Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, chapter name JULY 19 - NOVEMBER 17, 1943

JULY 19 - NOVEMBER 17, 1943

MONDAY, JULY 19, 1943

Dearest Kitty,

North Amsterdam was very heavily bombed on Sunday. There was apparently a great deal of destruction. Entire streets are in ruins, and it will take a while for them to dig out all the bodies. So far there have been two hundred dead and countless wounded; the hospitals are bursting at the seams. We've been told of children searching forlornly in the smoldering ruins for their dead parents. It still makes me shiver to think of the dull, distant drone that signified the approaching destruction.


FRIDAY, JULY 23, 1943

Bep is currently able to get hold of notebooks, especially journals and ledgers, useful for my bookkeeping sister! Other kinds are for sale as well, but don't ask what they're like or how long they'll last. At the moment \ they're all labeled "No Coupons Needed!" Like everything else you can purchase without ration stamps, they're totally worthless. They consist of twelve sheets of gray I paper with narrow lines that slant across the page. Margot is thinking about taking a course in calligraphy; I've advised her to go ahead and do it. Mother won't let me because of my eyes, but I think that's silly. Whether I do that or something else, it all comes down to the same thing. Since you've never been through a war, Kitty, and since you know very little about life in hiding, in spite of my letters, let me tell you, just for fun, what we each want to do first when we're able to go outside again.

Margot and Mr. van Daan wish, above all else, to have a hot bath, filled to the brim, which they can lie in for more than half an hour. Mrs. van Daan would like a cake, Dussel can think of nothing but seeing his Charlotte, and Mother is dying for a cup of real coffee. Father would like to visit Mr. Voskuijl, Peter would go downtown, and as for me, I'd be so overjoyed I wouldn't know where to begin.

Most of all I long to have a home of our own, to be able to move around freely and have someone help me with my homework again, at last. In other words, to go back to school!

Bep has offered to get us some fruit, at so-called bargain prices: grapes 2.50 guilders a pound, gooseberries 70 cents a pound, one peach 50 cents, melons 75 cents a pound. No wonder the papers write every evening in big, fat letters: "Keep Prices Down!"


MONDAY, JULY 26, 1943

Dear Kitty,

Yesterday was a very tumultuous day, and we're still all wound up. Actually, you may wonder if there's ever a day that passes without some kind of excitement.

The first warning siren went off in the morning while we were at breakfast, but we paid no attention, because it only meant that the planes were crossing the coast. I had a terrible headache, so I lay down for an hour after breakfast and then went to the office at around two.

At two-thirty Margot had finished her office work and was just gathering her things together when the sirens began wailing again. So she and I trooped back upstairs. None too soon, it seems, for less than five minutes later the guns were booming so loudly that we went and stood in the hall. The house shook and the bombs kept falling. I was clutching my "escape bag," more because I wanted to have something to hold on to than because I wanted to run away. I know we can't leave here, but if we had to, being seen on the streets would be just as dangerous as getting caught in an air raid. After half an hour the drone of engines faded and the house began to hum with activity again. Peter emerged from his lookout post in the front attic, Dussel remained in the front office, Mrs. van D. felt safest in the private office, Mr. van Daan had been watching from the loft, and those of us on the landing spread out to watch the columns of smoke rising from the harbor. Before long the smell of fire was everywhere, and outside it looked as if the city were enveloped in a thick fog. A big fire like that is not a pleasant sight, but fortunately for us it was all over, and we went back to our various chores. Just as we were starting dinner: another air-raid alarm. The food was good, but I lost my appetite the moment I heard the siren. Nothing happened, however, and forty-five minutes later the all clear was sounded. After the dishes had been washed: another air-raid warning, gunfire and swarms of planes. "Oh, gosh, twice in one day," we thought, "that's twice in one day," we thought, "that's twice too many." Little good that did us, because once again the bombs rained down, this time on the others of the city. According to British reports, Schiphol Airport was bombed. The planes dived and climbed, the air was abuzz with the drone of engines. It was very scary, and the whole time I kept thinking, "Here it comes, this is it."

I can assure you that when I went to bed at nine, my legs were still shaking. At the stroke of midnight I woke up again: more planes! Dussel was undressing, but I took no notice and leapt up, wide awake, at the sound of the first shot. I stayed in Father's bed until one, in my own bed until one-thirty, and was back in Father's bed at two. But the planes kept on coming. At last they stopped firing and I was able to go back "home" again. I finally fell asleep at half past two.

Seven o'clock. I awoke with a start and sat up in bed. Mr. van Daan was with Father. My first thought was: burglars. "Everything," I heard Mr. van Daan say, and I thought everything had been stolen. But no, this time it was wonderful news, the best we've had in months, maybe even since the war began. Mussolini has resigned and the King of Italy has taken over the government.

We jumped for joy. After the awful events of yesterday, finally something good happens and brings us . . . hope! Hope for an end to the war, hope for peace. Mr. Kugler dropped by and told us that the Fokker aircraft factory had been hit hard. Meanwhile, there was another air-raid alarm this morning, with planes flying over, and another warning siren. I've had it up to here with alarms. I've hardly slept, and the last thing I want to do is work. But now the suspense about Italy and the hope that the war will be over by the end of the year are keeping us awake. .

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

Mrs. van Daan, Dussel and I were doing the dishes, and I was extremely quiet. This is very unusual for me and they were sure to notice, so in order to avoid any questions, I quickly racked my brains for a neutral topic. I thought the book Henry from Across the Street might fit the bill, but I couldn't have been more wrong; if Mrs. van Daan doesn't jump down my throat, Mr. Dussel does. It all boiled down to this: Mr. Dussel had recommended the book to Margot and me as an example of excellent writing. We thought it was anything but that. The little boy had been portrayed well, but as for the rest . . . the less said the better. I mentioned something to that effect while we were doing the dishes, and Dussel launched into a veritable tirade.

