The years went by. Peter hung around with girls his own age and no longer bothered
to say hello to me. I started school at the Jewish Lyceum, and several boys in my
class were in love with me. I enjoyed it and felt honored by their attentions, but that
was all. Later on, Hello had a terrible crush on me, but as I've already told you, I
never fell in love again.
There's a saying: "Time heals all wounds." That's how it was with me. I told myself
I'd forgotten Peter and no longer liked him in the least. But my memories of him were
so strong that I had to admit to myself that the only reason I no longer liked him was
that I was jealous of the other girls. This morning I realized that nothing has changed;
on the contrary, as I've grown older and more mature, my love has grown along with
me. I can understand now that Peter thought I was childish, and yet it still hurts to
think he'd forgotten me completely. I saw his face so clearly; I knew for certain that
no one but Peter could have stuck in my mind that way.
I've been in an utter state of confusion today. When Father kissed me this morning, I
wanted to shout, "Oh, if only you were Peter!" I've been thinking of him constantly,
and all day long I've been repeating to myself, "Oh, Petel, my darling, darling Petel . .
Where can I find help? I simply have to go on living and praying to God that, if we
ever get out of here, Peter's path will cross mine and he'll gaze into my eyes, read
the love in them and say, "Oh, Anne, if I'd only known, I'd have come to you long
Once when Father and I were talking about sex, he said I was too young to
understand that kind of desire. But I thought I did understand it, and now I'm sure I
do. Nothing is as dear to me now as my darling Petel!
I saw my face in the mirror, and it looked so different. My eyes were clear and deep,
my cheeks were rosy, which they hadn't been in weeks, my mouth was much softer. I
looked happy, and yet there was something so sad in my expression that the smile
immediately faded from my lips. I'm not happy, since I know Petel's not thinking of
me, and yet I can still feel his beautiful eyes gazing at me and his cool, soft cheek
against mine. . . Oh, Petel, Petel, how am I ever going to free myself from your
image? Wouldn't anyone who took your place be a poor substitute? I love you, with a
love so great that it simply couldn't keep growing inside my heart, but had to leap out
and reveal itself in all its magnitude.
A week ago, even a day ago, if you'd asked me, "Which of your friends do you think
you'd be most likely to marry?" I'd have answered, "Sally, since he makes me feel
good, peaceful and safe!" But now I'd cry, "Petel, because I love him with all my
heart and all my soul. I surrender myself completely!" Except for that one thing: he
may touch my face, but that's as far as it goes.
This morning I imagined I was in the front attic with Petel, sitting on the floor by the
windows, and after talking for a while, we both began to cry. Moments later I felt his
mouth and his wonderful cheek! Oh, Petel, come to me. Think of me, my dearest
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 12, 1944
Bep's been back for the last two weeks, though her sister won't be allowed back at
school until next week. Bep herself spent two days in bed with a bad cold. Miep and
Jan were also out for two days, with upset stomachs.
I'm currently going through a dance and ballet craze and am diligently practicing my
dance steps every evening. I've made an ultramodern dance costume out of a lacy
lavender slip belonging to Momsy. Bias tape is threaded through the top and tied just
above the bust. A pink corded ribbon completes the ensemble. I tried to turn my
tennis shoes into ballet slippers, but with no success. My stiff limbs are well on the
way to becoming as limber as they used to be. A terrific exercise is to sit on the
floor, place a heel in each hand and raise both legs in the air. I have to sit on a
cushion, because otherwise my poor backside really takes a beating.
Everyone here is reading a book called A Cloudless Morning. Mother thought it was
extremely good because it describes a number of adolescent problems. I thought to
myself, a bit ironically, "Why don't you take more interest in your own adolescents
I think Mother believes that Margot and I have a better relationship with our parents
than anyone in the whole wide world, and that no mother is more involved in the lives
of her children than she is. She must have my sister in mind, since I don't believe
Margot has the same problems and thoughts as I do. Far be it from me to point out
to Mother that one of her daughters is not at all what she imagines. She'd be
completely bewildered, and anyway, she'd never be able to change; I'd like to spare
her that grief, especially since I know that everything would remain the same. Mother
does sense that Margot loves her much more than I do, but she thinks I'm just going
through a phase.
Margot's gotten much nicer. She seems a lot different than she used to be. She's not
nearly as catty these days and is becoming a real friend. She no longer thinks of me
as a litde kid who doesn't count.
It's funny, but I can sometimes see myself as others see me. I take a leisurely look
at the person called "Anne Frank" and browse through the pages of her life as though
she were a stranger.
Before I came here, when I didn't think about things as much as I do now, I
occasionally had the feeling that I didn't belong to Momsy, Pim and Margot and that I
would always be an outsider. I sometimes went around for six months at a time
pretending I was an orphan. Then I'd chastise myself for playing the victim, when
really, I'd always been so fortunate. After that I'd force myself to be friendly for a
while. Every morning when I heard footsteps on the stairs, I hoped it would be
Mother coming to say good morning. I'd greet her warmly, because I honesly did look
forward to her affectionate glance. But then she'd snap at me for having made some
comment or other (and I'd go off to school feeling completely discouraged.
