TUESDAY, MARCH 14, 1944
It might be amusing for you (though not for me) to hear what we're going to eat
today. The cleaning lady is working downstairs, so at the moment I'm seated at the
van Daans' oilcloth-covered table with a handkerchief sprinkled with fragrant prewar
perfume pressed to my nose and mouth. You probably don't have the faintest idea
what I'm talking about, so let me "begin at the begin- ning." The people who supply
us with food coupons have been arrested, so we have just our five black-market ra-
-, tion books-no coupons, no fats and oils. Since Miep and Mr. Kleiman are sick
again, Bep can't manage the shop- ping. The food is wretched, and so are we. As of
tomor- row, we won't have a scrap of fat, butter or margarine. We can't eat fried
potatoes for breakfast (which we've been doing to save on bread), so we're having hot
cereal instead, and because Mrs. van D. thinks we're starving, we bought some
half-and-half. Lunch today consists of mashed potatoes and pickled kale. This
explains the precautionary measure with the handkerchief. You wouldn't believe how
much kale can stink when it's a few years old! The kitchen smells like a mixture of
spoiled plums, rotten eggs and brine. Ugh, just the thought of having to eat that muck
makes me want to throw up! Besides that, our potatoes have contracted such strange
diseases that one out of every two buckets of pommes de terre winds up in the
garbage. We entertain ourselves by trying to figure out which disease they've got, and
we've reached the conclusion that they suffer from cancer, smallpox and measles.
Honestly, being in hiding during the fourth year of the war is no picnic. If only the
whole stinking mess were over!
To tell you the truth, the food wouldn't matter so much to me if life here were more
pleasant in other ways. But that's just it: this tedious existence is starting to make us
all disagreeable. Here are the opinions of the five grown-ups on the present situation
(children aren't allowed to have opinions, and for once I'm sticking to the rules):
Mrs. van Daan: "I'd stopped wanting to be queen of the kitchen long ago. But sitting
around doing nothing was boring, so I went back to cooking. Still, I can't help
complaining: it's impossible to cook without oil, and all those disgusting smells make
me sick to my stomach. Besides, what do I get in return for my efforts? Ingratitude
and rude remarks. I'm always the black sheep; I get blamed for everything. What's
more, it's my opinion that the war is making very little progress. The Germans will
win in the end. I'm terrified that we're going to starve, and when I'm in a bad mood, I
snap at everyone who comes near."
Mr. van Daan: "I just smoke and smoke and smoke. Then the food, the political
situation and Kerli's moods don't seem so bad. Kerli's a sweetheart. If I don't have
anything to smoke, I get sick, then I need to eat meat, life becomes unbearable,
nothing's good enough, and there's bound to be a flaming row. My Kerli's an idiot."
Mrs. Frank: "Food's not very important, but I'd love a slice of rye bread right now,
because I'm so hungry. If I were Mrs. van Daan, I'd have put a stop to Mr. van
Daan's smoking long ago. But I desperately need a cigarette now, because my head's
in such a whirl. The van Daans are horrible people; the English may make a lot of
mistakes, but the war is progressing. I should keep my mouth shut and be grateful I'm
not in Poland."
Mr. Frank: "Everything's fine, I don't need a thing. Stay calm, we've got plenty of
time. Just give me my potatoes, and I'll be quiet. Better set aside some of my rations
for Bep. The political situation is improving, I'm extremely optimistic."
Mr. Dussel: "I must complete the task I've set for myself, everything must be finished
on time. The political situation is looking 'gut,' it's 'eempossible' for us to get caught.
Me, me, me . . . ."
THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 1944
Whew! Released from the gloom and doom for a few moments! All I've been hearing
today is: "If this and that happens, we're in trouble, and if so-and-so gets sick, we'll
be left to fend for ourselves, and if . . ."
Well, you know the rest, or at any rate I assume you're famthar enough with the
residents of the Annex to guess what they'd be talking about.
The reason for all the "ifs" is that Mr. Kugler has been called up for a six-day work
detail, Bep is down with a bad cold and will probably have to stay home tomorrow,
Miep hasn't gotten over her flu, and Mr. Kleiman's stom- ach bled so much he lost
consciousness. What a tale of woe!
We think Mr. Kugler should go directly to a reliable doctor for a medical certificate of
ill health, which he can present to the City Hall in Hilversum. The warehouse --
employees have been given a day off tomorrow, so Bep will be alone in the office. If
(there's another "if') Bep has to stay home, the door will remain locked and we'll have
to be as quiet as mice so the Keg Company won't hear us. At one o'clock Jan will
come for half an hour to check on us poor forsaken souls, like a zookeeper.
This afternoon, for the first time in ages, Jan gave us some news of the outside
world. You should have seen us gathered around him; it looked exactly like a print:
"At Grandmother's Knee."