"How can you possibly understand the psychology of a man? That of a child isn't so difficult [!]. But you're far too young to read a book like that. Even a twenty-year-old man would be unable to comprehend it." (So why did he go out of his way to recommend it to Margot and me?)

Mrs. van D. and Dussel continued their harangue: "You know way too much about things you're not supposed to. You've been brought up all wrong. Later on, when you're older, you won't be able to enjoy anything anymore. You'll say, 'Oh, I read that twenty years ago in some book.' You'd better hurry if you want to catch a husband or fall in love, since everything is bound to be a disappointment to you. You already know all there is to know in theory. But in practice? That's another story!" Can you imagine how I felt? I astonished myself by calmly replying, "You may think I haven't been raised properly, but many people would disagree!"

They apparently believe that good child-rearing includes trying to pit me against my parents, since that's all they ever do. And not telling a girl my age about grown-up subjects is fine. We can all see what happens when people are raised that way. At that moment I could have slapped them both for poking fun at me. I was beside myself with rage, and if I only knew how much longer we had to put up with each other's company, I'd start counting the days.

Mrs. van Daan's a fine one to talk! She sets an example all right -- a bad one!

She's known to be exceedingly pushy, egotistical, cunning, calculating and perpetually dissatisfied. Add to that, vanity and coquettishness and there's no question about it: she's a thoroughly despicable person. I could write an entire book about Madame van Daan, and who knows, maybe someday I will. Anyone can put on a charming exterior when they want to. Mrs. van D. is friendly to strangers, especially men, so it's easy to make a mistake when you first get to know her.

Mother thinks that Mrs. van D. is too stupid for words, Margot that she's too unimportant, Pim that she's too ugly (literally and figuratively!), and after long observation (I'm never prejudiced at the beginning), I've come to the conclusion that she's all three of the above, and lots more besides. She has so many bad traits, why should I single out just one of them?

Yours, Anne

P.S. Will the reader please take into consideration that this story was written before the writer's fury had cooled?



Dearest Kitty,

Things are going well on the political front. Italy has banned the Fascist Party. The people are fighting the Fascists in many places -- even the army has joined the fight. How can a country like that continue to wage war against England? Our beautiful radio was taken away last week. Dussel was very angry at Mr. Kugler for turning it in on the appointed day. Dussel is slipping lower and lower in my estimation, and he's already below zero. Whatever he says about politics, history, geography or anything else is so ridiculous that I hardly dare repeat it: Hitler will fade from history; the harbor in Rotterdam is bigger than the one in Hamburg; the English are idiots for not taking the opportunity to bomb Italy to smithereens; etc., etc. We just had a third air raid. I decided to grit my teeth and practice being courageous. Mrs. van Daan, the one who always said "Let them fall" and "Better to end with a bang than not to end at all," is the most cowardly one among us. She was shaking like a leaf this morning and even burst into tears. She was comforted by her husband, with whom she recently declared a truce after a week of squabbling; I nearly got sentimental at the sight.

Mouschi has now proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that having a cat has disadvantages as well as advantages. The whole house is crawling with fleas, and it's getting worse each day. Mr. Kleiman sprinkled yellow powder in every nook and cranny, but the fleas haven't taken the slightest notice. It's making us all very jittery; we're forever imagining a bite on our arms and legs or other parts of our bodies, so we leap up and do a few exercises, since it gives us an excuse to take a better look at our arms or necks. But now we're paying the price for having had so little physical exercise; we're so stiff we can hardly turn our heads. The real calisthenics fell by the wayside long ago.

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

Now that we've been in hiding for a little over a year, you know a great deal about our lives. Still, I can't possibly tell you everything, since it's all so different compared to ordinary times and ordinary people. Nevertheless, to give you a closer look into our lives, from time to time I'll describe part of an ordinary day. I'll start with the evening and night.

Nine in the evening. Bedtime always begins in the Annex with an enormous hustle and bustle. Chairs are shifted, beds pulled out, blankets unfolded -- nothing stays where it is during the daytime. I sleep on a small divan, which is only five feet long, so we have to add a few chairs to make it longer. Comforter, sheets, pillows, blankets: everything has to be removed from Dussel's bed, where it's kept during the day. In the next room there's a terrible creaking: that's Margot's folding bed being set up. More blankets and pillows, anything to make the wooden slats a bit more comfortable. Upstairs it sounds like thunder, but it's only Mrs. van D.'s bed being shoved against the window so that Her Majesty, arrayed in her pink bed jacket, can sniff the night air through her delicate little nostrils.

Nine o'clock. After Peter's finished, it's my turn for the bathroom. I wash myself from head to toe, and more often than not I find a tiny flea floating in the sink (only during the hot months, weeks or days). I brush my teeth, curl my hair, manicure my nails and dab peroxide on my upper lip to bleach the black hairs -- all this in less than half an hour.

Nine-thirty. I throw on my bathrobe. With soap in one hand, and potty, hairpins, panties, curlers and a wad of cotton in the other, I hurry out of the bathroom. The next in line invariably calls me back to remove the gracefully curved but unsightly hairs that I've left in the sink.

Ten o'clock. Time to put up the blackout screen and say good-night. For the next fifteen minutes, at least, the house is filled with the creaking of beds and the sigh of broken springs, and then, provided our upstairs neighbors aren't having a marital spat in bed, all is quiet.

Eleven-thirty. The bathroom door creaks. A narrow strip of light falls into the room. Squeaking shoes, a large coat, even larger than the man inside it . . . Dussel is returning from his nightly work in Mr. Kugler's office. I hear him shuffling back and forth for ten whole minutes, the rustle of paper (from the food he's tucking away in his cupboard) and the bed being made up. Then the figure disappears again, and the only sound is the occasional suspicious noise from the bathroom.