On the way home I'd make excuses for her, telling myself that she had so many
worries. I'd arrive home in high spirits, chatting nineteen to the dozen, until the events
of the morning would repeat themselves and I'd leave the room with my schoolbag in
my hand and a pensive look on my face. Sometimes I'd decide to stay angry, but then
I always had so much to talk about after school that I'd forget my resolution and want
Mother to stop whatever she was doing and lend a willing ear. Then the time would
come once more when I no longer listened for the steps on the stairs and felt lonely
and cried into my pillow every night.
Everything has gotten much worse here. But you already knew that. Now God has sent
someone to help me: Peter. I fondle my pendant, press it to my lips and think, "What
do I care! Petel is mine and nobody knows it!" With this in mind, I can rise above
every nasty remark. Which of the people here would suspect that so much is going on
in the mind of a teenage girl?
SATURDAY, JANUARY 15, 1944
My dearest Kitty,
There's no reason for me to go on describing all our quarrels and arguments down to
the last detail. It's enough to tell you that we've divided many things like meat and
fats and oils and are frying our own potatoes. Recently we've been eating a little
extra rye bread because by four o'clock we're so hungry for dinner we can barely
control our rumbling stomachs.
Mother's birthday is rapidly approaching. She received some extra sugar from Mr.
Kugler, which sparked off jealousy on the part of the van Daans, because Mrs. van D.
didn't receive any on her birthday. But what's the point of boring you with harsh
words, spiteful conversations and tears when you know they bore us even more?
Mother has expressed a wish, which isn't likely to come true any time soon: not to
have to see Mr. van Daan's face for two whole weeks. I wonder if everyone who
shares a house sooner or later ends up at odds with their fellow residents. Or have
we just had a stroke of bad luck? At mealtime, when Dussel helps himself to a
quarter of the half-filled gravy boat and leaves the rest of us to do without, I lose
my appetite and feel like jumping to my feet, knocking him off his chair and throwing
him out the door.
Are most people so stingy and selfish? I've gained some insight into human nature
since I came here, which is good, but I've had enough for the present. Peter says the
The war is going to go on despite our quarrels and our longing for freedom and fresh
air, so we should try to make the best of our stay here.
I'm preaching, but I also believe that if I live here much longer, I'll turn into a
dried-up old beanstalk. And all I really want is to be an honest-to-goodness
WEDNESDAY EVENING, JANUARY 19, 1944
I (there I go again!) don't know what's happened, but since my dream I keep noticing
how I've changed. By the way, I dreamed about Peter again last night and once again I
felt his eyes penetrate mine, but this dream was less vivid and not quite as beautiful
as the last.
You know that I always used to be jealous of Margot's relationship with Father.
There's not a trace of my jealousy left now; I still feel hurt when Father's nerves
cause him to be unreasonable toward me, but then I think, "I can't blame you for
being the way you are. You talk so much about the minds of children and adolescents,
but you don't know the first thing about them!" I long for more than Father's
affection, more than his hugs and kisses. Isn't it awful of me to be so preoccupied
with myself? Shouldn't I, who want to be good and kind, forgive them first? I forgive
Mother too, but every time she makes a sarcastic remark or laughs at me, it's all I
can do to control myself.
I know I'm far from being what I should; will I ever be?
P.S. Father asked if I told you about the cake. For Mother's birthday, she received a
real mocha cake, prewar quality, from the office. It was a really nice day! But at the
moment there's no room in my head for things like that.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 22, 1944
Can you tell me why people go to such lengths to hide their real selves? Or why I
always behave very differently when I'm in the company of others? Why do people
have so little trust in one another? I know there must be a reason, but sometimes I
think it's horrible that you can't ever confide in anyone, not even those closest to you.
It seems as if I've grown up since the night I had that dream, as if I've become more
independent. You'll be amazed when I tell you that even my attitude toward the van
Daans has changed. I've stopped looking at all the discussions and arguments from my
family's biased point of view. What's brought on such a radical change? Well, you see,
I suddenly realized that if Mother had been different, if she'd been a real mom, our
relationship would have been very, very different. Mrs. van Daan is by no means a
wonderful person, yet half the arguments could have been avoided if Mother hadn't
been so hard to deal with every time they got onto a tricky subject. Mrs. van Daan
does have one good point, though: you can talk to her. She may be selfish, stingy and
underhanded, but she'll readily back down as long as you don't provoke her and make
her unreasonable. This tactic doesn't work every time, but if you're patient, you can
keep trying and see how far you get.
All the conflicts about our upbringing, about not pampering children, about the food
-- about everything, absolutely everything -- might have taken a different turn if
we'd remained open and on friendly terms instead of always seeing the worst side.
I know exactly what you're going to say, Kitty.
