Educational Travel Lesson Plans

Anne Frank: Lost Child of the Holocaust



Through an in-depth analysis of various primary and secondary sources, including a thorough examination of the young girl’s diary itself, students in this lesson will identify, understand and be able to explain the story of Anne Frank and how her thoughts and feelings expressed in the diary help tell the story of Nazi-occupied Holland and the Holocaust.


European History

World History



Grade Level



90 minutes

Tour Links

  • Anne Frank House, Amsterdam
  • Anne Frank Museum, Berlin
  • Bergen-Belsen Camp, Lower Saxony

Essential Questions

  • Who was Anne Frank? 
  • Why did Anne have to go into hiding?
  • What experiences did she describe in her diary?
  • What happened to Anne Frank and her family after their hiding place was discovered by Nazi troops?
  • Why is her diary studied today, over 60 years after the Second World War?

Key Terms

  • Anne Frank
  • Auschwitz
  • Bergan-Belsen
  • Concentration camp
  • Final Solution to the Jewish Question
  • Nazi
  • Occupied Holland

12 JUNE 1942

I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in to anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support. 


Writing in a diary is a really strange experience for someone like me. Not only because I've never written anything before, but also because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl. Oh well, it doesn't matter. I feel like writing, and I have an even greater need to get all kinds of things off my chest.


Dearest Kitty,

It seems like years since Sunday morning. So much has happened it's as if the whole world had suddenly turned upside down. But as you can see, Kitty, I'm still alive, and that's the main thing, Father says.

I'm alive all right, but don't ask where or how. You probably don't understand a word I'm saying today, so I'll begin by telling you what happened Sunday afternoon.

At three o'clock (Hello had left but was supposed to come back later), the doorbell rang. I didn't hear it, since I was out on the balcony, lazily reading in the sun. A little while later Margot appeared in the kitchen doorway looking very agitated. 'Father has received a call-up notice from the SS,' she whispered. 'Mother has gone to see Mr. van Daan.' (Mr. van Daan is Father's business partner and a good friend.)

I was stunned. A call-up: everyone knows what that means. Visions of concentration camps and lonely cells raced through my head. How could we let Father go to such a fate? 'Of course he's not going,' declared Margot as we waited for Mother in the living-room. 'Mother's gone to Mr. van Daan to ask whether we can move to our hiding place tomorrow. The van Daans are going with us. There will be seven of us altogether.' Silence. We couldn't speak. The thought of Father off visiting someone in the Jewish Hospital and completely unaware of what was happening, the long wait for Mother, the heat, the suspense - all this reduced us to silence.


Dear Kitty,

Now our Secret Annexe 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. It swings out on its hinges and opens like a door. Mr. Voskuijl did the car­pentry work. (Mr. Voskuijl has been told that the seven of us are in hiding, and he's been most helpful.)



Dearest Kitty,

Today I have nothing but dismal and depressing news to report. Our many Jewish friends and acquaintances are being taken away in droves. The Gestapo is treating them very roughly and transporting them in cattle-trucks to Westerbork, the big camp in Drenthe to which they're sending all the Jews. Miep told us about someone who'd managed to escape from there. It must be terrible in Westerbork. There's only one lavatory and sink for several thousand people. Men and women sleep in the same room, and women and children often have their heads shaved. Escape is almost impossible; many people look Jewish, and they're branded by their shorn heads.


Dearest Kitty,

There's something happening every day. This morning Mr. van Hoeven was arrested. He was hiding two Jews in his house. It's a heavy blow for us, not only because those poor Jews are once again balancing on the edge of an abyss, but also because it's terrible for Mr. van Hoeven.

The world's been turned upside down. The most decent people are being sent to concentration camps, prisons and lonely cells, while the lowest of the low rule over young and old, rich and poor. One gets caught for black marketeering, another for hiding Jews or other unfortunate souls. You don't know what's going to happen to you from one day to the next. Mr. van Hoeven is a great loss to us too. Our girls can't possibly lug such huge amounts of potatoes all the way here, nor should they have to, so our only choice is to eat fewer of them. I'll tell you what we have in mind, but it's certainly not going to make life here any more agreeable. Mother says we'll skip breakfast, eat porridge and bread for lunch and fried potatoes for dinner and, if possible, vegetables or lettuce once or twice a week. That's all there is. We're going to be hungry, but nothing's worse than being caught.