Approximately three o'clock. I have to get up to use the tin can under my bed, which, to be on the safe side, has a rubber mat underneath in case of leaks. I always hold my breath while I go, since it clatters into the can like a brook down a mountainside. The potty is returned to its place, and the figure in the white nightgown (the one that causes Margot to exclaim every evening, "Oh, that indecent nighty!") climbs back into bed. A certain somebody lies awake for about fifteen minutes, listening to the sounds of the night. In the first place, to hear whether there are any burglars downstairs, and then to the various beds -- upstairs, next door and in my room -- to tell whether the others are asleep or half awake. This is no fun, especially when it concerns a member of the family named Dr. Dussel. First, there's the sound of a fish gasping for air, and this is repeated nine or ten times. Then, the lips are moistened profusely. This is alternated with little smacking sounds, followed by a long period of tossing and turning and rearranging the pillows. After five minutes of perfect quiet, the same sequence repeats itself three more times, after which he's presumably lulled himself back to sleep for a while.

Sometimes the guns go off during the night, between one and four. I'm never aware of it before it happens, but all of a sudden I find myself standing beside my bed, out of sheer habit. Occasionally I'm dreaming so deeply (of irregular French verbs or a quarrel upstairs) that I realize only when my dream is over that the shooting has stopped and that I've remained quietly in my room. But usually I wake up. Then I grab a pillow and a handkerchief, throw on my robe and slippers and dash next door to Father, just the way Margot described in this birthday poem:

When shots rino out in the dark of night,

The door creaks open and into sight

Come a hanky, a pillow, a figure in white. . .

Once I've reached the big bed, the worst is over, except when the shooting is extra loud.

Six forty-five. Brrring . . . the alarm clock, which raises its shrill voice at any hour of the day or night, whether you want it to or not. Creak . . . wham. . . Mrs. van D. turns it off. Screak . . . Mr. van D. gets up, puts on the water and races to the bathroom.

Seven-fifteen. The door creaks again. Dussel can go to the bathroom. Alone at last, I remove the blackout screen . . . and a new day begins in the Annex.

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

Today let's talk about the lunch break.

It's twelve-thirty. The whole gang breathes a sigh of relief: Mr. van Maaren, the man with the shady past, and

Mr. de Kok have gone home for lunch.

Upstairs you can hear the thud of the vacuum cleaner on Mrs. van D.'s beautiful and only rug. Margot tucks a few books under her arm and heads for the class for "slow learners," which is what Dussel seems to be. Pim goes and sits in a corner with his constant companion, Dickens, in hopes of finding a bit of peace and quiet. Mother hastens upstairs to help the busy little housewife, and I tidy up both the bathroom and myself at the same time.

Twelve forty-five. One by one they trickle in: first Mr. Gies and then either Mr. Kleiman or Mr. Kugler, followed by Bep and sometimes even Miep.

One. Clustered around the radio, they all listen raptly to the BBC. This is the only time the members of the Annex family don't interrupt each other, since even Mr. van Daan can't argue with the speaker.

One-fifteen. Food distribution. Everyone from downstairs gets a cup of soup, plus dessert, if there happens to be any. A contented Mr. Gies sits on the divan or leans against the desk with his newspaper, cup and usually the cat at his side. If one of the three is missing, he doesn't hesitate to let his protest be heard. Mr. Kleiman relates the latest news from town, and he's an excellent source. Mr. Kugler hurries up the stairs, gives a short but solid knock on the door and comes in either wringing his hands or rubbing them in glee, depending on whether he's quiet and in a bad mood or talkative and in a good mood.

One forty-five. Everyone rises from the table and goes about their business. Margot and Mother do the dishes, Mr. and Mrs. van D. head for the divan, Peter for the attic, Father for his divan, Dussel too, and Anne does her homework.

What comes next is the quietest hour of the day; when they're all asleep, there are no disturbances. To judge by his face, Dussel is dreaming of food. But I don't look at him long, because the time whizzes by and before you know it, it'll be 4 P.M. and the pedantic Dr. Dussel will be standing with the clock in his hand because I'm one minute ,late clearing off the table.

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

A few weeks ago I started writing a story, something I made up from beginning to end, and I've enjoyed it so much that the products of my pen are piling up.

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

We now continue with a typical day in the Annex. Since we've already had lunch, it's time to describe dinner.

Mr. van Daan. Is served first, and takes a generous portion of whatever he likes.

Usually joins in the conversation, never fails to give his opinion. Once he's spoken, his word is final. If anyone dares to suggest otherwise, Mr. van D. can put up a good fight. Oh, he can hiss like a cat . . . but I'd rather he didn't. Once you've seen it, you never want to see it again. His opinion is the best, he knows the most about everything. Granted, the man has a good head on his shoulders, but it's swelled to no small degree.

Madame. Actually, the best thing would be to say nothing. Some days, especially when a foul mood is on the way, her face is hard to read. If you analyze the discussions, you realize she's not the subject, but the guilty party! A fact everyone prefers to ignore. Even so, you could call her the instigator. Stirring up trouble, now that's what Mrs. van Daan calls fun. Stirring up trouble between Mrs. Frank and Anne. Margot and Mr. Frank aren’t quite as easy.

But let's return to the table. Mrs. van D. may think she doesn't always get enough, but that's not the case. The choicest potatoes, the tastiest morsel, the tenderest bit of whatever there is, that's Madame's motto. The others can all have their turn, as long as I get the best. (Exactly what she accuses Anne Frank of doing) Her second watchword is: keep talking. As long as somebody's listening, it doesn't seem to occur to her to wonder whether they're interested. She must think that whatever Mrs. van Daan says will interest everyone.

Smile coquettishly, pretend you know everything, offer everyone a piece of advice and mother them -- that's sure to make a good impression. But if you take a better look, the good impression fades. One, she's hardworking; two, cheerful; three, coquettish and sometimes a cute face. That's Petronella van Daan.

