The Diary of a Young Girl | Study Guide

Anne Frank

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The Diary of a Young Girl | April 5–April 15, 1944 | Summary



April 5–April 6, 1944

At this point, Anne is feeling listless about her schoolwork. If the war doesn't end soon, she'll be two years behind other students her age who were still in the outside world. After a flood of tears, she briskly reminds herself, "I must do my schoolwork to keep from being ignorant, to get on in life, to become a journalist" (April 5, 1944). Though she reminds herself that "it remains to be seen whether I really have talent," she says, "I know I can write." The goal of becoming a journalist will spur her on.

April 11–April 15, 1944

A terrible two days for the residents begin on April 9, when the office warehouse is again broken into. While the men investigate, the women and girls wait fearfully until the men return. When the men come back, it's to say that—alerted by noises in the warehouse—a man and woman outside have called the police. "Lights out, tiptoe upstairs!" orders Mr. Frank.

It's Easter Sunday, and the office is closed the next day as well. For two nights and a day, the residents of the Secret Annex sit silent in pitch darkness, afraid even to visit the bathroom. At one point, they hear footsteps on the stairs to their hiding place, and a rattling at the bookcase that hides the entrance to the Secret Annex. "This moment is indescribable," says Anne on April 11 (first entry). They are so afraid the police will show up, someone suggests burning Anne's diary.

Safe at last, the shattered residents try to make sense of the experience. "We've been strongly reminded of the fact that we're Jews in chains," says Anne in the second part of the April 11 entry. Rallying, she adds, "It's God who has made us the way we are, but it's also God who will lift us up again."


The story of the Easter break-in reads almost like a heavy-handed suspense novel with dramatic foreshadowing. Noises in the warehouse, the police being called, the rattling of the bookcase leading to the Secret Annex, all details that might have actually occurred only two months later when the police did discover them. For readers today, aware of the real arrest coming soon, this section can be unbearably poignant.

Yet in the midst of the terror, a second problem intrudes. As Anne Frank says, "We tried to guess what was going on, trembled with fear and went to the bathroom." Anne's realistically graphic account of how people hide from the police includes how they manage their bathroom details. Such details are usually omitted in books but are important aspects of real life. In a desperate situation such as the Annex, they would affect people directly.

Given her ultimate fate, when Anne declares, "I'm becoming more and more independent of my parents ... I know that I'm a woman, a woman with inner strength and a great deal of courage!" the reader feels the deep tragedy of her position. She is on the brink of defining life for herself in her own terms, but readers know her life is ending. Anne mentions that one of the residents suggests burning Anne's diary in case the police find it. She adds, almost in passing, "This and the police rattling on the bookcase were the moments when I was most afraid. Oh, not my diary; if my diary goes, I go too!" The moment is poignant for readers who know that the diary will survive, but not Anne.

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