Chapter 8 Settling into the Secret Annexe
Meet the Author
- Anne Frank is a Jewish girl who was forced to go into hiding with her family during the second World War. During the second World War the Germans were executing the Jews. Anne was a keen observer and kept a diary from the age of thirteen. She called her diary, “Kitty”. She noted down all the difficulties she and other Jewish families had to face during the War.
Summary of the Chapter
The chapter titled “Settling into the Secret Annexe” consists of four diary excerpts from the book, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. We will be discussing them in detail below.
Thursday, 9 July 1942
In this day’s diary entry she mentions about their decision to go hiding in her father’s office building.
Saturday, 11 July 1942
She begins the diary entry with her response to the sound of the clock from Westertoren, a church in Amsterdam. Anne finds the sound from the clock interesting and reassuring, especially during the night. The clock bell goes on every quarter of an hour. Her parents and her sister Margot hated this sound.
She writes the diary in a conversational manner. She considered her diary like a human being. She is expressing her feelings and emotions in her writing. The diary was her go to person to express herself in the most difficult times.
She soon realizes that she does not like the hiding place and it can never be home for her. Even then she does not hate the hiding place rather she finds it like a holiday home. It can never replace her home. Everything around looks odd to her. She finds the Annexe to be a good hiding place. She informs her diary, Kitty, that the Annexe to be the one of the most comfortable hiding places in the whole of Holland.
Earlier her bedroom walls were blank but soon she fixed the wall with all her postcard collection and film star collections. She is extremely grateful to her dad for carrying it with him. She found the wall to be much more cheerful with all the decor.
She then mentions the arrival of van Daans, the other family who will soon arrive to live with them in the attic. Her mother and sister were getting better in health. Since her mother was feeling better she made the split-pea soup. Unfortunately, her mother had to go downstairs leaving it on the stove and it got spoiled. It was even difficult to scrap the residue of the dish out of the pan.
She then mentions about the four of them going downstairs at night to the private office to listen to the news. Anne was so scared if any of their neighbors would find them. She begged them to return upstairs, her mother understanding her anxiety went back along with her.
They had started to make curtains with the leftover fabrics from the first day onwards. Anne and her Dad stitched them up with their unskilled hands. This was one means through which they could remain out of their neighbors' sight.
Actually, you can hardly call them that, since they’re nothing but scraps of fabric, varying greatly in shape, quality and pattern, which Father and I stitched crookedly together with unskilled fingers. These works of art were tacked to the windows, where they’ll stay until we come out of hiding.
This particular diary entry describes a lot about her locality. To the right side of their hiding place, was a branch of Keg Company. It is a company based in Zaandam, a nearby town. To the left there was a furniture shop. There were workers during the day time, which meant they cannot make any noise as the sound easily travels across the walls.Due to this they had asked Margot to not cough at night even though she had a severe cold. To avoid loud coughing and to ensure her to get better they had to provide her large doses of codeine, a medicine that helps to sleep and reduce pain.
Anne is looking for the arrival of van Daans to lighten up the mood. Since they cannot go out or even look out she wants to hear some people around her. She wishes if Mr.Kleiman, Miep and Bep Voskuijl could stay below the attic so that they could have some human interactions.
She goes on to mention about the storage of food for their hiding days. They had loaded up on preserved food including rhubarb, strawberries, cherries etc to make jam. Similarly, they had carried board games to keep them engaged.
The night before this diary they had worked very hard and brought in two crates of cherries to preserve. They are now planning to make a bookshelf with those empty crates. Anne leaves her diary mid way during this diary entry. Someone called her and she had to discontinue her thoughts. This is an instance where we realize that Anne is treating her diary like a friend.
Friday, 21 August 1942
She begins the entry by stating that now they are truly into hiding, which implies that they are completely cut off from the outside world and can no longer move out of the annex. Many houses houses have been searched by the Nazi army, hence for security Mr. Kugler thought of keeping a bookshelf at the entrance of the secret hiding to cover it from any possible searched by the Nazi police. Mr. Voskujil helped them with the carpentry and he was really helpful.
Now, each time they have to go downstairs they have to duck and then jump. In the first few days of this shift in arrangements they hit their forehead and had bumps on them. Later Peter van Daan cushioned it with a towel stuffed with wood shavings.
Anne is narrating as well as unconsciously documenting all the hardships they had to go through to escape death. As she had to go into hiding she has now taken a break from school work. Her dad has decided to teach her from September, but before that they have to get hold of the text books.
She realizes that their lives have changed. She is always arguing with Mr. van Daan. Her mother still treats her like a baby which she is not pleased with. She is not having a good time with Peter. She calls him “obnoxious”, which meant someone who was unpleasant to be with. According to Anne Petter is a stupid and unpleasant person who took naps all the time and did some carpentary for namesake.
She comments on the weather of that particular day and describes how they try to get some of it by only lounging on the folding bed in the attic.
This entry draws attention to the unflattering side of hiding. She is no longer excited about the change and is uncomfortable with a lot of people around her. The anger, irritation and the frustration is visible in her writing.
Monday, 21 September 1942
On this day Anne is giving her diary a life update from the Annexe. A lamb had been put up on her bed so that she can easily turn on the light if she again had a scary night. But right now she is unable to use it as her window is left open a little day and night.
Meanwhile, van Daans have built a wood stained food safe to preserve food. He has also moved the cupboard in Peter’s room to the attic to ensure some fresh air. In the place of the cupboard now is a shelf. Snake advised Peter to put his table under the shelf with a rug underneath. This shift in arrangement might give more space and comfort in the small room. Even if these changes are done Anne does not like to be in that room.
She goes on rambling that a lot is taking place each day and she is tired of writing all of it down in the diary.
What happened to Anne’s family?
By 1944 the secret Annex was found and eight people living there were taken to the prison camp in Auschwitz, Poland and then to a camp in Germany. Anne died of typhus in the camp at the age of 15. After the war her diary was found by her father, Otto Frank. Even though she had to go through a lot of injustice she believed that all humans were good at heart. She even noted down that,
How wonderful it is that nobody needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
This is a strong statement, as she tells everyone to be a little kinder to your fellow beings.
Above and Beyond the Text
The holocaust is the genoside (mass killing) of the Jews by the Nazi Germany in Europe during the World War II. The Nazi Germany was led by Adolf Hitler. Approximately around 6 million Jews are believed to be killed.
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Settling into the Secret Annexe Questions and Answers
Below are a few questions that you can look out for your examinations and class tests. Stand out with perfectly written answers with help of Aneetta Class.
Anne Frank’s diary is a documentation of the brutal realities of the Nazi Germany during the World War II. In this diary she vividly notes down all the happening and difficulties they faced for being Jews. The diary also captures the emotional turmoils of a teenage girl who was forced to go into hidding due to genocide. Hence this book is extremely important in literature and history.
In the initial entries she seemed to be excited and curious about this shift. She was enthusiastic about putting up the curtains and decorating the walls. But as the days progressed she understood the difficulties. She releases that her life would never be the same. She longs for human interactions and wishes if their dear ones lived below the Annexe. The final entries speak a lot about the distress they were under. Hence we can conclude that eventually she was not happy with the shift. She was coping with it as much as she could. The habit of diary entry is also a way of her coping up with the situations around.
Anne loved the Western clock as its sound gave her hope and progress in the middle of the night. While everybody else despised it she found it to be helping her to have hope and look forward to a brighter future.