The third diner. Says very little. Young Mr. van Daan is usually quiet and hardly makes his presence known. As far as his appetite is concerned, he's a Danaldean vessel that never gets full. Even after the most substantial meal, he can look you calmly in the eye and claim he could have eaten twice as much. Number four -- Margot. Eats like a bird and doesn't talk at all. She eats only vegetables and fruit. "Spoiled," in the opinion of the van Daans. "Too little exercise and fresh air," in ours.

Beside her -- Mama. Has a hearty appetite, does her share of the talking. No one has the impression, as they do with Mrs. van Daan, that this is a housewife. What's the difference between the two? Well, Mrs. van D. does the cooking and Mother does the dishes and polishes the furniture.

Numbers six and seven. I won't say much about Father and me. The former is the most modest person at the table. He always looks to see whether the others have been served first. He needs nothing for himself; the best things are for the children. He's goodness personified. Seated next to him is the Annex's little bundle of nerves. Dussel. Help yourself, keep your eyes on the food, eat and don't talk. And if you have to say something, then for goodness' sake talk about food. That doesn't lead to quarrels, just to bragging. He consumes enormous portions, and "no" is not part of his vocabulary, whether the food is good or bad.

Pants that come up to his chest, a red jacket, black patent-leather slippers and horn-rimmed glasses -- that's how he looks when he's at work at the little table, always studying and never progressing. This is interrupted only by his afternoon nap, food and -- his favorite spot -- the bathroom. Three, four or five times a day there's bound to be someone waiting outside the bathroom door, hopping impatiently from one foot to another, trying to hold it in and barely managing. Does Dussel care? Not a whit. From seven-fifteen to seven-thirty, from twelve-thirty to one, from two to two-fifteen, from four to four-fifteen, from six to six-fifteen, from eleven-thirty to twelve. You can set your watch by them; these are the times for his "regular sessions." He never deviates or lets himself be swayed by the voices outside the door, begging him to open up before a disaster occurs.

Number nine is not part of our Annex family, although she does share our house and table. Hep has a healthy appetite. She cleans her plate and isn't choosy. Hep's easy to please and that pleases us. She can be characterized as follows: cheerful, good-humored, kind and willing.



Dearest Kitty,

A new idea: during meals I talk more to myself than to the others, which has two advantages. First, they're glad they don't have to listen to my continuous chatter, and second, I don't have to get annoyed by their opinions. I don't think my opinions are stupid but other people do, so it's better to keep them to myself. I apply the same tactic when I have to eat something I loathe. I put the dish in front of me, pretend it's delicious, avoid looking at it as much as possible, and it's gone before I've had time to realize what it is. When I get up in the morning, another very disagreeable moment, I leap out of bed, think to myself, "You'll be slipping back under the covers soon," walk to the window, take down the blackout screen, sniff at the crack until I feel a bit of fresh air, and I'm awake. I strip the bed as fast as I can so I won't be tempted to get back in. Do you know what Mother calls this sort of thing? The art of living. Isn't that a funny expression?

We've all been a little confused this past week because our dearly beloved Westertoren bells have been carted off to be melted down for the war, so we have no idea of the exact time, either night or day. I still have hopes that they'll come up with a substitute, made of tin or copper or some such thing, to remind the neighborhood of the clock.

Everywhere I go, upstairs or down, they all cast admiring glances at my feet, which are adorned by a pair of exceptionally beautiful (for times like these!) shoes. Miep managed to snap them up for 27.50 guilders. Burgundy-colored suede and leather with medium-sized high heels. I feel as if I were on stilts, and look even taller than I already am.

Yesterday was my unlucky day. I pricked my right thumb with the blunt end of a big needle. As a result, Margot had to peel potatoes for me (take the good with the bad), and writing was awkward. Then I bumped into the cupboard door so hard it nearly knocked me over, and was scolded for making such a racket. They wouldn't let me run water to bathe my forehead, so now I'm walking around with a giant lump over my right eye. To make matters worse, the little toe on my right foot got stuck in the vacuum cleaner. It bled and hurt, but my other ailments were already causing me so much trouble that I let this one slide, which was stupid of me, because now I'm walking around with an infected toe. What with the salve, the gauze and the tape, I can't get my heavenly new shoe on my foot.

Dussel has put us in danger for the umpteenth time. He actually had Miep bring him a book, an anti-Mussolini tirade, which has been banned. On the way here she was knocked down by an SS motorcycle. She lost her head and shouted "You brutes!" and went on her way. I don't dare think what would have happened if she'd been taken down to headquarters.

Yours, Anne

A Daily Chore in Our Little Community: Peeling Potatoes!

One person goes to get some newspapers; another, the knives (keeping the best for himself, of course); the third, the potatoes; and the fourth, the water.

Mr. Dussel begins. He may not always peel them very well, but he does peel nonstop, glancing left and right to see if everyone is doing it the way he does. No, they're not!

"Look, Anne, I am taking peeler in my hand like so and going from the top to bottom! Nein, not so . . . but so!"

"I think my way is easier, Mr. Dussel," I say tentatively.

"But this is best way, Anne. This you can take from me. Of course, it is no matter, you do the way you want."

We go on peeling. I glance at Dussel out of the corner of my eye. Lost in thought, he shakes his head (over me, no doubt), but says no more.

I keep on peeling. Then I look at Father, on the other side of me. To Father, peeling potatoes is not a chore, but precision work. When he reads, he has a deep wrinkle in the back of his head. But when he's preparing potatoes, beans or vegetables, he seems to be totally absorbed in his task. He puts on his potato-peeling face, and when it's set in that particular way, it would be impossible for him to turn out anything less than a perfectly peeled potato.

