Heroines of the Past, 1940s
December 1, 2007, Published by Amy Puetz; P.O. Box 429; Wright, WY 82732
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Ohhhh! December is here! It is the one month of the year where holiday cheer is felt all month long. Do you have special holiday traditions at your house? I know I do. It is never officially the Christmas season until we play Amy Grant’s Christmas CD and Tennessee Christmas starts filling the air with its melodious tune.
In this edition of Heroines of the Past we will travel back to the 1940’s. We will meet Anne Frank and find out how a normal girl drew the attention of the world simply by keeping a diary. Find interesting information about her life before and after her diary was written. And Rita Rice brings to light the importance of Godly Relationships in her Bible study, Maidens of Virtue.
Be sure to check out www.AmyPuetz.com for your Christmas shopping needs. There are hundreds of historical items on this site.Celebrating The Baby,
Heroines of the Past
P.O. Box 429
Wright, WY 82732
Anne Frank’s Rich LegacyBy Amy Puetz
The Jewish people have lived through many difficult times in history but never more so than during Hitler’s reign. Approximately six million Jews died in the Holocaust. This is not merely a statistic but real, individual people. Mothers like Edith Frank, and young people so full of life like Margot and Peter. By far the most well known Jew who perished was Anne Frank. During almost two years of hiding, Anne kept a journal sharing her struggles, joys, and hope. Anne Frank was just an ordinary girl who felt emotions that thousands of other people experienced during Nazi rule but she had a special gift for writing. Her ideals and optimism have helped keep her diary popular after nearly sixty years. This is the story of the girl behind the diary.
In the heart of Germany at Frankfurt am Maim, Anneliese Frank was born on June 12, 1929. Her parents, Otto and Edith Frank, were Jews whose ancestors had lived in Germany for many generations. Otto even fought in World War I on the Axis side! The affluent Frank family already had one daughter, Margot, who was born on February 16, 1926. As the two girls grew up, a cloud of hate, prejudice, and vengeance began to spread over Germany. When Hitler’s party, the Nazis, took over in 1933, persecution of the Jews began. Between the years of 1933-1939 approximately 300,000 Jews managed to escape from Germany. Soon after Hitler took power, the Franks moved to Amsterdam in Holland. Otto, whom Anne and Margot called Pim, started Opekta-Works - a company that made pectin. Surely in the Netherlands they would be safe.
The station, Amsterdam, Holland & White Mills, Holland
Anne Frank was a lively and active girl. Curiosity about the world and everything in it made her ask lots of questions. Margot and Anne were complete opposites. The elder sister was quiet and proper while the younger sister was boisterous and spirited. When Anne began school in 1934, she was sent to Montessori, a less traditional institute. Although she received a good education, the antsy and talkative Anne struggled with her studies. She detested math but enjoyed history and eventually writing. In her leisure time, Anne would entertain her two best friends, Sanne and Hanneli, in the Frank’s third floor apartment at 37 Merwedeplein. Anne always had lots of friends and was the life of the party! At school she performed in plays. She also loved to watch American movies and dreamed of one day going to America and becoming an actress.
The dark cloud of Hitler followed the Franks to Holland and once again disturbed Anne’s happy life. On May 10, 1940 the Germans conquered the Netherlands. In the beginning little changed for Anne and the other Jews, but slowly their freedom was restricted. Decrees were issued to segregate Jews, a curfew was imposed, Jewish authors were banned, jobs with the government and at universities were taken from Jews. Movie theaters, restaurants, public pools, zoos, and parks were off limits for Jews and foreign Jews were forced to register and carry an identity card that had two photos and was branded with a black "J" for "Jews." Gradually one freedom at a time was taken away. One of the most trying laws for Anne to accept was that Jewish children were forced to attend a separate school from non-Jews. Anne disliked the new school, the Jewish Lyceum, but she soon made a new friend, Jacque, and learned to adjust. Repeatedly the Franks tried to leave Holland, but their exit permits were denied or postponed. In April of 1942, every Jew six years of age and older were forced to wear a yellow star with the word "Jew" printed in black. Despite all the hardships, Otto and Edith tried to shelter their children from these events. Anne had such an optimistic personality that she was able to enjoy life even when so many things were restricted.
