Anne Frank's Amsterdam
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1942 It becomes more dangerous for Jews
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Fotocollectie Anne Frank Stichting, Amsterdam

A rare photo of Peter van Pels

This is the only photo of Peter van Pels taken in Amsterdam. On his chest near his left arm is the outline of a Jewish star so we know that the photo was taken after 3 May 1942 when all Jews in the Netherlands had to wear the Jewish star.

The photo was taken before 13 July 1942. This is the day he goes into hiding with his parents in the secret annex. Anne Frank and her family arrived in the secret annex a week earlier.

Peter is Dutch

Peter is almost two years older than Anne Frank. Although he was born and brought up in Osnabrück (Germany) he is actually Dutch. His grandfather is a Dutch national, so his father is Dutch and his mother becomes Dutch as well when she marries his father.
Not much is known about Peter. He was good with his hands and probably went to the furniture makers school. On this photo part of a chair or bed can be seen. It could be, that a wooden bedstead with springs, preserved in the secret annex, was made by him.

Anne falls in love

At first Anne Frank doesn’t want much to do with Peter, she thinks he’s ill-mannered. But in 1944 she falls in love with him. They kiss and are together a lot. They talk about everything.

On 28 March 1944 Anne writes about a conversation in her diary:
‘Peter often says, ’’Smile!” I thought it was strange, so yesterday I asked  him, “Why do you always want me to smile?”
“Because you get dimples in your cheeks. How do you do that?”
“I was born with them. There’s also one in my chin. It’s the only mark of beauty I possess.”
“No, no that’s not true.”
“Yes it is. I know I’m not beautiful. I never have been and I never will be!”
“I don’t agree. I think you’re pretty.”
“I am not.”
“I say you are, and you’ll have to take my word for it!”
So of course I then said the same about him.’

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1938 Many Jewish refugees after Kristallnacht

Many Jewish refugees flee to the Netherlands after Kristallnacht. Princess Juliana also feels connected to the Jewish community. But while more attention is drawn to the admittance of more Jews, NSB members threaten more intervention.

1940 Amsterdam occupied

Nothing changes too much for the Frank family in the beginning. Opekta moves to the Prinsengracht. During air raids bombs cause death and injury in Amsterdam.

1940  Amsterdam occupied

1941 Jews allowed to do and less

It starts with a cinema ban but rapidly Jews are banned from virtually all public places. Jewish children must attend separate schools. This also applies to Anne and Margot Frank.

1941  Jews allowed to do and less

1942 It becomes more dangerous for Jews

On her thirteenth birthday Anne Frank receives a diary. A few days later she writes about the situation in Amsterdam. The introduction of the Jewish star and the raids. In July the Frank family goes into hiding.

1942  It becomes more dangerous for Jews

1943 Deportations and attacks

While the Frank family is in hiding thousands of Jews are deported from Amsterdam. The resistance tries to hinder the deportations by attacks including one on the Public Registry. It doesn’t stop them.

1943  Deportations and attacks

1944 Discovered and arrested

On 4 August the people in hiding in the secret annex are discovered and arrested. From Westerbork they are taken to Auschwitz. When the Allies land in the south of the Netherlands there is hope that the country will be liberated. German soldiers and NSB members flee the country after Dolle Dinsdag (‘Mad Tuesday’).

1944  Discovered and arrested

1945 Joy and sadness

A celebration at the Dam on 7 May is ruined when people are killed after German soldiers shoot at the crowd. On 8 May Amsterdam is officially liberated. Otto Frank returns. He knows that Edith is dead. He only hears later that his two daughters have not survived.

1945  Joy and sadness

1946 Slowly the threads are picked up again

On 3 May 1946 the first official commemoration for those who died during the war is held. Anne Frank’s diary is published on 25 June 1947. Life in Amsterdam slowly gets back to normal. Of the 70,000 Jews who lived in the city in 1940 only 10,000 have survived the war.

1950 Lasting memory

Even five years after the liberation the reverberations from the war are still clearly noticeable. The Jewish community thanks Amsterdam for the help given to Jews with a monument.

1950  Lasting memory
  • 1950
  • To those who protected the Dutch Jews during the years of the occupation. Protected by your love. Encouraged by your resistance. Mourning with you.

    Part of the citation on the monument ‘Jewish Gratitude’
  • picture:Once a year, two minutes silence

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Bird’s eye view of Anne Frank’s Amsterdam

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