I keep on working. I glance up for a second, but that's all the time I need. Mrs. van D. is trying to attract Dussel's attention. She starts by looking in his direction, but Dussel pretends not to notice. She winks, but Dussel goes on peeling. She laughs, but Dussel still doesn't look up. Then Mother laughs too, but Dussel pays them no mind. Having failed to achieve her goal, Mrs. van D. is obliged to change tactics. There's a brief silence. Then she says, "Putti, why don't you put on an apron? Otherwise, I'll have to spend all day tomorrow trying to get the spots out of your suit!"

"I'm not getting it dirty."

Another brief silence. "Putti, why don't you sit down?'

"I'm fine this way. I like standing up!"


"Putti, look out, now you're splashing!”

"I know, Mommy, but I'm being careful."

Mrs. van D. casts about for another topic. "Tell me, Putti, why aren't the British carrying out any bombing raids today?"

"Because the weather's bad, Kerli!"

"But yesterday it was such nice weather and they weren't flying then either."

"Let's drop the subject."

"Why? Can't a person talk about that or offer an opinion?'

"Well, why in the world not?"

"Oh, be quiet, Mammichen!"

"Mr. Frank always answers his wife."

Mr. van D. is trying to control himself. This remark always rubs him the wrong way, but Mrs. van D.'s not one to quit: "Oh, there's never going to be an invasion!"

Mr. van D. turns white, and when she notices it, Mrs. van D. turns red, but she's not about to be deterred: "The British aren't doing a thing!"

The bomb bursts. "And now shut up, for crying out loud!"

Mother can barely stifle a laugh, and I stare straight ahead.

Scenes like these are repeated almost daily, unless they've just had a terrible fight. In that case, neither Mr. nor Mrs. van D. says a word.

It's time for me to get some more potatoes. I go up to the attic, where Peter is busy picking fleas from the cat.

He looks up, the cat notices it, and whoosh. . . he's gone. Out the window and into the rain gutter.

Peter swears; I laugh and slip out of the room.

Freedom in the Annex

Five-thirty. Bep's arrival signals the beginning of our nightly freedom. Things get going right away. I go upstairs with Bep, who usually has her dessert before the rest of us. The moment she sits down, Mrs. van D. begins stating her wishes. Her list usually starts with "Oh, by the way, Bep, something else I'd like. . ." Bep winks at me. Mrs. van D. doesn't miss a chance to make her wishes known to whoever comes upstairs. It must be one of the reasons none of them like to go up there.

Five forty-five. Bep leaves. I go down two floors to have a look around: first to the kitchen, then to the private office and then to the coal bin to open the cat door for Mouschi.

After a long tour of inspection, I wind up in Mr. Kugler's office. Mr. van Daan is combing all the drawers and files for today's mail. Peter picks up Boche and the warehouse key; Pim lugs the typewriters upstairs; Margot looks around for a quiet place to do her office work; Mrs. van D. puts a kettle of water on the stove; Mother comes down the stairs with a pan of potatoes; we all know our jobs.

Soon Peter comes back from the warehouse. The first question they ask him is whether he's remembered the bread. No, he hasn't. He crouches before the door to the front office to make himself as small as possible and crawls on his hands and knees to the steel cabinet, takes out the bread and starts to leave. At any rate, that's what he intends to do, but before he knows what's happened, Mouschi has jumped over him and gone to sit under the desk.

Peter looks all around him. Aha, there's the cat! He crawls back into the office and grabs the cat by the tail. Mouschi hisses, Peter sighs. What has he accomplished? Mouschi's now sitting by the window licking herself, very pleased at having escaped Peter's clutches. Peter has no choice but to lure her with a piece of bread. Mouschi takes the bait, follows him out, and the door closes.

I watch the entire scene through a crack in the door.

Mr. van Daan is angry and slams the door. Margot and I exchange looks and think the same thing: he must have worked himself into a rage again because of some blunder on Mr. Kugler's part, and he's forgotten all about the Keg Company next door. Another step is heard in the hallway. Dussel comes in, goes toward the window with an air of propriety, sniffs . . . coughs, sneezes and clears his throat. He's out of luck -- it was pepper. He continues on to the front office. The curtains are open, which means he can't get at his writing paper. He disappears with a scowl.

Margot and I exchange another glance. "One less page for his sweetheart tomorrow," I hear her say. I nod in agreement.

An elephant's tread is heard on the stairway. It's Dussel, seeking comfort in his favorite spot.

We continue working. Knock, knock, knock. . . Three taps means dinnertime!



When the clock strikes half past eight, Margot and Mother are nervous. "Shh . . . Father. Be quiet, Otto. Shh . . . Pim! It's eight-thirty.

Come here, you can't run the water anymore. Walk softly!" A sample of what's said to Father in the bathroom. At the stroke of half past eight, he has to be in the living room. No running water, no flushing toilet, no walking around, no noise whatsoever. As long as the office staff hasn't arrived, sounds travel more easily to the warehouse. The door opens upstairs at eight-twenty, and this is followed by three gentle taps on the floor. . . Anne's hot cereal. I clamber up the stairs to get my doggie dish. Back downstairs, everything has to be done quickly, quickly: I comb my hair, put away the potty, shove the bed back in place. Quiet! The clock is striking eight-thirty! Mrs. van D. changes shoes and shuffles through the room in her slippers; Mr. van D. too -- a veritable Charlie Chaplin. All is quiet.

The ideal family scene has now reached its high point. I want to read or study and Margot does too. Father and Mother ditto. Father is sitting (with Dickens and the dictionary, of course) on the edge of the sagging, squeaky bed, which doesn't even have a decent mattress. Two bolsters can be piled on top of each other. "I don't need these," he thinks. "I can manage without them!"

Once he starts reading, he doesn't look up. He laughs now and then and tries to get Mother to read a story.

"I don't have the time right now!"

He looks disappointed, but then continues to read.

A little while later, when he comes across another good passage, he tries again: "You have to read this, Mother!"