He regaled his grateful audience with talk of-what else?-food. Mrs. P., a friend of
Miep's, has been cooking his meals. The day before yesterday Jan ate carrots with
green peas, yesterday he had the leftovers, today she's cooking marrowfat peas, and
tomorrow she's plan- ning to mash the remaining carrots with potatoes.
We asked about Miep's doctor.
"Doctor?" said Jan. "What doctor? I called him this morning and got his secretary on
the line. I asked for a flu prescription and was told I could come pick it up tomor-
row morning between eight and nine. If you've got a particularly bad case of flu, the
doctor himself comes to the phone and says, 'Stick out your tongue and say "Aah."
Oh, I can hear it, your throat's infected. I'll write out a prescription and you can bring
it to the phar- macy. Good day.' And that's that. Easy job he's got, diagnosis by
phone. But I shouldn't blame the doctors." After all, a person has only two hands, and
these days there're too many patients and too few doctors."
Still, we all had a good laugh at Jan's phone call. I can just imagine what a doctor's
waiting room looks like these days. Doctors no longer turn up their noses at the
poorer patients, but at those with minor illnesses. "Hey, what are you doing here?"
they think. "Go to the end of the line; real patients have priority!"
THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 1944
The weather is gorgeous, indescribably beautiful; I'll be going up to the attic in a
I now know why I'm so much more restless than Peter. He has his own room, where
he can work, dream, think and sleep. I'm constantly being chased from one corner to
another. I'm never alone in the room I share with Dussel, though I long to be so
much. That's another reason I take refuge in the attic. When I'm there, or with you, I
can be myself, at least for a little while. Still, I don't want to moan and groan. On the
contrary, I want to be brave!
Thank goodness the others notice nothing of my innermost feelings, except that every
day I'm growing cooler and more contemptuous of Mother, less affection- ate to
Father and less willing to share a single thought with Margot; I'm closed up tighter
than a drum. Above all, I have to maintain my air of confidence. No one must know
that my heart and mind are constantly at war with each other. Up to now reason has
always won the battle, but will my emotions get the upper hand? Sometimes I fear
they will, but more often I actually hope they do!
Oh, it's so terribly hard not to talk to Peter about these things, but I know I have to
let him begin; it's so hard to act during the daytime as if everything I've said and
done in my dreams had never taken place! Kitty, Anne is crazy, but then these are
crazy times and even crazier circumstances.
The nicest part is being able to write down all my thoughts and feelings; otherwise,
I'd absolutely suffocate. I wonder what Peter thinks about all these things? I keep
thinking I'll be able to talk to him about them one day. He must have guessed
something about the inner me, since he couldn't possibly love the outer Anne he's
known so far! How could someone like Peter, who loves peace and quiet, possibly
stand my bustle and noise? Will he be the first and only person to see what's beneath
my granite mask? Will it take him long? Isn't there some old saying about love being
akin to pity? Isn't that what's happening here as well? Because I often pity him as
much as I do myself!
I honestly don't know how to begin, I really don't, so how can I expect Peter to when
talking is so much harder for him? If only I could write to him, then at least he'd
know what I was trying to say, since it's so hard to say it out loud!
Yours, Anne M. Frank
FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 1944
My dearest darling,
Everything turned out all right after all; Bep just had a sore throat, not the flu, and
Mr. Kugler got a medical certificate to excuse him from the work detail. The entire
Annex breathed a huge sigh of relief. Everything's fine here! Except that Margot and I
are rather tired of our parents.
Don't get me wrong. I still love Father as much as ever and Margot loves both Father
and Mother, but when you're as old as we are, you want to make a few decisions for
yourself, get out from under their thumb. Whenever I go upstairs, they ask what I'm
going to do, they won't let me salt my food, Mother asks me every evening at
eight-fifteen if it isn't time for me to change into my nighty, I and they have to
approve every book I read. I must admit, they're not at all strict about that and let
me read nearly everything, but Margot and I are sick and tired of having to listen to
their comments and questions all day long.
There's something else that displeases them: I no longer feel like giving them little
kisses morning, noon and night. All those cute nicknames seem so affected, and
Father's fondness for talking about farting and going to the bathroom is disgusting. In
short, I'd like nothing better than to do without their company for a while, and they
don't understand that. Not that Margot and I have ever said any of this to them. What
would be the point? They wouldn't understand anyway.
Margot said last night, "What really bothers me is that if you happen to put your head
in your hands and sigh once or twice, they immediately ask whether you have a
headache or don't feel well."
For both of us, it's been quite a blow to suddenly realize that very little remains of
the close and harmoni- ous family we used to have at home! This is mostly because
everything's out of kilter here. By that I mean that we're treated like children when it
comes to external matters, while, inwardly, we're much older than other girls our age.
