Anne Frank Diary Reference
Preparing the Hiding Place
summer 1941 - summer 1942.
Soon after he received the Jansen letter, Otto
decided to go into hiding. The annexe was the best
hiding place available. The following are the arrangements we know about.
I think they did very well in keeping any outsider suspicions and dangers to a minimum
while quite thoroughly addressing different vulnerabilities in the hiding place.
Still, bolded items are things that could pose a danger.
References: HLOF p. 83, 100; CE86 p. 204, 211 (1 July 1942, 9 July 1942);
Anne Frank House CD-ROM; AF:B p. 177; and p. 97, 120, 122 of Miep Gies' book.
See Resources page for the full titles.
- The helpers are brought into the plan and agree to it.
- The children (at least Anne) will be told that they are taking their belongings
to other people to avoid their being seized by the Germans.
- Since the annexe can hold several people, they consider who else to invite. They
rule out the Franks' best friends, the Goslars, because the toddler
would be bound to make noise. Otto and Kleiman
approach Hermann v. Pels, who agrees to join them with
his own family.
- The pharmacist, Lewinsohn, who uses the upstairs
annexe kitchen for a laboratory is a friend of Otto's but they decide to keep him
out of the secret.
They tell him that they need the upper annexe for storage and that he can use the office
- Kleiman's brother, owner of a small cleaning business, is informed of the plan to
hide. One of his employees clears and cleans the annexe.
- They take large furniture items to Kleiman's home first, with the story that they need
specialist cleaning and/or repairs. A neighbor of his, or the bargeman's family
outside the office, could have noticed the furniture traffic.
- From Kleiman's home, his brother picks up the furniture in his cleaning business
van and delivers it to the annexe during weekends and after office hours. That way, the
employees are not there to notice, and there are also few people out on Prinsengracht.
(Indeed, Miep was surprised to see all the furniture when she saw the
annexe in July 1942.)
- Smaller items, including food, utensils, and clothing are easier to move
without suspicion, especially over a long period of time.
- They spread out the moving activities across a great many months. This is undoubtedly to
reduce attracting undue attention.
- They paint over the windows of the front house that face the back house. (This
also protects the spices in storage from the sun.)
- They paste semi-transparent paper over the windows in the connecting corridor at
the top of the stairs that lead to the annexe.
- Several times, without spelling it out for her, Hermann
v. Pels invites Miep to break from work to join him on a trip to a friendly butcher
near the office (on a small side street off the Rozengracht). Each time, he chats with
the man, buys some meat, and returns to the office with Miep. He has come to an
agreement with the man to give
Miep whatever she asks for: the visits are so that the man can recognize her by sight.
(see Miep's book, p. 90-1, 109)
- Kleiman makes an agreement with a friend who owned a chain
of Amsterdam bakeries, Siemons.
The bakery on Raamgracht will
deliver bread to the office two or three times per week. They will pay for as much
as they had coupons for, and will pay the remainder after the war. There was
no cause for external suspicion because the number in hiding was the same as the
number employed there.
- Bep sets aside the office staff's milk bottles for use by the people in hiding.
- Jan Gies is able and willing to buy ration cards illegally through the National
Relief Fund, a resistance group.
- They set a target date for the move: 16 July 1942. In late June 1942,
Otto slowly starts to broach the subject with his youngest daughter,
- To set people on the wrong track regarding their whereabouts, they develop
a ruse to get people to believe
that they'd successfully escaped to Switzerland (a neutral
country), complete with a sign of life from there! (This ruse in fact
worked very well.) p. 220-1, 311 (14 Aug 1942, 17 Nov 1942)
- Although there still are some more things to do in early July, when
Margot is suddenly
called up for labor
service, the hiding place is ready enough.