Mother sits on the folding bed, either reading, sewing, knitting or studying, whichever is next on her list. An idea suddenly occurs to her, and she quickly says, so as not to forget, "Anne, remember to . . . Margot, jot this down. . . "

After a while it's quiet again. Margot slams her book shut; Father knits his forehead, his eyebrows forming a funny curve and his wrinkle of concentration reappearing I at the back of his head, and he buries himself in his book 1 again; Mother starts chatting with Margot; and I get curious and listen too. Pim is drawn into the conversation . . .

Nine o'clock. Breakfast!



Dearest Kitty,

Every time I write to you, something special has happened, usually unpleasant rather than pleasant. This time, however, something wonderful is going on.

On Wednesday, September 8, we were listening to the seven o'clock news when we heard an announcement: "Here is some of the best news of the war so far: Italy has capitulated." Italy has unconditionally surrendered! The Dutch broadcast from England began at eight-fifteen with the news: "Listeners, an hour and fifteen minutes ago, just as I finished writing my daily report, we received the wonderful news of Italy's capitulation. I tell you, I never tossed my notes into the wastepaper basket with more delight than I did today!"

"God Save the King," the American national anthem and the Russian' 'Internationale" were played. As always, the Dutch program was uplifting without being too optimistic. The British have landed in Naples. Northern Italy is occupied by the Germans. The truce was signed on Friday, September 3, the day the British landed in Italy. The Germans are ranting and raving in all the newspapers at the treachery of Badoglio and the Italian king.

Still, there's bad news as well. It's about Mr. Kleiman. As you know, we all like him very much. He's unfailingly cheerful and amazingly brave, despite the fact that he's always sick and in pain and can't eat much or do a lot of walking. "When Mr. Kleiman enters a room, the sun begins to shine," Mother said recently, and she's absolutely right.

Now it seems he has to go to the hospital for a very difficult operation on his stomach, and will have to stay there for at least four weeks. You should have seen him when he told us good-bye. He acted so normally, as though he were just off to do an errand.

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

Relationships here in the Annex are getting worse all the time. We don't dare open our mouths at mealtime (except to slip in a bite of food), because no matter what we say, someone is bound to resent it or take it the wrong way. Mr. Voskuijl occasionally comes to visit us. Unfortunately, he's not doing very well. He isn't making it any easier for his family, because his attitude seems to be: what do I care, I'm going to die anyway! When I think how touchy everyone is here, I can just imagine what it must be like at the Voskuijls'.

I've been taking valerian every day to fight the anxiety and depression, but it doesn't stop me from being even more miserable the next day. A good hearty laugh would help better than ten valerian drops, but we've almost forgotten how to laugh. Sometimes I'm afraid my face is going to sag with all this sorrow and that my mouth is going to permanently droop at the corners. The others aren't doing any better. Everyone here is dreading the great terror known as winter.

Another fact that doesn't exactly brighten up our days is that Mr. van Maaren, the man who works in the warehouse, is getting suspicious about the Annex. A person with any brains must have noticed by now that Miep sometimes says she's going to the lab, Bep to the file room and Mr. Kleiman to the Opekta supplies, while Mr. Kugler claims the Annex doesn't belong to this building at all, but to the one next door.

We wouldn't care what Mr. van Maaren thought of the situation except that he's known to be unreliable and to possess a high degree of curiosity. He's not one who can be put off with a flimsy excuse.

One day Mr. Kugler wanted to be extra cautious, so at twenty past twelve he put on his coat and went to the drugstore around the corner. Less than five minutes later he was back, and he sneaked up the stairs like a thief to visit us. At one-fifteen he started to leave, but Bep met him on the landing and warned him that van Maaren was in the office. Mr. Kugler did an about-face and stayed with us until one-thirty. Then he took off his shoes and went in his stockinged feet (despite his cold) to the front attic and down the other stairway, taking one step at a time to avoid the creaks. It took him fifteen minutes to negotiate the stairs, but he wound up safely in the office after having entered from the outside.

In the meantime, Bep had gotten rid of van Maaren and come to get Mr. Kugler from the Annex. But he'd already left and at that moment was still tiptoeing down the stairs. What must the passersby have thought when they saw the manager putting on his shoes outside? Hey, you there, in the socks!

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

It's Mrs. van Daan's birthday. Other than one ration stamp each for cheese, meat and bread, all she received from us was a jar of jam. Her husband, Dussel and the office staff gave her nothing but flowers and also food. Such are the times we live in! Bep had a nervous fit last week because she had so many errands to do. Ten times a day people were sending her out for something, each time insisting she go right away or go again or that she'd done it all wrong. And when you think that she has her regular office work to do, that Mr. Kleiman is sick, that Miep is home with a cold and that Bep herself has a sprained ankle, boyfriend troubles and a grouchy father, it's no wonder she's at the end of her tether. We comforted her and told her that if she'd put her foot down once or twice and say she didn't have the time, the shopping lists would shrink of their own accord.

Saturday there was a big drama, the likes of which have never been seen here before. It started with a discussion of van Maaren and ended in a general argument and tears. Dussel complained to Mother that he was being treated like a leper, that no one was friendly to him and that, after all, he hadn't done anything to deserve it. This was followed by a lot of sweet talk, which luckily Mother didn't fall for this time. She told him we were disappointed in him and that, on more than one occasion, he'd been a source of great annoyance. Dussel promised her the moon, but, as usual, we haven't seen so much as a beam.

There's trouble brewing with the van Daans, I can tell! Father's furious because they're cheating us: they've been holding back meat and other things. Oh, what kind of bombshell is about to burst now? If only I weren't so involved in all these skirmishes! If only I could leave here! They're driving us crazy!