Even though I'm only fourteen, I know what I want, I know who's right and who's
wrong, I have my own opinions, ideas and principles, and though it may sound odd
coming from a teenager, I feel I'm more of a person than a child -- I feel I'm
completely independent of others. I know I'm better at debating or carrying on a
discussion than Mother, I know I'm more objective, I don't exaggerate as much, I'm
much tidier and better with my hands, and because of that I feel (this may make you
laugh) that I'm superior to her in many ways. To love someone, I have to admire and
respect the person, but I feel neither respect nor admiration for Mother!
Everything would be all right if only I had Peter, since I admire him in many ways.
He's so decent and clever!
Yours, Anne M. Frank
SATURDAY, MARCH 18, 1944
I've told you more about myself and my feelings than I've ever told a living soul, so
why shouldn't that include sex?
Parents, and people in general, are very peculiar when it comes to sex. Instead of
telling their sons and daughters everything at the age of twelve, they send the
children out of the room the moment the subject arises and leave them to find out
everything on their own. Later on, when parents notice that their children have,
somehow, come by their information, they assume they know more (or less) than they
actually do. So why don't they try to make amends by asking them what's what?
A major stumbling block for the adults -- though in my opinion it's no more than a
pebble -- is that they're afraid their children will no longer look upon marriage as
sacred and pure once they realize that, in most cases, this purity is a lot of nonsense.
As far as I'm concerned, it's not wrong for a man to bring a little experience to a
marriage. After all, it has nothing to do with the marriage itself, does it?
Soon after I turned eleven, they told me about menstruation. But even then, I had no
idea where the blood came from or what it was for. When I was twelve and a half, I
learned some more from Jacque, who wasn't as ignorant as I was. My own intuition
told me what a man and a woman do when they're together; it seemed like a crazy
idea at first, but when Jacque confirmed it, I was proud of myself for having figured it
It was also Jacque who told me that children didn't come out of their mother's
tummies. As she put it, "Where the ingredients go in is where the finished product
comes out!" Jacque and I found out about the hymen, and quite a few other details,
from a book on sex education. I also knew that you could keep from having children,
but how that worked inside your body remained a mystery. When I came here, Father
told me about prostitutes, etc., but all in all there are still unanswered questions.
If mothers don't tell their children everything, they hear it in bits and pieces, and that
can't be right.
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.
Yours, Anne M. Frank
SUNDAY, MARCH 19, 1944
Yesterday was a very important day for me. After lunch everything was as usual. At
five I put on the potatoes, and Mother gave me some blood sausage to take to Peter.
I didn't want to at first, but I finally went. He wouldn't accept the sausage, and I had
the dreadful feel- ing it was still because of that argument we'd had about distrust.
Suddenly I couldn't bear it a moment longer and my eyes filled with tears. Without
another word, I re- turned the platter to Mother and went to the bathroom to have a
good cry. Afterward I decided to talk things out with Peter. Before dinner the four of
us were helping him with a crossword puzzle, so I couldn't say anything. But as we
were sitting down to eat, I whispered to him, "Are you going to practice your
shorthand tonight, Peter?"
"No," was his reply.
"I'd like to talk to you later on."
After the dishes were done, I went to his room and asked if he'd refused the sausage
because of our last quar- rel. Luckily, that wasn't the reason; he just thought it was
bad manners to seem so eager. It had been very hot downstairs and my face was as
red as a lobster. So after taking down some water for Margot, I went back up to get
a little fresh air. For the sake of appearances, I first went and stood beside the van
Daans' window before going to Peter's room. He was standing on the left side of the
open window, so I went over to the right side. It's much easier to talk next to an
open window in semidarkness than in broad daylight, and I think Peter felt the same
way. We told each other so much, so very much, that I can't repeat it all. But it felt
good; it was the most won- derful evening I've ever had in the Annex. I'll give you a
brief description of the various subjects we touched on.
First we talked about the quarrels and how I see them in a very different light these
days, and then about how we've become alienated from our parents. I told Peter about
Mother and Father and Margot and myself. At one point he asked, "You always give
each other a good-night kiss, don't you?"
"One? Dozens of them. You don't, do you?"
"No, I've never really kissed anyone."
"Not even on your birthday?"
"Yeah, on my birthday I have."
We talked about how neither of us really trusts our parents, and how his parents love
each other a great deal and wish he'd confide in them, but that he doesn't want to.
How I cry my heart out in bed and he goes up to the loft and swears. How Margot
and I have only recently gotten to know each other and yet still tell each other very
little, since we're always together. We talked about every imaginable thing, about
trust, feelings and ourselves. Oh, Kitty, he was just as I thought he would be.
Then we talked about the year 1942, and how different we were back then; we don't
even recognize ourselves from that period. How we couldn't stand each other at first.
He'd thought I was a noisy pest, and I'd quickly concluded that he was nothing special.
