Ideas for Research and Discussion of Anne Frank's Diary

Grade Levels:6-8

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Religious Identity

"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)

"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)

National Identity

"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

"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.

"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

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:

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.

Submitted by:

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 © 1997-2013.

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