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BIO Classroom

Bio of the Month Anne Frank

BIOGRAPHY®: ANNE FRANK: THE LIFE OF A YOUNG GIRL

Translated into fifty languages, The Diary of Anne Frank is one of the most well-read books in the world. Anne Frank's poignant expressions of fear and her gripping descriptions of life in hiding has given the Holocaust a human face and voice, particularly for young readers. Frank's diary captures the daily desperation the Jewish people endured as the Third Reich implemented the "Final Solution," sending millions of Jews to their deaths in concentration camps throughout Europe. Anne Frank: The Life of a Young Girl sheds new light who Anne Frank really was—a vivacious and confident girl who became trapped in the living horror of the Holocaust. This engrossing program personalizes Anne Frank by featuring the candid recollections of those who knew her, as friends and family members describe her outlook on life and her determination to write.They tell the story of an ordinary young girl who used her special talents to capture the depth of the human spirit even amidst grave tragedy.
Anne Frank: The Life of a Young Girl is a poignant hour long program which traces Anne's journey from a quiet childhood in Germany, through her family's life in hiding, and through the nightmare she and her family faced in Nazi concentration camps. Together with the memories of Anne Frank's friends and neighbors, powerful photographs help tell the story even Frank's words could not. Educators and their students will find that The Life of a Young Girl provides new insights of Frank's classic, giving students the opportunity to consider how and why one girl's diary became the window through which so many have viewed the immense devastation of the Holocaust.

CURRICULUM LINKS

Anne Frank: The Life of a Young Girl would be useful for classes on World History, Global History, Literature, Journalism and Creative Writing. It is appropriate for middle school and high school.

VOCABULARY

Using a dictionary (www.merriamwebster.com) or an encyclopedia, students may want to define or explain the significance of the following terms from this program:
  • Anti-Semitism
  • Authenticity
  • Clandestine
  • Liberated
  • Nazism
  • Optimism
  • Pogroms
  • Prejudice
  • Persecution
  • Suppression

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Over six million Jews perished in the Holocaust. How do you think one teenage girl, Anne Frank, has become such a prominent symbol of the Holocaust?
  2. The Franks moved to Amsterdam in 1933 from Germany. Why was the Frank family forced to leave Germany? What were their other options?
  3. What was Hitler's "Final Solution?" How was it planned and executed?
  4. Anne Frank began to edit and rewrite her diary in 1944. What prompted Anne to do this? Were you surprised by how carefully she thought about her writing?
  5. What was Anne Frank's original reason for starting her diary? Do you she planned all along for her diary to be read by so many people?
  6. How do the recollections of Anne's friends and family members in this program add to what you already know about her from reading her diary? Does she seem different to you after hearing the stories of her childhood?
  7. Perhaps the most famous line from Anne Frank's diary is "people are truly good at heart." Do you agree with this statement?
  8. When Otto Frank said that he felt like he had not known his daughter after reading her diary, what do you think he meant?
  9. How did life in the concentration camp change Anne's relationship to her family, particularly her mother and her sister?
  10. Why do you think so many people were willing to cooperate with the Nazi Party and turn in the Jewish people hiding in their communities?
  11. What do you think Anne Frank's life would have been like had she not perished in the concentration camps? What do you think is the legacy she has left the world?

EXTENDED ACTIVITIES

  1. The Diary of Anne Frank is a literary classic that has been translated into at least fifty languages. The publication of her diary, the many translations, and the process of editing offers valuable insights into the enormous reach of her words. In groups of four or five, research the history of Frank's diary at the library or on the Internet. Create a posterboard which includes important details about Frank's book. Include on your poster relevant facts such as the year of publication, the number of translations, and key dates from Frank's life. You can also include images from the many versions of the book, key quotes from Anne Frank's diary, and other facts you uncover as you do your research. Share your findings with your class or group. (To the teacher: these posters could be displayed on your classroom bulletin boards or in your school hallways.)
  2. In her diary entry from January 28, 1944, Anne Frank wrote, "That's something we should never forget; while others display their heroism in battle…our helpers prove theirs every day by their good spirits and affection." Throughout Frank's story there are many people who supported the Nazis to exterminate the Jewish population, yet there are also many people throughout her book who tried to help the Frank family and others. While reading The Diary of Anne Frank, choose a passage which you think represents "heroism"—either that of Anne Frank or someone who helped Anne and her family. Write a short essay about what "heroism" during World War II meant and how you think the people and acts from your passage represent what a hero can be.
  3. Activity for high school students: The Diary of Anne Frank presents high school students with the opportunity to share their knowledge and reading comprehension skills with younger students. An excellent way to teach elementary and middle school students about the Holocaust is to pair high school students with their younger counterparts. Have the older students choose key passages from Anne Frank's diary and read them to younger students. They can start their presentations of her diary with a short amount of background information on Anne Frank's story and key terms and definitions pertaining to the Holocaust.
  4. Since The Diary of Anne Frank was published, there have been many efforts throughout the world to preserve the memories of Holocaust survivors. Using the Internet, locate some of these stories and transcripts from their testimonies. Write a short paper of two to three pages describing the testimony of one survivor, being sure to include their country of origin, where they were sent during the Holocaust, and how they survived. You may want to include a map with your paper pinpointing the locations discussed in your paper. If possible, conduct oral histories with Holocaust survivors in your community. Find out if there is a local or regional archive which collects these stories.
  5. Imagine that it is your task to create a time capsule to teach people two hundred years from now about the Holocaust. Chose five items (these can be books, photographs, timelines, etc.) to go in this time capsule. Write a short essay about why you have chosen these items and how you think they would help inform about the Holocaust.

REFERENCES

Websites

The United States Holocaust Museum site:
http://www.ushmm.org
The Anne Frank center, with lesson plans and additional background information:
http://www.annefrank.com/
The official web site of the Anne Frank House:
http://www.annefrank.org/

Books

Adler, David. We Remember the Holocaust (Henry Holt, 1995).
Bachrach, Susan. Tell Them We Remember: The Story of the Holocaust (Little, Brown, 1994).
Boas, Jacob. We Are Witnesses: Five Diaries Of Teenagers Who Died In The Holocaust (Scholastic Paperbacks, 1996).
Frank, Anne, et al. The Diary of Anne Frank: The Revised Critical Edition (Doubleday, 2003).
Muller, Melissa. Anne Frank: The Biography (Metropolitan, 1998).

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