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The Diary of a Young Girl

by Anne Frank

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What problems did the people in the secret annex face in The Diary of Anne Frank?

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Aside from the overriding fear of being discovered by the Nazis, here are some problems that the residents of the annex faced:

  • They are forced to keep the windows curtained and they could not make any noise--no flushing of toilet or bathing. no walking around, etc.--during the day while workers...

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  • are present.
  • They have no access to a physician if they get sick, and because they are all enclosed together, everyone can become ill.  Anne writes on October 29,1942,

I'm very worried. Father's sick...It looks like measles. Just think, we can't even call a doctor! Mother is making him perspire in hopes of sweating out the fever.

  • They are confined 24 hours a day in a small area, a situation in which tensions among residents can easily occur. Aside from Anne's homesickness and her "yearning for Moortje," Anne conflicts with her sister Margot, her mother, her father, Peter, and the dentist, Mr. Dussel, whom she finds querulous and fussy.

Mr. Dussel makes up everything as he goes along, and anyone wishing to contradict His Majesty had better think twice.

  • When the owner of the building sells it without informing Mr. Kugler and Mr. Kleiman, who hide the Jewish fugitives, the residents of the annex are terrified that they will be discovered. Fortunately, Mr. Kleiman was in the office and toured the gentleman around, keeping him from seeing the secret annex.
  • The residents' clothing is wearing out, their food in shortage, and they do not know how long the war will last or if they can hide until its end. 
  • There is artillery fire outside the building; the residents do not know if the city will be bombed or shots will stray into the annex.
  • Jealousies and antipathies develop as a result of such living with others who are not family.  For instance, on March 25,1944, Mrs. van Daan complains about the rice given to Mr. Kleiman: "All we do is give, give, give....Why should we give away all our supplies?" Anne counters that they should supply the man who is helping them. Further, 
  • Anne's puberty and her growing awareness of the opposite sex becomes a problem with the proximity of the teen-aged Peter. Anne conflicts with her sister Margot, and Mr. and Mrs. Frank conflict with Anne over her being alone with Peter.
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