David Colbert's most recent book is the New York Times bestseller Michelle Obama: An American Story. In addition to the 10 Days series, he authored the acclaimed Eyewitness series of first-person history and the Magical Worlds series for children. More than two million copies of his books are in print in almost thirty languages.
Read an Excerpt
Secret Annex. 11:20 a.m.
Anne closes her notebook and stretches her arms above her head. She has spent most of the morning on math problems her father assigned. He is still upstairs teaching Peter the day's English lesson, though, so she takes her diary off the shelf instead.
Glancing up to make sure her mother has not noticed, Anne thumbs through the diary's handwritten pages to the back. She comes across an entry written two months earlier and happily reads again the wonderful news she was able to report on that day:
Tuesday, 6 June, 1944
"This is D-day," came the announcement over the English news and quite rightly, "this is the day." The invasion has begun!
Great commotion in the "secret annex"! Would the long-awaited liberation that has been talked of so much, but which still seems too wonderful, too much like a fairy tale, ever come true? Could we be granted victory this year, 1944? We don't know yet, but hope is revived within us; it gives us fresh courage, and makes us strong again.
Oh, Kitty, the best part of the invasion is that I have the feeling that friends are approaching. We have been oppressed by those terrible Germans for so long, they have had their knives so at our throats, that the thought of friends and delivery fills us with confidence!...I may yet be able to go back to school in September or October.
Everyone listened to the radio that evening, joyful and smiling as reporters told how soldiers from the Allied forces the United States, Britain, Canada, and other countries were battling Germans along the coastline of Normandy, France. They're so close, Margot had said happily. It's only a matter of time now, Mrs. Frank agreed.
Her parents and the van Pelses had danced and laughed all evening, as loud as they dared, and their joy remained long after Anne's fifteenth birthday, six days later. Even Dr. Pfeffer was happier than she had ever known him to be.
Miep brought newspapers so Anne and the others could continue to follow the progress of the Allied forces. Mr. Frank found a map of Western Europe in one of them, and he cut it out and attached it to the wall in the annex. Every time the BBC or newspapers report a new location of fighting between the Allies and the Germans, Mr. Frank places a pin on the map. The pins have been gradually approaching the Netherlands, which means the Allies are winning. Anne is sure it will be only a few more weeks before the Allies drive Hitler's soldiers out of Amsterdam.
For now, it's back to less exciting thoughts: She knows her father will expect to see some of the math problems completed when he and Peter finish for lunch. First, however, she flips through the last few pages before closing her diary, the entry she wrote on July 15, 1944, catches her attention: "...in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart."
I'll keep that part in when I revise the section tonight, she promises herself, and then reaches for her math book.
While Anne thinks about her diary and works on the math problems her father has assigned, Miep is in the office, finishing some paperwork before the lunch break.
A stranger enters the building and walks straight to her desk. From his pocket, he draws a gun and points it at her. He orders her not to speak and not to move. She can tell at once that he's not a robber. He's a plainclothes police officer.
The company manager, Mr. Kugler, hearing the unfamiliar voice, comes out of his office to investigate. The policeman tells them that someone just called the police station to report that Jews are hiding here. He motions Mr. Kugler back inside his office, and then follows him. The office door closes firmly behind them.
Miep desperately wants to warn Mr. Frank and the others, to somehow get them down the stairs and away to safety. She knows that's impossible. Besides, there's nowhere for the families to go.
Maybe he won't find the annex, she thinks. She wonders if he'll question her closely, and reminds herself of the lies she has practiced. Suddenly she remembers the illegal food ration cards she uses for the annex residents. With shaking hands, she removes the cards from her purse and jams them in a desk drawer.
Unaware of what has just happened, her husband Jan arrives. She whispers to him that something is wrong and passes him the illegal ration cards. He nods in understanding, hides the cards in his clothing, and immediately leaves. Along with helping the Franks, he's a member of a secret group that organizes a lot of activities against the Germans. Much as he might want to stand by Miep right now, he has a responsibility to avoid being caught.
Within minutes, several policemen arrive. One is wearing the uniform of the Gestapo, a German police force under the command of the SS. Mr. Kugler is ordered to lead their way up the stairs toward the entrance to the secret annex. One of the policemen uses the office telephone to call for a police van.
Miep knows for certain that the fugitives have been found.
A few moments later she hears the officers open the movable bookcase that covers the annex entrance.
Inside the annex, Anne, Margot, and Mrs. Frank are the first to see the policemen. There's no need for the officers to tell the women not to move. They're paralyzed with fear.
Officers spread throughout the annex, bringing all the annex residents into the front room at gunpoint.
Revealing the cheap thuggery that defines so much of the Nazi attitude toward non-Germans, the police immediately demand the families' valuables. Mr. Frank points to a small wooden chest in a nearby closet. One of the officers opens the box and dumps its contents onto the floor. Then he opens Mr. Frank's briefcase and does the same. Anne's diary falls from it and lands among the scattered papers. The officers sort through the items, collecting anything that might be of value. They ignore the diary.
The prisoners are escorted to the police van waiting outside the building. Mr. Kugler and Mr. Kleiman are also arrested. Miep is safe for now, only because one of the senior officers is Austrian. When he learns she's Austrian too, he gives her a break.
After the automobile pulls away, Miep and Bep go into the annex. The Franks' cupboard drawers have been yanked open and the floor is littered with books and papers the police left behind. Miep sees Anne's diary and some loose papers with Anne's handwriting on the floor. She picks them up, along with a photograph album, a few books, and a small fabric bag embroidered with the initials "AF." Back downstairs, she gently places Anne's diary, papers, bag, and photographs into her desk drawer. She decides to keep them for Anne, refusing to accept the possibility that the Franks may never return.
Meanwhile, the prisoners are driven to Gestapo headquarters in the southern section of Amsterdam and locked in a cell. Mr. Frank whispers to Mr. Kleiman, who risked his life to help the Franks: "You can't imagine how I feel, Kleiman. To think that you are sitting here among us, that we are to blame...."
"Don't give it another thought," Mr. Kleiman says. "It was up to me, and I wouldn't have done it any differently."
The two non-Jews, Mr. Kleiman and Mr. Kugler, are soon taken away to be questioned separately.
The captured fugitives spend their first night away from the secret annex in a Gestapo jail cell still together. It has been twenty-five months since the morning Miep and Margot pedaled to the annex from the Franks' apartment.
Anne Frank 4.3 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
This is an interesting read for those who have spent their lives studying Anne Frank. It may bring the reader to question if only one of these days had been different?
More than 1 year ago
Can you belive 10 days can change someones life. In my school I had to be Anne Frank for a school play. I already have her diary but I wanted to look at the events more in depth and I cant wait for the play after reading this I think I am going to be the best one on stage
More than 1 year ago
Before all of this i knew nothing about anne frank but now i am interested and eager to learn more on anne frank and the haloucaust i did this for a booreport and highley reccomend this book to anyone who wants to know about anne frank and is interested about ww2 or history because this plays a big role in it ps spoiler anne and margot die teehee
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