There is a saying that paper is more patient than man; it came back to me on one of my slightly melancholy days, while I sat chin in hand, feeling too bored and limp even to make up my mind whether to go out or stay at home. Yes, there is no doubt that paper is patient and as I dont intend to show this cardboard-covered notebook, bearing the proud name of diary, to anyone, unless I find a real friend, boy or girl, probably nobody cares.
And now I come to the root of the matter, the reason for my starting a diary: it is that I have no such real friend.
2 Let me put it more clearly, since no one will believe that a girl of thirteen feels herself quite alone in the world, nor is it so. I have darling parents and a sister of sixteen. I know about thirty people whom one might call friendsI have strings of boy friends, anxious to catch a glimpse of me and who, failing that, peep at me through mirrors in class.
I have relations, aunts and uncles, who are darlings too, a good home, noI dont seem to lack anything. But its the same with all my friends, just fun and joking, nothing more. I can never bring myself to talk of anything outside the common round. We dont seem to be able to get any closer, that is the root of the trouble. Perhaps I lack confidence, but anyway, there it is, a stubborn fact and I dont seem to be able to do anything about it.
3 Hence, this diary. In order to enhance in my minds eye the picture of the friend for whom I have waited so long, I dont want to set down a series of bald facts in a diary like most people do, but I want this diary itself to be my friend, and I shall call my friend Kitty. No one will grasp what Im talking about if I begin my letters to Kitty just out of the blue, so, albeit unwillingly, I will start by sketching in brief the story of my life.
(awl BEE iht) conj. although.
4 My father was thirty-six when he married my mother, who was then twenty-five. My sister Margot was born in 1926 in Frankfort-on-Main, I followed on June 12, 1929, and, as we are Jewish, we emigrated to Holland in 1933, where my father was appointed Managing Director of Travies N.V. This firm is in close relationship with the firm of Kolen & Co. in the same building, of which my father is a partner.
5 The rest of our family, however, felt the full impact of Hitlers anti-Jewish laws, so life was filled with anxiety. In 1938 after the pogroms, my two uncles (my mothers brothers) escaped to the U.S.A. My old grandmother came to us, she was then seventy-three. After May 1940 good times rapidly fled: first the war, then the capitulation, followed by the arrival of the Germans, which is when the sufferings of us Jews really began. Anti-Jewish decrees followed each other in quick succession. Jews must wear a yellow star, Jews must hand in their bicycles, Jews are banned from trains and are forbidden to drive. Jews are only allowed to do their shopping between three and five oclock and then only in shops which bear the placard Jewish shop. Jews must be indoors by eight oclock and cannot even sit in their own gardens after that hour. Jews are forbidden to visit theaters, cinemas, and other places of entertainment. Jews may not take part in public sports. Swimming baths, tennis courts, hockey fields, and other sports grounds are all prohibited to them. Jews may not visit Christians. Jews must go to Jewish schools, and many more restrictions of a similar kind.
(POH gruhmz) n. organized killings and other persecution of Jews.
(kuh pihch uh LAY shuhn) n. act of surrendering.
6 So we could not do this and were forbidden to do that. But life went on in spite of it all. Jopie used to say to me, Youre scared to do anything, because it may be forbidden. Our freedom was strictly limited. Yet things were still bearable.
(YOH pee) Jacqueline van Maarsen, Annes best friend.
7 Granny died in January 1942; no one will ever know how much she is present in my thoughts and how much l love her still.
8 In 1934 I went to school at the Montessori Kindergarten and continued there. It was at the end of the school year, I was in form 6B, when I had to say good-by to Mrs. K. We both wept, it was very sad. In 1941 I went, with my sister Margot, to the Jewish Secondary School, she into the fourth form and I into the first.
here, a grade in secondary school.
9 So far everything is all right with the four of us and here I come to the present day.
Thursday, 19 November, 1942
10 Dear Kitty,
11 Dussel is a very nice man, just as we had all imagined. Of course he thought it was all right to share my little room.
12 Quite honestly Im not so keen that a stranger should use my things, but one must be prepared to make some sacrifices for a good cause, so I shall make my little offering with a good will. If we can save someone, then everything else is of secondary importance, says Daddy, and hes absolutely right.
13 The first day that Dussel was here, he immediately asked me all sorts of questions: When does the charwoman come? When can one use the bathroom? When is one allowed to use the lavatory? You may laugh, but these things are not so simple in a hiding place. During the day we mustnt make any noise that might be heard downstairs; and if there is some strangersuch as the charwoman for examplethen we have to be extra careful. I explained all this carefully to Dussel. But one thing amazed me: he is very slow on the uptake. He asks everything twice over and still doesnt seem to remember. Perhaps that will wear off in time, and its only that hes thoroughly upset by the sudden change.
n. cleaning woman.
14 Apart from that, all goes well. Dussel has told us a lot about the outside world, which we have missed for so long now. He had very sad news. Countless friends and acquaintances have gone to a terrible fate. Evening after evening the green and gray army lorries trundle past. The Germans ring at every front door to inquire if there are any Jews living in the house. If there are, then the whole family has to go at once. If they dont find any, they go on to the next house. No one has a chance of evading them unless one goes into hiding. Often they go around with lists, and only ring when they know they can get a good haul. Sometimes they let them off for cashso much per head. It seems like the slave hunts of olden times. But its certainly no joke; its much too tragic for that. In the evenings when its dark, I often see rows of good, innocent people accompanied by crying children, walking on and on, in charge of a couple of these chaps, bullied and knocked about until they almost drop. No one is sparedold people, babies, expectant mothers, the sickeach and all join in the march of death.
lorries trundle past
trucks move along.
15 How fortunate we are here, so well cared for and undisturbed. We wouldnt have to worry about all this misery were it not that we are so anxious about all those dear to us whom we can no longer help.
16 I feel wicked sleeping in a warm bed, while my dearest friends have been knocked down or have fallen into a gutter somewhere out in the cold night. I get frightened when I think of close friends who have now been delivered into the hands of the cruelest brutes that walk the earth. And all because they are Jews!