Ideas for Research and Discussion of Anne Frank's Diary
Sunshine State Standards:
View all Sunshine State Standards
- Grades 6-8
- SS.A. 1.3.2, 1.3.3, 2.3.4, 2.3.6, 2.3.8, 3.3.2, 3.3.3
"Who knows, maybe our religion will teach the world and all the people in it about goodness, and that's the reason, the only reason, we have to suffer. We can never just be Dutch, or just English, or whatever, we will always be Jews as well. And we'll have to keep on being Jews, but then, we'll want to be." (April 11,1944)
- The Franks were in hiding from the Nazis because they were Jews. Describe how Anne writes about herself in terms of her identity as a Jew. How do her feelings for her Jewish background change over the course of her years in hiding? Why do you think her feelings change?
"We've been strongly reminded of the fact that we're Jews in chains, chained to one spot, without any rights, but with a thousand obligations. We must put our feeling aside; we must be brave and strong, bear discomforts without complaint, do whatever is in our power and trust in God. One day this terrible war will be over. The time will come when we will be a people again and not just Jews!" (April 11, 1944)
- What do you think Anne means in this comment?
- Define the terms "stereotype" and "scapegoat." What does Anne's comment say about stereotyping? About anti-semitism?
- Research events related to stereotyping and scapegoating in different societies.
- Research hate groups and racial or religious bigotry in the U.S. today. Work with your fellow students to organize a campaign to promote racial, religious, and cultural understanding at your school. Your campaign should use posters, newsletters, PSAs (Public Service Announcements) for the school's public address system, etc.
"My first wish is to become a Dutch citizen. I love the Dutch, I love this country, I love the language, and I want to work here. And even if I have to write to the Queen herself, I won't give up until I reach my goal." (April 11, 1945)
Rescuers and Bystanders
- What does national identity mean? What was Anne's nationality while she was in hiding? What does she mean when she writes "Hitler took away our nationality long ago." (October 9, 1942)
- Research the term "nationalism." How has national identity been used to justify discrimination and war? Can nationalism be a positive source of identity? Overall, do you think nationalism has a positive or negative role in history?
"That's something we should never forget; while others display their heroism in battle or against the Germans, our helpers prove theirs everyday by their good spirits and affection." (January 28, 1944)
Anne Frank described herself as "privileged" to be hiding while so many others were being taken away. Anne's situation was unusual because she was hiding with her entire family and there were groups of people who helped them. All over Europe, few Jews or other people victimized by the Nazis had anyone to turn to, or anyplace to hide. Of the 25,000 Jews in hiding in Holland, 30 percent were caught and/or betrayed.
- Choose one of the helpers who appears in the play. Describe what this person did that helped the eight people remain hidden for over two years in the center of Nazi occupied Amsterdam? What helpers do not appear in the play?
- How did the relationships between the people hiding in the annex and their helpers change over the two years?
- What were the risks of helping the Franks and others?
"I am not a hero. I stand at the end of the long, long line of good Dutch people who did what I did or more - much more - during those dark and terrible times years ago, but always like yesterday in the hearts of those of us who bear witness. Never a day goes by that I do not think of what happened then." (Miep Gies, Anne Frank Remembered).
Miep begins by stating, "I am not a hero," and continues, "There is nothing special about me. I have never wanted special attention. I was only willing to do what was asked of me and what seemed necessary at the time."
Children and Their Rights
- What is a hero/heroine? Was Miep a heroine? Prepare to defend your answer.
- Define these terms as they relate to the Holocaust: "rescuer," "bystander," "collaborator".
- Look at the role of Denmark in rescuing Danish Jews. Compare the Danish rescue and resistance to that in Holland, Belgium, and other countries in Europe.
After almost seventy years of international effort and debate, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child came into existence on September 2, 1990. This convention by the international community recognized the special needs and vulnerability of children as human beings.
The following are some of the principle articles in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child:
- All children have the right to love and care.
- All children are equal.
- All children have the right to adequate and healthy food.
- All children have the right to go to school.
- All children have the right to health care.
- All children have the right to play.
- No children should have to work.
- No child should be abused.
- No child should be the victim of violence and war.
- Children can express their own opinions.
- Children can choose their own religion.
- Children can meet any one they like.
- Children have the right to information.
Adapted from The World Book of Children's Rights by Defense for Children's Rights International, Geneva.
Research how these rights were taken away from Anne Frank and other children during the Holocaust (See Deborah Dwork, Children with a Star, Yale University Press, 1991).
Read the following words written by students from a fifth grade class in Zenica: I Dream of Peace: Image of War by Children of Former Yugoslavia (UNICEF, 1994).
War is here, but we await peace. We are in a corner of the world where nobody seems to hear us. But we are not afraid. We will not give up...Our fathers earn little, just barely enough to buy five kilos of flour a month. And we have no water, no electricity, no heat. We bear it all, but we cannot bear the hate and evil. Our teacher told us about Anne Frank, and we have read her diary. After fifty years, history is repeating itself right here with this war, with the hate and the killing and with having to hide to save your life.
We are only twelve years old. We can't influence politics and the war, but we want to live! And we want to stop this madness. Like Anne Frank fifty years ago, we wait for peace. She didn't live to see it. Will we?
"After Seventy Years: Anne Frank (1929-1945)," an article by Dr. Joyce Apsel Director of Education, Anne Frank Center USA.
Copyright (c) 1997, Anne Frank Center, USA, Inc. Duplication permission granted to educators for classroom use.
From Anne Frank Center, USA
584 Broadway, Suite 408
NY, NY 10012
A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust
Produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology,
College of Education, University of South Florida © 2005.