ABOUT THE PLAY
The historical facts about the Frank family are few and well known. Mr. and Mrs.
Frank were members of wealthy and aristocratic families in Frankfurt-an-Main who in
1933 fled from Germany to Amsterdam where their children, Anne and Margot, grew
up speaking Dutch. On her eleventh birthday – June 12, 1942 – Anne received a diary
for a present. A few days later, the Germans began rounding up all the Jews in
Holland. The Franks went into hiding in the back rooms of an office building and
warehouse behind Mr. Frank’s place of business. They were joined by another family,
Mr. and Mrs. Van Daan and their son Peter, and a dentist named Dussel. For two
years, these eight people lived in four small rooms and an attic, never venturing
outside, living on inadequate food supplies smuggled into them by loyal Dutch friends.
Their hopes soared in July 1944 when the Allies invaded Normandy, but soon after the
Germans raided their secret Annex. Of the eight refugees, only Mr. Frank survived.
Anne died in Belsen. Her diary was found by Dutch friends after the Gestapo raid.
The Diary of Anne Frank is the story of the intellectual, emotional, and physical
growth of an adolescent girl living under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.
Though often precocious in her insights, Anne remains a normal little girl who collects
pictures of movie stars, misses school and friends, and has the normal quota of high
spirits. Al1 the time she watched and recorded the often-unsatisfactory behavior of the
grown-ups around her. Yet not even Anne herself goes uncriticized in her pages as she
describes her progress to maturity.
There were times of celebration and times when she was scared by the sounds of the
bombings outside. There were moments of despair, but there were few and not of long
duration, for Anne Frank was naturally cheerful and courageous. It would be nice to
say that the threat of the holocaust brought out the best in others, but fear, lack of
food, close living conditions, and simple boredom led more often than not to friction,
recriminations, quarrels. And because Anne was wittier, more imaginative, more
curious than the others, life was especially difficult for her.
In one of her late entries, Anne writes, “I must uphold my ideals for perhaps the time
wil1 come when I shall be able to carry them out.” The Nazis destroyed that time for
Anne, but the time can and does come to those who read this truly extraordinary book
and take it to heart.
Richard Gidez for SCCT
This first appeared in the July 1981 Boal Barn program