The Secret Annex
The Secret Annex has been restored to its original state and left practically untouched – from the bedroom still decorated with pictures of movie stars, dancers and artwork to the front office window where Anne tried to steal a secret glance of the outside world. Most visitors are struck by the size of the rooms in the Secret Annex: it seems almost unimaginable that 8 people spent 2 years hiding in these 75 square metres. When Anne looked out the window she gazed upon a large, white chestnut tree. She frequently wrote about this tree in her diary and described how it changed throughout the seasons. Unfortunately, the tree is now no longer there, but its cuttings have been spread around the world so Anne’s tree continues to grow and flourish. The church clock of the Westerkerk is still visible from the Secret Annex. When the church chimes ring, you can visualise the diary even more, as Anne loved the sound of the chimes and often mentioned the church in her diary. The original version of it is also on display in the Anne Frank House.
The diary begins on 12 June 1942, when Anne received the diary as a gift for her 13th birthday. Her last entry was on 1 August 1944. Three days later, on 4 August, life in the Secret Annex was brutally interrupted. The people in hiding had been betrayed and all 8 were arrested and deported. Only Otto Frank survived the war. When he recovered Anne’s diary after the war, he decided to publish it. The diary has been translated into more than 70 languages, which exceeds the number of translations of any other Dutch-language book in history. To date, over 30 million copies have been sold.