The Diary of Anne Frank

by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett

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How do historical events manifest in The Diary of Anne Frank?

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Historical events are reflected in the play The Diary of Anne Frank by the retelling of the true story of Anne Frank, and everything that the Frank family endured while in hiding from Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. The play is based on Anne’s diary, which is a real-life account of life for a young Jew in hiding during World War II.

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The play titled The Diary of Anne Frank is based on the book titled The Diary of a Young Girl. It tells the true story of a young Jewish girl named Anne Frank who, together with her family, must go into hiding in a secret annex in Amsterdam during World War II to escape the tyranny of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party and the Holocaust. As Anne’s diary explains in act I, scene I of this poignant play, “things got very bad for the Jews.”

The historical background portrayed in the play is all based on fact, and since the diary is the legitimate, almost unedited account of somebody who lived through these horrific circumstances, it is an excellent reflection of historical fact.

Early on in Anne’s diary, we are told about the restrictions placed on the everyday lives of Jews in Amsterdam prior to the Frank family going into hiding. For example, they had to wear big yellow stars to identify themselves, and Anne recounts that she couldn’t go to the movies or ride in a car. All these limitations are based on historical fact. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Hitler’s reign of terror led many Jewish families into hiding, and these historical events are reflected in Anne’s diary.

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One of the historical events that’s reflected in the play adaptation of Anne Frank’s diaries is the Nazi invasion of Holland. As Anne says, the Nazis invaded her home country on May 10, 1940—a month before her eleventh birthday. The arrival of the Nazi produced a chain of other historical events that are addressed and reflected in the play.

One of those events involves the laws and policies that the Nazis enacted once they took over Holland. As they did throughout Europe, the Nazis enacted a series of anti-Semitic policies aimed at separating Jewish people from the general population. These prejudiced edicts are reflected in the play when Anne explains that she can’t go to the movies, go to the theater, ride a bike, visit a swimming pool, or go to the library.

Another historical event reflected in the play is the growing power and allure of movies. As noted earlier, Anne was prohibited from seeing movies. Yet while hiding in the attic, Anne could keep up with developments about her favorite stars through certain movie magazines. Anne’s fondness for movies reflects the historically significant role that film played in people’s lives. Movies weren’t only a form of entertainment: they also provided news and a way for all of the countries involved in World War Two to disseminate relevant propaganda.

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The play The Diary of Anne Frank is based on the real diary of the young Anne Frank. It reflects the historical circumstances of the World War II period in which Nazi Germany occupied the Netherlands, the Franks' home.

The play opens with Otto Frank, Anne's father, returning to the annex where he hid out with his family and another Jewish family, the Van Daans, during World War II until they were all arrested. His friend Miep Gies joins him there and gives him Anne's diary. Otto reads aloud from it, and the play reconstructs their time in hiding

The chief historical event reflected in the play is the Jewish Holocaust. The Jewish Franks and Van Daans were in hiding because the Nazis were rounding up Jews in the Netherlands and deporting them to concentration camps for extermination. The Franks were upstanding, contributing citizens who had committed no crime but to be born Jewish.

The play also reflects the real history of the Netherlands in the time period. As an occupied nation, the country was stripped of resources to fuel the Nazi War machine. Especially near the end of the war, as the Nazis were losing, food deprivation in the Netherlands became acute, which is reflected in the hunger of the Franks and van Daans, who must subsist on meagre rations for three when there are eight of them. While they get angry and quarrelsome over the lack of food, their situation reflected that of almost all the Dutch at that time, when everyone faced acute hunger.

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