"But, Anne, are these words really coming from your lips? From you, who have had to
put up with so many unkind words from upstairs? From you, who are aware of all the
And yet they are coming from me. I want to take a fresh look at things and form my
own opinion, not just ape my parents, as in the proverb "The apple never falls far
from the tree." I want to reexamine the van Daans and decide for myself what's true
and what's been blown out of proportion. If I wind up being disappointed in them, I
can always side with Father and Mother. But if not, I can try to change their attitude.
And if that doesn't work, I'll have to stick with my own opinions and judgment. I'll
take every opportunity to speak openly to Mrs. van D. about our many differences and
not be afraid --
despite my reputation as a smart aleck -- to offer my impartial
opinion. I won't say anything negative about my own family, though that doesn't mean
I won't defend them if somebody else does, and as of today, my gossiping is a thing
of the past.
Up to now I was absolutely convinced that the van Daans were entirely to blame for
the quarrels, but now I'm sure the fault was largely ours. We were right as far as the
subject matter was concerned, but intelligent people (such as ourselves!) should have
more insight into how to deal with others.
I hope I've got at least a touch of that insight, and that I'll find an occasion to put it
to good use.
MONDAY, JANUARY 24, 1944
A very strange thing has happened to me. (Actually, "happened" isn't quite the right
Before I came here, whenever anyone at home or at school talked about sex, they
were either secretive or disgusting. Any words having to do with sex were spoken in
a low whisper, and kids who weren't in the know were often laughed at. That struck
me as odd, and I often wondered why people were so mysterious or obnoxious when
they talked about this subject. But because I couldn't change things, I said as little as
possible or asked my girlfriends for information.
After I'd learned quite a lot, Mother once said to me, "Anne, let me give you some
good advice. Never discuss this with boys, and if they bring it up, don't answer them."
I still remember my exact reply. "No, of course not," I exclaimed. "Imagine!" And
nothing more was said.
When we first went into hiding, Father often told me about things I'd rather have
heard from Mother, and I learned the rest from books or things I picked up in
Peter van Daan wasn't ever as obnoxious about this subject as the boys at school. Or
maybe just once or twice, in the beginning, though he wasn't trying to get me to talk.
Mrs. van Daan once told us she'd never discussed these matters with Peter, and as far
as she knew, neither had her husband. Apparently she didn't even know how much
Peter knew or where he got his information.
Yesterday, when Margot, Peter and I were peeling potatoes, the conversation somehow
turned to Boche. "We're still not sure whether Boche is a boy or a girl, are we?" I
Yes we are, he answered. "Boche is a tomcat."
I began to laugh. "Some tomcat if he's pregnant."
Peter and Margot joined in the laughter. You see, a month or two ago Peter informed
us that Boche was sure to have kittens before long, because her stomach was rapidly
swelling. However, Boche's fat tummy turned out to be due to a bunch of stolen
bones. No kittens were growing inside, much less about to be born.
Peter felt called upon to defend himself against my accusation. "Come with me. You
can see for yourself. I was horsing around with the cat one day, and I could definitely
see it was a 'he.' "
Unable to restrain my curiosity, I went with him to the warehouse. Boche, however,
wasn't receiving visitors at that hour, and was nowhere in sight. We waited for a
while, but when it got cold, we went back upstairs.
Later that afternoon I heard Peter go downstairs for the second time. I mustered the
courage to walk through the silent house by myself and reached the warehouse. Boche
was on the packing table, playing with Peter, who was getting ready to put him on the
scale and weigh him.
"Hi, do you want to have a look?" Without any preliminaries, he picked up the cat,
turned him over on his back, deftly held his head and paws and began the lesson.
"This is the male sexual organ, these are a few stray hairs, and that's his backside."
The cat flipped himself over and stood up on his little white feet.
If any other boy had pointed out the "male sexual organ" to me, I would never have
given him a second glance. But Peter went on talking in a normal voice about what is
otherwise a very awkward subject. Nor did he have any ulterior motives. By the time
he'd finished, I felt so much at ease that I started acting normally too. We played
with Boche, had a good time, chatted a bit and finally sauntered through the long
warehouse to the door. "Were you there when Mouschi was fixed?"
"Yeah, sure. It doesn't take long. They give the cat an anesthetic, of course."
"Do they take something out?"
"No, the vet just snips the tube. There's nothing to see on the outside."
I had to get up my nerve to ask a question, since it wasn't as "normal" as I thought.
"Peter, the German word Geschlechtsteil means 'sexual organ,' doesn't it? But then the
male and female ones have different names."
"I know that."
"The female one is a vagina, that I know, but I don't know what it's called in males."
"Oh well," I said. "How are we supposed to know these words? Most of the time you
just come across them by accident."
"Why wait? I'll ask my parents. They know more than I do and they've had more
We were already on the stairs, so nothing more was said.
Yes, it really did happen. I'd never have talked to a girl about this in such a normal
tone of voice. I'm also certain that this isn't what Mother meant when she warned me
All the same, I wasn't exactly my usual self for the rest of the day. When I thought
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