The Secret Annexe

The Secret Annexe was actually just an old factory where Otto Frank used to work. There was an old house built into the back of it. That is where the eight Jews stayed during two years of the Second World War. The Secret Annexe was described to be, small and uncomfortable. There were only a few rooms in the house, so the families had to share between themselves. Anne shared a room with Dr. Dussel. Otto, Edith, and Margot shared a room. Mr. and Mrs. Van Daan shared a room, and Peter got his own small room with the stairs leading to the attic. Besides the bedrooms, the only other rooms in the Secret Annexe were the attic and bathroom. There was a kitchen, but it was in the bottom floor of the house, which wasn't considered part of the Secret Annexe.

The Secret Annexe was above street level but that didn't mean that people walking by couldn't see Anne and the other people. The first day that Anne and her family moved in, they made dark curtains to hang up over the windows so no one could see inside the Annexe. The "curtains" weren't actually real curtains. They were only loose strips of material, all different shapes, quality and pattern, which Anne and her father sewed together in a very "unprofessional" way. As Anne said, "These works of art are fixed in position with drawing pins, not to come down until we emerge from here."

At first, the Secret Annexe was not exactly considered safe. There was an obvious entrance to the above-street-level floors. The Franks, Van Daans, and Dr. Dussel could easily be found and captured, so they came up with an idea to make the Secret Annexe really safe. They made a book shelf, and attached it to the doorway so it would swing open and closed for the people to get in and out of. This was just like a secret door.

Anne and her companions were not allowed to leave the Secret Annexe for anything. If they did, they would be captured and taken away to a concentration camp. They obviously needed food and water so they, very much, needed someone to get it for them. There were a couple of people who helped the people living in the Secret Annexe. They brought whatever anyone really wanted and needed. Miep Gies, Bep Voskuijl, Victor Kuglar, Kraler, and Johannes Kleiman were all a great help to Anne, her family, the Van Daans, and Dr. Dussel. Without them, they all would have been captured much earlier, and lived a much shorter life.

The Secret Annexe is located at 263 Prinsengracht, in Amsterdam. It is actually now a museum. After the war, the house continued to be used as a business office. By 1957, it had fallen into such disrepair that there were plans to demolish it. Many people were against the demolition, some of which helped Otto Frank in setting up the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. They succeeded in saving the building, which was opened to the public in 1960. Visitors to the premises of numbers 263 and 265 Prinsengracht can both see the actual Secret Annexe, and also view exhibitions set up throughout the building on anti-Semitism, the history and ideology of the Nazis, and the Netherlands during the Second World War, as well as a display of the original diaries of Anne Frank.