Dearest Kitty,

… A voice within me is sobbing, 'You see, that's what's become of you. You're surrounded by negative opinions, dismayed looks and mocking faces, people who dislike you, and all because you don't listen to the advice of your own better half.' Believe me, I'd like to listen, but it doesn't work, because if I'm quiet and serious, everyone thinks I'm putting on a new act and I have to save myself with a joke, and then I'm not even talking about my own family, who assume I must be ill, stuff me with aspirins and sedatives, feel my neck and forehead to see if I have a temperature, ask about my bowel movements and berate me for being in a bad mood, until I just can't keep it up any more, because when everybody starts hovering over me, I get cross, then sad, and finally end up turning my heart inside out, the bad part on the outside and the good part on the inside, and keep trying to find a way to become what I'd like to be and what I could be if ... if only there were no other people in the world.


On 04 Aug 1944, three days after writing her last diary entry, Anne Frank and her family were arrested by the Green Police (the uniformed regular police) after their hiding place in Amsterdam was discovered.  According to Nazi records, the Frank family (Anne, her sister Margot, her mother Edith and her father Otto) was transferred to the Westerbork Transit Camp, an assembly point for Dutch Jews facing deportation to Auschwitz and other concentration camps in Germany or in the German-occupied lands.  Sadly, records also show that the Franks would be put on one of the last trains headed east. 

On 3 Sep 1944, Anne and her family were put on a transport headed to Auschwitz in Poland.  They arrived three days later.  Otto Frank made it through Auschwitz and survived the war, but his family wasn’t as fortunate.  Edith died in Auschwitz in Nov 1944.  On 28 Oct 1944, as Red Army troops closed in on Auschwitz from the east, Anne and her sister were relocated along with more than 8000 women to the Bergen Belsen camp in Germany, where both girls died early in 1945 (sometime between January and March – there are no clear records from that period).  Anne died only a few weeks before the camp was liberated by British troops.

Anne’s diary, discovered and saved by Dutch family friends who had helped hide her family for over two years, was given to her father in July 1945 after the Red Cross confirmed the young girl’s death.  It was eventually published in 1947.  The diary itself, at times the simple ramblings of a young teenage girl, carries messages of depression and hope, sorrow and pain.  Over the years, it has grown in popularity, and has subsequently been published in dozens of languages and has been read by millions of children and adults around the world. 

Through an in-depth analysis of various primary and secondary sources, including a thorough examination of the young girl’s diary itself, students in this lesson will identify, understand and be able to explain the story of Anne Frank and how her thoughts and feelings expressed in the diary help tell the story of Nazi-occupied Holland and the Holocaust.

educational tour image
  1. Students will identify, understand and be able to explain the basic facts of the Nazi’s “final solution to the Jewish question.”
  2. Students will identify, understand and be able to explain Anne Frank’s story as articulated in her diary.
  3. Students will identify, understand and be able to explain how and why Anne Frank’s diary has become an integral part of the story of the Holocaust.

To view resource web pages, download the lesson plan PDF above.

I. Anticipatory Set

  • Writing / Question: What accounts for hatred and brutality towards others? (5 min)
  • Handouts – Copies of the primary sources and readings from the websites listed below. (5 min)

II. Body of Lesson

  • Lecture / PPT – Brief Overview of the Holocaust and Anne Frank’s Diary (20 min)
  • Video – The Short Life of Anne Frank (30 min)
  • Independent Activity – Students read the primary sources and articles about Anne Frank and the Holocaust, taking notes as appropriate. (15 min)
  • Suggestion: Have the students read some of these articles for homework before class to prepare for class discussion.
  • Suggestion: EVERY student should read the Diary of Anne Frank in its entirety.  Most students should be able to read and understand the Diary within one week.
  • For advanced, AP or IB students, reading Elie Wiesel’s book Night (along with Anne Frank’s Diary) is appropriate.
  • Group Activity – Discussion on Anne Frank and the Holocaust. (15 min)

III. Closure

  • Assessment – Essay / DBQ: Explain in detail the story of Anne Frank and how her thoughts and feelings expressed in the diary help tell the story both of Nazi occupied Holland and of the Holocaust.


On tour: Anne Frank House in Amsterdam

While on tour, students in Amsterdam can visit the Anne Frank House and Museum, where they can see for themselves Anne’s “Secret Annex”, where she and her family hid for over two years and where she wrote most of the entries in her diary.  In 1960, the house was opened as a museum, and since 2007 it has accommodated over 1 million visitors per year.  The museum is open every day.  Be advised that the first activity students will participate in is a showing of a film that contains graphic images of children in concentration camps. 

On tour: Anne Frank Museum in Berlin

While on tour, students in Berlin can visit the Anne Frank Museum (Zentrum) at 39 Rosenthaler Strasse.  Opened in 1998 in cooperation with the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, the museum is dedicated to combating Anti-Semitism, racism and discrimination.


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