In 1942, Anne celebrated her thirteenth birthday. Since the Nazis didn’t allow Jews to attend movie theaters, Anne’s father rented a projector for Anne and her friends to watch the American movie, Rin-Tin-Tin and the Lighthouse Keepers, one of Anne’s favorite movies. She received a special gift -a red and white plaid journal. The days of carefree living ended on July 5, 1942 when a policeman knocked on their door with a call-up notice for Margot. The Nazis in Holland sent notices to 1,000 Jewish teens to be sent to work camps in Germany. Having Margot deported to Germany was unthinkable and the Franks decided on a pre-arranged plan of going into hiding. At Otto’s office building there was a secret annex, which Otto and Edith intended to use as a hiding place. When the Nazis first took over Holland, Mr. Frank knew that he would not be allowed to continue his business so he signed his company over to one of his faithful employees although he actually continued to run it. Four of Otto’s trustworthy employees, Miep Gies, "Bep" Voskuijle, Johannes Kleiman, and Victor Kugler, helped the Franks while they were in hiding. Being cut off from the world was difficult for the lively, outgoing Anne. On July 13, 1942 the Franks were joined by another Jewish family, the van Pels. In her diary Anne called them van Daan. There was a father, mother, and a boy, Peter, who was several years older than Anne. Another addition was made in November when a dentist named Fritz Pfeffer, whom Anne called Dussel, joined them. Life in hiding was hard and monotonous. During office hours from nine in the morning until seven at night, they had to be completely quiet. To occupy their time Anne, Margot, and Peter did school and Otto acted as their teacher.
Anne had very little outlet for her creativity so she confided in her diary, Kitty. Her dream of becoming an actress changed and she decided she wanted to pursue journalism. Besides her writing in her journal, the activities in the evening such as playing games and listening to the radio, helped boost Anne’s spirits and made life more bearable. Daily -nay, hourly - those in the secret annex feared discovery. Their anxiety grew even more when they learned that many of their friends had been deported. Anne shared the hardships of concealment with Kitty. Personality conflicts and arguments about food added to the constant strain. During the nearly two years Anne spent in hiding, she grew up and developed a reliance on God. On June 6, 1944 Anne Frank as well as people all over occupied Europe were elated at the Allied landing at Normandy. Would peace be near? Anne, ever an optimist, hoped it would be soon. As 1944 dragged on it seemed Holland would never be liberated. Food became scarce and some people had only tulip bulbs to eat.
Then on August 4, 1944, Anne’s worse fear became reality: their hiding place was discovered. Their betrayer was never known. Along with those in hiding, two of their helpers Kleiman and Kugler were also arrested. After being jailed at Nazi headquarters, Anne and her family and friends were sent to Westerbork Transit Camp on August 8. Anne found delight in watching the country go by on the train. Being trapped inside for almost two years made the glorious outdoors seem fabulous. At the camp Anne was put to work cleaning old airplane batteries. Anne was as happy as the situation allowed but unfortunately on September 3, Anne, her mother, and Margot were crowded into a cattle car with many others and taken to Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. The camp was hell on earth! Upon arrival, all the weak, sick, and children under fifteen were gassed. Each person had a number tattooed on their arm and their hair shaved off. Anne, Margot, and Edith were forced to do hard manual labor. In October, Anne and Margot were transferred to another concentration camp called Bergen-Belsen. To help alleviate the horror of the situation, Anne would tell stories to entertain those in her barracks. Anne also managed to arrange a celebration for Christmas and Hanukkah. In March of 1945 Anne and Margot came down with typhus and died. Shortly afterwards, on April 15, 1945, the British liberated the camp.
Of the eight people who hid in the secret annex, only Otto Frank survived. He saw to it that Anne’s diary was published in order to keep her memory alive. During Anne Frank’s life, though she received cruelty and hardship, she still clung to the hope of peace and kindness. Although she only lived to be fifteen, she left a rich legacy to the world of hope and peace.About the Author
Amy Puetz, a homeschool graduate, loves history, sewing, and working as a computer graphic artist for her company A to Z Designs. She is also the author of the exciting book Costumes with Character. Visit her website at www.AmyPuetz.com, to see many resources relating to history. She makes her home in Wyoming.
Maidens of Virtue
"Godly Relationships"By Rita Rice
Keep a notebook handy to write down your answers to the questions or to just jot down ideas that you want to remember.
I. Your Relationship to Jesus Christ ~ The Foundation of All Other Relationships
A Maiden’s Mission
This week, pray for a friend and then send them a note of encouragement that will inspire them to live for Jesus!
About the author
Rita Rice has homeschooled her three children for the past 14 years. She has been involved in moderating several Bible study groups, including a group designed for mothers and daughters, "Maidens of Virtue." She enjoys reading Puritan literature and working in her flower garden.
Recommended WebsitesFood and Recipes of Wartime Europe
Recipes from World War II. Try these recipes in your own kitchen to experience the food that was eaten during the forties.
Children of World War II
What was is like for children in England during the war? Find out here.
Beautiful images from the 1940’s.
1940’s Hair styles
Instructions on how to create the terrific hairstyles of World War II.
Heroines of the Past
The American Girls Collection 1944 Meet Molly Series (Complete Set Books 1-6)
Costume BooksEditor’s note: I haven’t actually read the information in these books, I just looked at the beautiful pictures of 1940’s costumes.
The Way We Wore: Styles of the 1930s and '40s and Our World Since Then