History has had a profound effect on the arts, whether it be literature, theatre or cinema. Tragically, the Holocaust has been the subject of many books and movies. The Diary of Anne Frank portrays the true life experiences of a young girl captured in the tormenting agony of the Holocaust.
Anne Frank, her parents and younger sister went into hiding at the Nazi takeover in Holland. They were sheltered and cared for by Miep Gies and her husband Jan from July 1942 until August 1944. We can only assume that at this time they were betrayed. During her time in hiding, Anne kept a diary. This diary is now a world-famous book. It is Anneís life in her own words as she was growing up in a terrifying time. This book has sold fifty million copies in over fifty countries. It is important for us to understand why these people were in hiding and how history and policies of the German people affected the lives of this Jewish family.
Ignorance and hatred of the Jews was apparent long before Hitler. In early years of Christianity, Jews were called Christ killers. They were considered Christianís most vicious enemy. They were believed to have poisoned wells and caused years of plague. They were thought to have killed innocent children using their blood during religious ceremonies.(Rogasky, 10) Therefore Jews rarely lived in peace. Christians believed it was a sin to lend money and charge interest on it. So Jews took on this job. Jews were used to collect taxes, supervise peasant farmers. They became the moneylenders.(Spencer, Chartock,115) This is the basis for ideas that Jews were rich and that they controlled all the money. Of course, people with money are always resented.
In the 1700ís Jews were expelled from many countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Germany. In Russia, the Ukraine and Romania, hundreds of Jews died in pograms which were planned surprise attacks against defenseless Jewish communities. Between 1900 and 1904, at least fifty thousand Jews lives were lost. It was easy for Hitler to build on this hatred and prejudice against the Jews. The word anti-Semitism was invented in 1873. The Jews were called Semites. They were thought of as race for the first time. Therefore you were Jewish by birth and blood not by belief. Anti-Jewish books and pamphlets appeared and were read by everyone. In Germany, anti-Semitism became an organized movement during the late 19th century.(Rogasky,14)
Adolf Hitler was born in 1889 in Austria and went to Germany in 1913. He served in the German army in the First World War and was wounded twice. When Hitler returned to Germany after the war he found his adopted country to be in turmoil. Unemployment was extremely high, and groups were starting revolutions. Dozens of new political organizations and parties appeared. Each party claimed to know the answers to solve the problems the country was having. Most of these groups were patriotic, antidemocratic, and very anti-Semitic. Hitler was a member of one of these groups. He joined a small group, which called themselves the Nazis. With Hitlerís amazing ability as a speaker and his magnetic personality the party grew. Its program promised jobs, food and education to all Germans. During the depression Germany was falling apart. Hitler and the young Nazi party tried to take over the government during this period. They failed and Hitler was arrested and spent nine months in jail. When Hitler was in jail, he wrote a book called Mein Kampf, which was also called the bible of the Nazi movement. Part biography and part manifesto, it preaches th superiority of the Aryan races. The Jews were members of a distinct, inferior race. It was the antethesis of the German race. (Spencer, Chartock,171) After Hitler got out of jail, the party began to grow in size and popularity. The party found a reason for the loss of the war and named the Jews as the chief enemy of the German way of life. Hitler however did the most to bring the people to the Nazi party. He controlled his audiences. They did whatever the man with the penetrating blue eyes and small mustache wanted them to do. On January 30, 1933 he was made chancellor of Germany. Within a year