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

Mr. Kleiman is back, thank goodness! He looks a bit pale, and yet he cheerfully set off to sell some clothes for Mr. van Daan. The disagreeable fact is that Mr. van Daan has run out of money. He lost his last hundred guilders in the warehouse, which is still creating trouble for us: the men are wondering how a hundred guilders could wind up in the warehouse on a Monday morning. Suspicion abounds. Meanwhile, the hundred guilders have been stolen. Who's the thief?

But I was talking about the money shortage. Mrs. van D. has scads of dresses, coats and shoes, none of which she feels she can do without. Mr. van D.'s suit is difficult to sell, and Peter's bike was put on the block, but is back again, since nobody wanted it. But the story doesn't end there. You see, Mrs. van D. is going to have to part with her fur coat. In her opinion, the firm should pay for our upkeep, but that's ridiculous. They just had a flaming row about it and have entered the "oh, my sweet Putti" and "darling Kerli" stage of reconciliation.

My mind boggles at the profanity this honorable house has had to endure in the past month. Father walks around with his lips pressed together, and whenever he hears his name, he looks up in alarm, as if he's afraid he'll be called upon to resolve another delicate problem. Mother's so wrought up her cheeks are blotched with red, Margot complains of headaches, Dussel can't sleep, Mrs. van D. frets and fumes all day long, and I've gone completely round the bend. To tell you the truth, I sometimes forget who we're at odds with and who we're not. The only way to take my mind off it is to study, and I've been doing a lot of that lately.

Yours, Anne



My dearest Kitty,

Mr. Kleiman is out again; his stomach won't give him a moment's peace. He doesn't even know whether it's stopped bleeding. He came to tell us he wasn't feeling well and was going home, and for the first time he seemed really down.

Mr. and Mrs. van D. have had more raging battles. The reason is simple: they're broke. They wanted to sell an overcoat and a suit of Mr. van D.'s, but were unable to find any buyers. His prices were way too high.

Some time ago Mr. Kleiman was talking about a furrier he knows. This gave Mr. van D. the idea of selling his wife's fur coat. It's made of rabbit skin, and she's had it for seventeen years. Mrs. van D. got 325 guilders for it, an enormous amount. She wanted to keep the money herself to buy new clothes after the war, and it took some doing before Mr. van D. could make her understand that it was desperately needed to cover household expenses.

You can't imagine the screaming, shouting, stamping of feet and swearing that went on. It was terrifying. My family stood holding its breath at the bottom of the stairs, in case it might be necessary to drag them apart. All the bickering, tears and nervous tension have become such a stress and strain that I fall into my bed at night crying and thanking my lucky stars that I have half an hour to myself.

I'm doing fine, except I've got no appetite. I keep hearing: "Goodness, you look awful!" I must admit they're doing their best to keep me in condition: they're plying me with dextrose, cod-liver oil, brewer's yeast and calcium. My nerves often get the better of me, especially on Sundays; that's when I really feel miserable. The atmosphere is stifling, sluggish, leaden. Outside, you don't hear a single bird, and a deathly, oppressive silence hangs over the house and clings to me as if it were going to drag me into the deepest regions of the underworld. At times like these, Father, Mother and Margot don't matter to me in the least. I wander from room to room, climb up and down the stairs and feel like a songbird whose wings have been ripped off and who keeps hurling itself against the bars of its dark cage. "Let me out, where there's fresh air and laughter!" a voice within me cries. I don't even bother to reply anymore, but lie down on the divan. Sleep makes the silence and the terrible fear go by more quickly, helps pass the time, since it's impossible to kill it.

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

To take our minds off matters as well as to develop them, Father ordered a catalog from a correspondence school. Margot pored through the thick brochure three times without finding anything to her liking and within her budget. Father was easier to satisfy and decided to write and ask for a trial lesson in "Elementary Latin." No sooner said than done. The lesson arrived, Margot set to work enthusiastically and decided to take the course, despite the expense. It's much too hard for me, though I'd really like to learn Latin.

To give me a new project as well, Father asked Mr. Kleiman for a children's Bible so I could finally learn something about the New Testament.

"Are you planning to give Anne a Bible for Hanukkah?" Margot asked, somewhat perturbed.

"Yes. . . Well, maybe St. Nicholas Day would be a better occasion," Father replied.

Jesus and Hanukkah don't exactly go together.

Since the vacuum cleaner's broken, I have to take an old brush to the rug every night. The window's closed, the light's on, the stove's burning, and there I am brushing away at the rug. "That's sure to be a problem," I thought to myself the first time. "There're bound to be complaints." I was right: Mother got a headache from the thick clouds of dust whirling around the room, Margot's new Latin dictionary was caked with dirt, and rim grumbled that the floor didn't look any different anyway. Small thanks for my pains.

We've decided that from now on the stove is going to be lit at seven-thirty on Sunday mornings instead of five-thirty. I think it's risky. What will the neighbors think of our smoking chimney?

It's the same with the curtains. Ever since we first went into hiding, they've been tacked firmly to the windows. Sometimes one of the ladies or gentlemen can't resist the urge to peek outside. The result: a storm of reproaches. The response: "Oh, nobody will notice." That's how every act of carelessness begins and ends. No one will notice, no one will hear, no one will pay the least bit of attention. Easy to say, but is it true?

At the moment, the tempestuous quarrels have subsided; only Dussel and the van Daans are still at loggerheads. When Dussel is talking about Mrs. van D., he invariably calls her' 'that old bat" or "that stupid hag," and conversely, Mrs. van D. refers to our ever so learned gentleman as an "old maid" or a "touchy neurotic spinster, etc.

The pot calling the kettle black!

