Anne Frank’s Resistance

The Diary of Anne Frank is one of the most honest and informative recordings of life during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Her writings tell of her days in hiding in Amsterdam while the Nazis were trying to round up all Jews for the concentration camps. Her accounts show how, even though she and her family were in hiding, they still participated in the Dutch resistance. They Nazis had placed restrictions on almost everything for the Dutch people. The Nazis tried to recruit German supporters in every country they occupied. Many of these restrictions can be found Anne’s diary. The Dutch people and the members of the Secret Annex defied the Nazi control of media and religion by counteracting with restrictions of their own. To rebel against the restrictions on the media, the Dutch people, the Franks, and the van Daans, listened to the BBC instead of German broadcasts and refused to read German books; and also revolted against the restrictions on religion by practicing their own faiths and remaining devout despite persecution.

The residents of the Netherlands and the members of the Secret Annex resisted the Nazi control of the media by listening to illegal radio broadcasts, and reading non-German books. The Nazis restricted the media to the people and filled what forms were available to them with pro-German propaganda and lies. The Nazis wanted to control all forms of media and the movement of information. In 1944, the SS arrested, convicted, and executed a woman for revealing the name of a camp. It was Auschwitz (Auschwitz). Nazis wanted to reign supreme and dominate all the people the ruled. The Dutch opposed Nazi Control from the very beginning, and found small ways to resist them. The Dutch would boo at the German newsreels. Since the Nazis controlled the newspapers, many Dutch individuals took it upon themselves to produce and distribute underground papers. This was highly illegal and my people lost their lives for such activities (Resistance). Underground newspapers informed the Dutch people about the movements of the Allies, the update on the war effort, and rallied those willing to participating in Anti-Nazi movements. The Franks and van Daans, along with many Dutch citizens, participated in this form of resistance by listening to the BBC (Resistance). The Nazis made it illegal to listen to the BBC and other outside forms of radio communication in hopes to brainwash the people of the occupied countries and break all spirits of rebellion. The Nazis didn’t want the Dutch to listen to broadcasts that reported on the movements of the Allies and the invasions of German control nations for fear of giving hope and inspiring rebellion among the people. The BBC was a source of hope to those in hiding and to the people of the occupied nations. In July 1943, the Nazis ordered that all the radios be turned in to the authorities.

All over the country people are trying to get hold of an old radio that they can hand over instead of their "moral boosters." It’s true: as the reports from outside grow worse and worse, the radio, with it’s wondrous voice, helps us not to lose heart and to keep telling ourselves, "Cheer up, keep your spirits high, things are bound to get better. (107)

 The radio was an important source of information and hope to all the people of WWII. The BBC provided war reports in English, but also programs and reports in other languages. The members of the Secret Annex listened to the Dutch broadcasts from London for their news on the war and programs were also made about the condition of the Dutch royal family. They were another source of hope for the Dutch people. "I sometimes listen to the Dutch broadcasts from London. Prince Bernhard recently announced that Princess Juliana is expecting a baby in January (37)." The radio was a primary form of hope and knowledge for the Franks and van Daans. But they put restrictions on their radio just like the Nazis did. The members of the Secret Annex refused to play German broadcasts. Anne writes,

Private Radio with a direct line to London, New York, Tel Aviv and many other stations. Available to all residents after 6 PM. No listening to forbidden broadcasts, with certain exception, i.e., German stations may only be turned it to listen to classical music. It is absolutely forbidden to listen to German news bulletins (regardless of where they are transmitted from) and to pass them on to others. (69)

In the Annex, anything German was banned from everyday life. They allowed themselves to speak only in Dutch and entertain themselves with non-German books, radio broadcasts, and poems. Exceptions were made for musical compositions and classical works. On November 17, 1942, Anne wrote about them restrictions in the Annex pertaining to entertainment and relaxation. She writes that the German radio station that is allowed is for classical music, about speaking she says, "Only the language of civilized people may be spoken, thus no German." For reading, "No German books may be read, except for the classics and works of a scholarly nature. Other books are optional." In resistance towards the German control of the radio, the members of the Annex made listening to German broadcasts forbidden, except for classical music stations (69). By denying the German language, the Franks and van Daans rebelled against the control set up by the Nazis. Refusing to speak, read, or listen to German news broadcasts, the Franks and van Daans contributed to the war effort and Dutch resistance against the Germans.

