't shout. I slept for a good half hour and then awoke with a start, having forgotten every word of the important discussion. Luckily, Margot had paid more attention.

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

Oh my, another item has been added to my list of sins. Last night~ was lying in bed, waiting for Father to tuck me in and say my prayers with me, when Mother came into the room, sat on my bed and asked very gently, "Anne, Daddy isn't ready. How about if I listen to your prayers tonight?"

"No, Momsy," I replied.

Mother got up, stood beside my bed for a moment and then slowly walked toward the door. Suddenly she turned, her face contorted with pain, and said, "I don't want to be angry with you. I can't make you love me!" A few tears slid down her cheeks as she went out the door.

I lay still, thinking how mean it was of me to reject her so cruelly, but I also knew that I was incapable of answering her any other way. I can't be a hypocrite and pray with her when I don't feel like it. It just doesn't work that way. I felt sorry for Mother -- very, very sorry -- because for the first time in my life I noticed she wasn't indifferent to my coldness. I saw the sorrow in her face when she talked about not being able to make me love her. It's hard to tell the truth, and yet the truth is that she's the one who's rejected me. She's the one whose tactless comments and cruel jokes about matters I don't think are funny have made me insensitive to any sign of love on her part. Just as my heart sinks every time I hear her harsh words, that's how her heart sank when she realized there was no more love between us. She cried half the night and didn't get any sleep. Father has avoided looking at me, and if his eyes do happen to cross mine, I can read his unspoken words: "How can you be so unkind? How dare you make your mother so sad!"

Everyone expects me to apologize, but this is not something I can apologize for, because I told the truth, and sooner or later Mothjr was bound to find out anyway. I seem to be indifferent to Mother's tears and Father's glances, and I am, because both of them are now feeling what I've always felt. I can only feel sorry for Mother, who will have to figure out what her attitude should be all by herself. For my part, I will continue to remain silent and aloof, and I don't intend to shrink from the truth, because the longer it's postponed, the harder it will be for them to accept it when they do hear it!

Yours, Anne