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

If you were to read all my letters in one sitting, you'd be struck by the fact that they were written in a variety of moods. It annoys me to be so dependent on the moods here in the Annex, but I'm not the only one: we're all subject to them. If I'm engrossed in a book, I have to rearrange my thoughts before I can mingle with other people, because otherwise they might think I was strange. As you can see, I'm currently in the middle of a depression. I couldn't really tell you what set it off, but I think it stems from my cowardice, which confronts me at every turn. This evening, when Bep was still here, the doorbell rang long and loud. I instantly turned white, my stomach churned, and my heart beat wildly -- and all because I was afraid. At night in bed I see myself alone in a dungeon, without Father and Mother. Or I'm roaming the streets, or the Annex is on fire, or they come in the middle of the night to take us away and I crawl under my bed in desperation. I see everything as if it were actually taking place. And to think it might all happen soon!

Miep often says she envies us because we have such peace and quiet here. That may be true, but she's obviously not thinking about our fear.

I simply can't imagine the world will ever be normal again for us. I do talk about "after the war," but it's as if I were talking about a castle in the air, something that can Ii never come true.

I see the eight of us in the Annex as if we were a patch of blue sky surrounded by menacing black clouds. The perfectly round spot on which we're standing is still safe, but the clouds are moving in on us, and the ring between us and the approaching danger is being pulled tighter and tighter. We're surrounded by darkness and danger, and in our desperate search for a way out we keep bumping into each other. We look at the fighting down below and the peace and beauty up above. In the meantime, we've been cut off by the dark mass of clouds, so that we can go neither up nor down. It looms before us like an impenetrable wall, trying to crush us, but not yet able to. I can only cry out and implore, "Oh, ring, ring, open wide and let us out!"

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

I have a good title for this chapter:

Ode to My Fountain Pen

In Memoriam

My fountain pen was always one of my most prized possessions; I valued it highly, especially because it had a thick nib, and I can only write neatly with thick nibs. It has led a long and interesting fountain-pen life, which I will summarize below. When I was nine, my fountain pen (packed in cotton) arrived as a "sample of no commercial value" all the way from Aachen, where my grandmother (the kindly donor) used to live. I lay in bed with the flu, while the February winds howled around the apartment house. This splendid fountain pen came in a red leather case, and I showed it to my girlfriends the first chance I got. Me, Anne Frank, the proud owner of a fountain pen.

When I was ten, I was allowed to take the pen to school, and to my surprise, the teacher even let me write with it. When I was eleven, however, my treasure had to be tucked away again, because my sixth-grade teacher allowed us to use only school pens and inkpots. When I was twelve, I started at the Jewish Lyceum and my fountain pen was given a new case in honor of the occasion. Not only did it have room for a pencil, it also had a zipper, which was much more impressive. When I was thirteen, the fountain pen went with me to the Annex, and together we've raced through countless diaries and compositions. I'd turned fourteen and my fountain pen was enjoying the last year of its life with me when . . .

It was just after five on Friday afternoon. I came out of my room and was about to sit down at the table to write when I was roughly pushed to one side to make room for Margot and Father, who wanted to practice their Latin. The fountain pen remained unused on the table, while its owner, sighing, was forced to make do with a very tiny corner of the table, where she began rubbing beans. That's how we remove mold from the beans and restore them to their original state. At a quarter to six I swept the floor, dumped the dirt into a newspaper, along with the rotten beans, and tossed it into the stove. A giant flame shot up, and I thought it was wonderful that the stove, which had been gasping its last breath, had made such a miraculous recovery. All was quiet again. The Latin students had left, and I sat down at the table to pick up where I'd left off. But no matter where I looked, my fountain pen was nowhere in sight. I took another look. Margot looked, Mother looked, Father looked, Dussel looked.

But it had vanished.

"Maybe it fell in the stove, along with the beans!" Margot suggested.

"No, it couldn't have!" I replied.

But that evening, when my fountain pen still hadn't turned up, we all assumed it had been burned, especially because celluloid is highly inflammable. Our darkest fears were confirmed the next day when Father went to empty the stove and discovered the clip, used to fasten it to a pocket, among the ashes. Not a trace of the gold nib was left.

"It must have melted into stone," Father conjectured.

I'm left with one consolation, small though it may be: my fountain pen was cremated, just as I would like to be someday!

Yours, Anne



Dearest Kitty,

Recent events have the house rocking on its foundations. Owing to an outbreak of diphtheria at Bep's, she won't be allowed to come in contact with us for six weeks. Without her, the cooking and shopping will be very difficult, not to mention how much we'll miss her company. Mr. Kleiman is still in bed and has eaten nothing but gruel for three weeks. Mr. Kugler is up to his neck in work.

Margot sends her Latin lessons to a teacher, who corrects and then returns them. She's registered under Bep's name. The teacher's very nice, and witty too. I bet he's glad to have such a smart student.

Dussel is in a turmoil and we don't know why. It all began with Dussel's saying nothing when he was upstairs; he didn't exchange so much as a word with either Mr. or Mrs. van Daan. We all noticed it. This went on for a few days, and then Mother took the opportunity to warn him about Mrs. van D., who could make life miserable for him. Dussel said Mr. van Daan had started the silent treatment and he had no intention of breaking it. I should explain that yesterday was November 16, the first anniversary of his living in the Annex. Mother received a plant in honor of the occasion, but Mrs. van Daan, who had alluded to the date for weeks and made no bones about the fact that she thought Dussel should treat us to dinner, received nothing. Instead of making use of the opportunity to thank us -- for the first time -- for unselfishly taking him in, he didn't utter a word. And on the morning of the sixteenth, when I asked him whether I should offer him my congratulations or my condolences, he replied that either one would do. Mother, having cast herself in the role of peacemaker, made no headway whatsoever, and the situation finally ended in a draw.

I can say without exaggeration that Dussel has definitely got a screw loose. We often laugh to ourselves because he has no memory, no fixed opinions and no common sense. He's amused us more than once by trying to pass on the news he's just heard, since the message invariably gets garbled in transmission. Furthermore, he answers every reproach or accusation with a load of fine 1\ promises, which he never manages to keep.

"The spirit of the man is great,

How puny are his deeds."

Yours, Anne