The Nazi Party set up their own religion called the German Church, which was a combination of paganism and Christianity. The Nazis tried to denounce all religions convert Dutch and Germans alike to their new way of thinking. To protest the German Church, the Dutch continued worshiping in their own way, and the members of the Secret Annex remained practicing Jews. The German Church was a neo-Pagan religion that promoted human sacrifices being offered to ancient pagan Deities- complete with Nazi rituals- to the forefront (Shirer). The Nazis tried to destroy all religion and create one belief system under the Third Reich. The Germans wanted "One People, One Reich, One Faith" and that meant destroying all the other religions. Some pastors and religious leaders converted to this new belief, which means they had to swear allegiance to Hitler and support all Aryans and excluding converted Jews and practicing Jews. The Dutch fought this new law by forming resistance groups such as the Confessional Church and the Pastor’s Emergency League (Shirer). These two groups participated in the underground resistance that hid Jews from the Nazis and fought back against the Germans. The members of the Secret Annex resisted this law by remaining practicing Jews. Despite wartime rations, the Franks and van Daans still found a way to celebrate Hanukkah, "Since candles are in short supply, we lit them for only ten minutes, but as long as we sing the song, that doesn’t matter. Mr. van Daan made a menorah out of wood, so that was taken care of to (Frank 75)". Anne’s parents also tried to raise their daughter with a sense of faith and a greater understanding of their religion. "Encouraged by Father’s good example, Mother passes her prayer book into my hands. I read a few prayers in German, just to be polite (58)". On February 20, 1944, Anne wrote about Mr. Dussel’s morning habits. "One of my Sunday morning ordeals is having to lie in bed and look at Dussel’s back when he’s praying (191)". The presence of religion was seen in many aspects of Annex life. Their protectors even rebelled against the German Church by celebrating St. Nicholas’ Day and Christmas. Anne writes,

Sunday evening at a quarter to eight we trooped upstairs carrying the big laundry basket, which had been decorated with cutouts and bows made of pink and blue carbon paper. On top was a large piece of brown wrapping paper with a note attached….As each person took their own shoe out of the basket, there was a roar of laughter. Inside each shoe was a little paper package addressed to its owner. (148-149)

Miep Gies and Victor Kugler celebrated their Dutch and Christian holidays despite the Nazi disapproval. The small defiance such as remaining Christian or Jewish was a large blow to the Nazi law. Many Dutch remained true to their faith and beliefs throughout the war, despite the Nazi influence.

Anne’s Diary shows how the Franks and van Daans resisted the Nazi control of the media by listening to the BBC and making German broadcasts forbidden within their community. They refused to read German works or speak German, and they remained practicing Jews despite the influence of the German Church. Many of the Dutch people did similar things to rebel against the Nazis. These small actions combined with more advanced resistance movements helped loosen the Nazi control over the Dutch people, helping to lead to the overthrow and destruction of the Nazi occupation of Netherlands.

 

Works Cited

Ainsztein, Reuben. Jewish Resistance in Nazi- Occupied Eastern Europe London: Elk Books, 1974.

Auschwitz Document "…revealing a state secret…sentenced to death". 27 Feb. 2000 <http://www.holocaust-history.org/auschwitz/1944/weisse>

Encyclopedia Britannica, "The Holocaust", vol. 6, Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica Inc,1978. 15th Ed. Fein, Helen. Accounting for Genocide: Victims- and Survivors- of the Holocaust, New York: The Free Press, 1979.

Frank, Anne. The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition. Trans. Susan Massotty. Ed. Otto H. Frank and Mirjam Pressler. New York: Bantam, 1991.

Resistance Intensities, 27 Feb. 2000, USC <http://www-isd.usc.edu/~anthonya/war/rest.htm>

Shirer, William L. "Martin Niemoller: The Resistance (1892-1984)." The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Abstract. 27 Feb. 2000 <http://forerunner.com/forerunner/X0528_Bios-_Martin_Niemlle.html>