The Diary of Anne Frank Summary

Summary

Act 1
The play The Diary of Anne Frank opens in November 1945 with Otto Frank’s return to the attic rooms where he, his family, the Van Daans, and Mr. Dussell lived in hiding during the Nazi occupation of Holland. He enters the upstairs rooms carrying a rucksack. He moves slowly around the room and picks up a scarf, which he puts around his neck. As he bends down to pick up a glove, he breaks down. Hearing his cries, Miep Gies comes up the stairs, asking if he is all right and begging him not to stay up in the rooms. Mr. Frank says that he has come to say goodbye, that he is leaving Amsterdam though he doesn’t yet know where he is going. As he is about to leave, Miep gives him a pile of papers that were left behind after the Gestapo came and took everyone away. Mr. Frank tells her to burn them, but Miep insists that he look at the papers. She puts Anne’s diary in his hand. Mr. Frank opens the diary and begins to read the first entry, dated July 6, 1942, aloud. Gradually, Anne’s voice joins his and then Mr. Frank’s voice subsides. Anne describes how bad the situation got for the Jews in Holland after the German conquest. Her diary recounts the Franks’ final morning at home, as they tried to make it appear they had fled the country. Instead, they went to the building where Mr. Frank had his business to go into hiding.

The next scene takes place in July 1942 in the attic where the families will hide. The Van Daans are waiting for the Franks. When they arrive, accompanied by Miep and Mr. Kraler, introductions are made between the two families; with the exception of the men, no one knows each other. After Miep and Mr. Kraler leave to get ready for work, Mr. Frank explains the rules: during the day, when the workers are downstairs, they cannot move around, speak above a whisper, or run any water. Then all of them begin to settle down and unpack their meager belongings before the workday begins. Anne tries to get acquainted with Peter and manages to find out that they attended the same school, but she immediately recognizes how shy he is. On this first day in hiding, Mr. Frank gives Anne the diary.

It is now two months later. Six o’clock has come, so everyone can move around. Anne has taken Peter’s shoes, and in his attempt to get them back, they scuffle. Peter flees to his room, leaving Anne to wish that he were more fun. Dancing around the room, Anne spills milk on Mrs. Van Daan’s fur coat, which causes the woman to storm angrily from the room. Mr. Van Daan follows, and Mrs. Frank warns Anne to be more courteous to their guests and reminds her that everyone is under great strain. She asks Anne to be more like Margot, who is more distant. Anne runs to her room.

Alone, Mrs. Frank and Margot begin to prepare supper. Mrs. Frank confides that she had asked Mr. Frank not to invite the Van Daans to share their hiding place, but he had insisted. At that moment, the buzzer sounds, signaling Mr. Kraler or Miep. Mr. Kraler arrives with a question: Miep’s boyfriend has a Jewish friend who has no place to hide. Can Mr. Dussel stay with them for a few nights? Mr. Frank immediately tells Mr. Kraler to bring Mr. Dussel upstairs. He will share Anne’s room. Mr. Frank serves cognac as a welcome. Mr. Dussel tells them what has been taking place in Amsterdam since they went into hiding. The first news is good, that people believe the Franks escaped to Switzerland. But he also tells them that hundreds of Jews are sent to death camps each day, including Anne’s friends. Mr. Frank puts a stop to the conversation. Anne shows Mr. Dussel to the room they will share.

In the next scene, Anne’s screams from a nightmare wake everyone up. Her parents rush into the room, but Anne sends her mother away and asks...

(The entire section is 1541 words.)