Anne Frank Stichting
Lessen over holocaust, discriminatie en vooroordelen in heden en verleden.

Anne Frank, the secret annex

Anne Frank, the secret annex
1 / 13
Slide 1: Tekstslide
HistoryPrimary Education

In deze les zitten 13 slides, met interactieve quizzen, tekstslides en 2 videos.

time-iconLesduur is: 45 min


The Secret Annex: the place where Anne Frank lived in hiding for over two years during the Second World War. Students are introduced to the Secret Annex through two videos and a look inside the digital Secret Annex. Interactive questions are used as prompts for a discussion about Anne’s life in the Secret Annex. The lesson ends with a critical thinking question about the Secret Annex as it is today.


You can use this lesson as a starting point for your lessons on the Second World War or in preparation for a visit to the Anne Frank House.

Tip: Prepare by watching the videos from the lesson, visiting the digital Secret Annex, and reading the teacher’s guide in advance.

Onderdelen in deze les

Anne Frank, the secret annex

Slide 1 - Tekstslide

Introduction slide

Look around the Secret Annex: the place where Anne Frank lived in hiding for over two years during the Second World War. 
Step inside

Slide 2 - Tekstslide

Introduction slide

With the students, enter the digital Secret Annex through the link on the slide. Here, you’ll see the Secret Annex as it looked during Anne Frank’s time in hiding. You can turn around for a 360-degree view of every room. You start on the landing with the bookcase. By clicking on the doors, you enter the next room.

We recommend simply ‘walking’ around the rooms and looking closely at the decor. If they like, the students can afterwards access the website to read the additional information and watch the videos found in each room. Or you could introduce the additional information when desired. Additional information about Anne Frank’s room can be found on slides 8 and 9.

‘At the top of the stairs is another door with a frosted window on which the word “Office” is written in black letters. This is the big front office — very large, very light and very full. Bep, Miep and Mr Kleiman work there during the day. After passing through an alcove containing a safe, a wardrobe and a big supply cupboard, you come to the small, dark, stuffy back office.’ 
9 July 19429 juli 1942
‘To the right of the stairs is a windowless washroom with a sink and a separate toilet.’ 
9 July 1942
‘Now our Secret Annex has truly become secret. Because so many houses are being searched for hidden bicycles, Mr Kugler thought it would be better to have a bookcase built in front of the entrance to our hiding place. Mr Voskuijl did the carpentry work.’ 
21 August 1942
‘The large warehouse on the ground floor is used as a workroom and storeroom and is divided into several different sections, such as the stockroom and the milling room where cinnamon, cloves and a pepper substitute are ground.’ 
9 July 1942
‘Just as we thought, Mr Dussel is a very nice man. Of course, he didn’t mind sharing a room with me; to be honest, I’m not exactly delighted at having a stranger use my things, but you have to make sacrifices for a good cause, and I’m glad I can make this small one. “If we can save even one of our friends, the rest doesn’t matter,” said Father, and he’s absolutely right.’ 
19 November 1942
‘Even though it’s Saturday, I’m not bored! That’s because I’ve been up in the attic with Peter. I sat there dreaming with my eyes closed, and it was wonderful.’ 
18 March 1944

Slide 3 - Sleepvraag

Anne Frank described the rooms of the Secret Annex in her diary. Have the students drag the descriptions to the correct rooms.

On 6 July 1942, Anne and her parents went into hiding at Prinsengracht 263. Why did they pick that particular day?
They hadn’t managed to emigrate to America, Canada, or Switzerland.
Otto Frank’s business premises were at Prinsengracht 263. The property had an annex that wasn’t used.
Margot Frank received a letter saying she had to go to a labour camp.
The Frank family heard more and more rumours about the poor conditions in the labour camps.
The Nazis introduced more and more laws and regulations that made the lives of Jews more difficult.

Slide 4 - Poll

Answer: Margot Frank received a letter saying she had to go to a labour camp.
Otto Frank had been preparing a hiding place in the annex of his business premises for some time because of the reasons given in the other answers to this question. The decisive factor in going into hiding on 6 July was the letter Margot received in July 1942. The next slide shows a picture of the letter.

