The Diary of a Young Girl Book Summary - The Diary of a Young Girl Book explained in key points

The Diary of a Young Girl summary

Anne Frank

The famous story of a Jewish girl who went into hiding during the Second World War

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What is The Diary of a Young Girl about?

The Diary of a Young Girl (first published 1952; this edition 1977) tells the story of Anne Frank, a Jewish girl who went into hiding with her family during the Second World War. It offers a remarkable portrait of a maturing young woman forced into an unbelievable situation but rising to the occasion. In her diary, Anne shares her thoughts and dreams, revealing a remarkable talent that was tragically taken from the world, along with millions of other lives during the Holocaust.

About the Author

Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt, Germany, on June 12, 1929. She moved with her family to the Netherlands in 1933, after her father was offered a generous business opportunity. The move was also a tactical one for a Jewish family, as Germany, under the rule of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, was becoming more hostile toward Jewish people by the day. Unable to find passage out of the Netherlands, Anne and her family went into hiding in 1942. The Diary of a Young Girl is her parting gift to the world.

Table of Contents
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    From Schoolgirl to Girl in Hiding.

    The first entry in Anne Frank’s diary is from June 12, 1942 – her thirteenth birthday. It reads: “I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone . . .” The diary was a gift she’d just received. In it, she noted the day’s other gifts: a new blouse, flowers, a puzzle, a voucher for two books.

    There were other small birthday presents and humble tokens of love. Anne admits that she felt a bit spoiled by her parents in those days before the family went into hiding. That summer, in 1942, the family – Anne, her parents, and her older sister, Margot – were living in Amsterdam, where her father worked as a director for the Dutch Opekta Company, a manufacturer of spices and other food-related products.

    The early private thoughts that Anne devoted to her diary were primarily concerned with school, friends, and classmates. But, from the start, it was clear that Anne has a sharp mind and that her concerns run deep. 

    On June 20, 1942, she wrote down a saying: “Paper has more patience than people.” In the same entry, she writes about false appearances. Outwardly, it might look like she has it all, but, deep down, she feels lonely. She doesn’t have a true friend to open up to. 

    She also writes about the stress that Hitler’s recent anti-Jewish laws have put on the family. As she explains, the pogroms of 1938 had forced Jewish people to wear yellow stars and made it illegal to ride bicycles, use cars or trams, or engage in any sport or athletics in public. They were only allowed to shop between the hours of 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. They couldn’t go to the movies or see plays. The rules were so numerous that it was hard to keep track of them all.

    But, in June, Anne wrote most about less weighty matters: her battles with teachers who thought she was a chatterbox, her impending grades in class, her budding relationship with a suitor named Hello Silberberg (Hello being short for Helmuth), and her love for a boy named Peter Schiff.

    That all changed on the first Sunday of July. The Frank family received what was known as a call-up notice from the SS. Everyone knew the meaning of these notices: the person being called up would likely be headed to a cell, or worse, a concentration camp. At first, Anne thought the notice was for her father. But she soon found out the truth – it was for Margot, her sister.

    A rapid sequence of events unfolded, which found the Frank family quickly packing all the belongings they could and giving other items to friends for safekeeping. They were going into hiding.

    The secret location was at the back of the top two floors in the Opekta building where her father worked, at 263 Prinsengracht. An unassuming door on the second floor of the offices unexpectedly led to what is now known as the Secret Annex.

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    Who should read The Diary of a Young Girl

    • People interested in stories of life during wartime
    • Anyone who likes true stories of resilience and survival
    • Young women looking for inspirational figures

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