I didn't understand why he didn't flirt with me, but now I'm glad. He also mentioned
how he often used to retreat to his room. I said that my noise and exuberance and his
silence were two sides of the same coin, and that I also liked peace and quiet but
don't have anything for myself alone, except my diary, and that everyone would rather
see the back of me, starting with Mr. Dussel, and that I don't always want to sit with
my parents. We discussed how glad he is that my parents have children and how glad
I am that he's here.
How I now understand his need to withdraw and his relationship to his parents, and
how much I'd like to help him when they argue.
"But you're always a help to me!" he said.
"How?" I asked, greatly surprised.
"By being cheerful."
That was the nicest thing he said all evening. He also told me that he didn't mind my
coming to his room the way he used to; in fact, he liked it. I also told him that all of
Father's and Mother's pet names were meaningless, that a kiss here and there didn't
automatically lead to trust. We also talked about doing things your own way, the diary,
loneliness, the difference between everyone's inner and outer selves, my mask, etc.
It was wonderful. He must have come to love me as a friend, and, for the time being,
that's enough. I'm so grateful and happy, I can't find the words. I must apolo- gize,
Kitty, since my style is not up to my usual standard today. I've just written whatever
came into my head!
I have the feeling that Peter and I share a secret. Whenever he looks at me with
those eyes, with that smile and that wink, it's as if a light goes on inside me. I hope
things will stay like this and that we'll have many, many more happy hours together.
Your grateful and happy Anne
MONDAY, MARCH 20, 1944
This morning Peter asked me if I'd come again one evening. He swore I wouldn't be
disturbing him, and said that where there was room for one, there was room for two.
I said I couldn't see him every evening, since my parents didn't think it was a good
idea, but he thought I shouldn't let that bother me. So I told him I'd like to come
some Saturday evening and also asked him if he'd let me know when you could see
"Sure," he said, "maybe we can go downstairs and look at the moon from there." I
agreed; I'm not really so scared of burglars.
In the meantime, a shadow has fallen on my happiness. For a long time I've had the
feeling that Margot likes Peter. Just how much I don't know, but the whole situation is
very unpleasant. Now every time I go see Peter I'm hurting her, without meaning to.
The funny thing is that she hardly lets it show. I know I'd be insanely jealous, but
Margot just says I shouldn't feel sorry for her.
"I think it's so awful that you've become the odd one out," I added.
"I'm used to that," she replied, somewhat bitterly.
I don't dare tell Peter. Maybe later on, but he and I need to discuss so many other
Mother slapped me last night, which I deserved. I mustn't carry my indifference and
contempt for her too far. In spite of everything, I should try once again to be friendly
and keep my remarks to myself!
Even Pim isn't as nice as he used to be. He's been trying not to treat me like a child,
but now he's much too cold. We'll just have to see what comes of it! He's warned me
that if I don't do my algebra, I won't get any tutoring after the war. I could simply
wait and see what happens, but I'd like to start again, provided I get a new book.
That's enough for now. I do nothing but gaze at Peter, and I'm filled to overflowing!
Yours, Anne M. Frank
Evidence of Margot's goodness. I received this today, March 20, 1944:
Anne, yesterday when I said I wasn't jeal- ous of you, I wasn't being entirely honest.
The situation is this: I'm not jealous of either you or Peter. I'm just sorry I haven't
found anyone willi whom to share my thoughts and feelings, and I'm not likely to in
the near future. But that's why I wish, from the bottom of my heart, that you will
both be able to place your trust in each other. You're already missing out on so much
here, things other people take for granted.
On the other hand, I'm certain I'd never have gotten as far with Peter, because I think
I'd need to feel very close to a person before I could share my thoughts. I'd want to
have the feeling that he understood me through and through, even if I didn't say much.
For this reason it would have to be someone I felt was intellectually superior to me,
and that isn't the case with Peter. But I can imagine your feeling close to him.
So there's no need for you to reproach yourself because you think you' te taking
something I was entitled to; nothing could be further from the truth. You and Peter
have everything to gain by your friendship.
Your letter was extremely kind, but I still don't feel completely happy about the
situation, and I don't think I ever will.
At the moment, Peter and I don't trust each other as much as you seem to think. It's
just that when you're standing beside an open window at twthght, you can say more to
each other than in bright sunshine. It's also easier to whisper your feelings than to
shout them from the rooftops. I think you've begun to feel a kind of sisterly affection
for Peter and would like to help him, just as much as I would. Perhaps you'll be able
to do that someday, though that's not the kind of trust we have in mind. I believe that
trust has to corne from both sides; I also think that's the reason why Father and I
have never really grown so close. But let's not talk about it anymore. If there's
anything you still want to discuss, please write, because it's easier for me to say what
I mean as on paper than face-to-face. You know how le much I admire you, and only
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