From 1 September 1941, Jewish pupils could only be taught by Jewish teachers in separate Jewish schools.
On 3 June 1945, Otto Frank returned to Amsterdam as the only survivor of the eight people from the Secret Annex.
In 1943, the bookcase was installed.
On 4 August 1944, the people from the Secret Annex were discovered, arrested, and imprisoned.
In July 1941, the first Jews in the Netherlands received call-ups for the labour camps. Margot received her letter in July 1942, which caused the Frank family to go into hiding earlier.
On 13 July 1942, the Van Pels family moved into the Secret Annex.
From 15 September 1941, public places, such as sports clubs, swimming pools, parks, and zoos, were ‘Forbidden for Jews’. Margot was no longer allowed to go to the rowing club.
On 16 November 1942, Fritz Pfeffer was the last to move into the Secret Annex.
On 6 July 1942, the Frank family went into hiding.

Slide 5 - Sleepvraag

Duration: 1’34’’ 

Watch the video.
In this video, students learn more about the bookcase and how the people in hiding lived every day in fear of being discovered.

Slide 6 - Video

Duration: 1’34’’

Watch the video.
In this video, students learn more about the bookcase and how the people in hiding lived every day in fear of being discovered.

Every day, the people in hiding were terrified of being discovered. What could they do during the day in the Secret Annex?
flushing the toilet
listening to the radio
playing outside
playing sports

Slide 7 - Sleepvraag

Have the students drag the activities the people in hiding could and could not do to the appropriate columns. Then engage the students in a discussion.

For example, discuss what they do on a regular day, and what they wouldn’t be able to do if they were in Anne’s situation. You could add answers by clicking on the pen at the bottom of the screen. Emphasise here that Anne lived with the fear of being discovered every day and that this was the main reason why she could or could not do certain things.

Before going into hiding, Anne had started collecting postcards and pictures of movie stars.
‘Up to now, our bedroom, with its blank walls, was very bare. Thanks to Father — who brought my entire postcard and movie-star collection here beforehand — and to a brush and a pot of glue, I was able to plaster the walls with pictures. It looks much more cheerful.’ 
Anne Frank, 11 July 1942
She expanded her collection with new pictures from magazines brought in by the helpers. She would take some pictures down, add new ones, or paste them over older ones.

Slide 8 - Tekstslide

Informational slide
Anne Frank’s room was one of the places in the Secret Annex where she spent most of her time. Check out the hot spots on this slide and enter her room through the link. Look around and highlight some of the pictures she pasted on her wall.

At first glance, the pictures are a motley collection. But they tell us about Anne’s life, her dreams, and how her interests changed while she was in hiding. Use the open-ended question on the next slide to discuss what students have learned about Anne.

What did you learn about Anne from seeing her room? 

Slide 9 - Open vraag

Discuss the students’ answers. Explanations can be found in the video on the next slide.

Slide 10 - Video

Duration: 1’41’’

On 3 May 1960, Anne’s old hiding place was turned into a museum: the Anne Frank House.

Otto Frank wanted to leave the rooms in the Secret Annex empty.

Slide 11 - Tekstslide

Informational slide

Why do you think Otto Frank wanted to leave the rooms in the Secret Annex empty?

Slide 12 - Open vraag

Discuss the students’ answers.

Explanation: ‘After the Anne Frank House had been restored, they asked me if I wanted to have the rooms refurnished. But I said, “No. They took everything out during the war, and I want to keep it that way.”’ Otto Frank in Het Vrije Volk, 24 May 1962

‘I beg your forgiveness if I do not speak from this house anymore. You will understand that the memories of everything that happened here are too painful. I can only thank you all for the interest you have shown by coming here.’
Otto Frank, during the opening of the Anne Frank House, 3 May 1960

‘We cannot change what happened anymore. The only thing we can do is to learn from the past and to realise what discrimination and persecution of innocent people mean. I believe that it’s everyone’s responsibility to fight prejudice.’ Otto Frank, 1970.

Otto Frank, 1970.

Slide 13 - Tekstslide

Last slide
A quote to end the lesson with a message from Otto Frank.