The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

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What does Anne Frank mean when she says they have "freedom after five"? 

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Domenick Franecki eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Anne Frank is hiding with her family and others in a hidden room on the top floor of a warehouse in Amsterdam. During the day, she and the others who are hiding in the so-called Secret Annex cannot make noise, as it might rouse suspicion. A worker who hears them can summon the police, which will result in certain deportation and probable death at the hands of the Nazis for Anne and the others. After five o'clock in the afternoon, however, the workers in the warehouse have gone home. At around 5:30 each afternoon, Bep, one of the people who helps hide the Franks and the other residents of the Secret Annex, stops by to let them know everyone has gone home and to ask if they need any groceries. The residents of the Secret Annex can then spread out to the office space downstairs until dinner is prepared, and they can feel free to make more noise because the workers have gone home.

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The Diary of Anne Frank chronicles the experience of teenage girl, her family and a number of their acquaintances who spent months in hiding from the Nazis in a small apartment above a warehouse. The family had been living in Germany but were forced to flee to Amsterdam, and then were forced into hiding when the Nazis invaded Holland.

Hiding Jews was a crime and so the owners of the warehouse risked arrest as well. The family and the other people living with them in their hiding place had to be quiet during daytime working hours, so that they would not be discovered and turned over to the military police. Anne's comment that they had "freedom after five" means that once the warehouse workers were done working for that day (after five o'clock), the family in hiding could move about and even speak softly, because the risk of discovery was lessened greatly in the evening and overnight. They still could not use lights or make noise to attract attention to themselves, but unlike their daytime hours, they did not have to remain still and silent.

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