bear it. But I can't! I have no intention of taking their insults lying down. I'll show
them that Anne Frank wasn't born yesterday. They'll sit up and take notice and keep
their big mouths shut when I make them see they ought to attend to their own
manners instead of mine. How dare they act that way! It's simply barbaric. I've been
astonished, time and again, at such rudeness and most of all. . . at such stupidity
(Mrs. van Daan). But as soon as I've gotten used to the idea, and that shouldn't take
long, I'll give them a taste of their own medicine, and then they'll change their tune!
Am I really as bad-mannered, headstrong, stubborn, pushy, stupid, lazy, etc., etc., as
the van Daans say I am? No, of course not. I know I have my faults and
shortcomings, but they blow them all out of proportion! If you only knew, Kitty, how I
seethe when they scold and mock me. It won't take long before I explode with
But enough of that. I've bored you long enough with my quarrels, and yet I can't
resist adding a highly interesting dinner conversation.
Somehow we landed on the subject of Pim's extreme diffidence. His modesty is a
well-known fact, which even the stupidest person wouldn't dream of questioning. All
of a sudden Mrs. van Daan, who feels the need to bring herself into every
conversation, remarked, "I'm very modest and retiring too, much more so than my
Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous? This sentence clearly illustrates that she's
not exactly what you'd call modest!
Mr. van Daan, who felt obliged to explain the "much more so than my husband,"
answered calmly, "I have no desire to be modest and retiring. In my experience, you
get a lot further by being pushy!" And turning to me, he added, "Don't be modest and
retiring, Anne. It will get you nowhere."
Mother agreed completely with this viewpoint. But, as usual, Mrs. van Daan had to add
her two cents. This time, however, instead of addressing me directly, she turned to
my parents and said, "You must have a strange outlook on life to be able to say that
to Anne. Things were different when I was growing up. Though they probably haven't
changed much since then, except in your modern household!"
This was a direct hit at Mother's modern child-rearing methods, which she's defended
on many occasions. Mrs. van Daan was so upset her face turned bright red. People
who flush easily become even more agitated when they feel themselves getting hot
under the collar, and they quickly lose to their opponents.
The nonflushed mother, who now wanted to have the matter over and done with as
quickly as possible, paused for a moment to think before she replied. "Well, Mrs. van
Daan, I agree that it's much better if a person isn't overmodest. My husband, Margot
and Peter are all exceptionally modest. Your husband, Anne and I, though not exactly
the opposite, don't let ourselves be pushed around."
Mrs. van Daan: "Oh, but Mrs. Frank, I don't understand what you mean! Honestly, I'm
extremely modest and retiring. How can you say that I'm pushy?"
Mother: "I didn't say you were pushy, but no one would describe you as having a
Mrs. van D.: "I'd like to know in what way I'm pushy! If I didn't look out for myself
here, no one else would, and I'd soon starve, but that doesn't mean I'm not as modest
and retiring as your husband."
Mother had no choice but to laugh at this ridiculous self-defense, which irritated Mrs.
van Daan. Not exactly a born debater, she continued her magnificent account in a
mixture of German and Dutch, until she got so tangled up in her own words that she
finally rose from her chair and was just about to leave the room when her eye fell on
me. You should have seen her! As luck would have it, the moment Mrs. van D. turned
around I was shaking my head in a combination of compassion and irony. I wasn't
doing it on purpose, but I'd followed her tirade so intently that my reaction was
completely involuntary. Mrs. van D. wheeled around and gave me a tongue-lashing:
hard, Germanic, mean and vulgar, exactly like some fat, red-faced fishwife. It was a
joy to behold. If I could draw, I'd like to have sketched her as she was then. She
struck me as so comical, that silly little scatterbrain! I've learned one thing: you only
really get to know a person after a fight. Only then can you judge their true
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 1942
The strangest things happen to you when you're in hiding! Try to picture this.
Because we don't have a bathtub, we wash ourselves in a washtub, and because
there's only hot water in the office (by which I mean the entire lower floor), the
seven of us take turns making the most of this great opportunity. But since none of
us are alike and are all plagued by varying degrees of modesty, each member of the
family has selected a different place to wash. Peter takes a bath in the office kitchen,
even though it has a glass door. When it's time for his bath, he goes around to each
of us in turn and announces that we shouldn't walk past the kitchen for the next half
hour. He considers this measure to be sufficient. Mr. van D. takes his bath upstairs,
figuring that the safety of his own room outweighs the difficulty of having to carry
the hot water up all those stairs. Mrs. van D. has yet to take a bath; she's waiting to
see which is the best place. Father bathes in the private office and Mother in the
kitchen behind a fire screen, while Margot and I have declared the front office to be
our bathing grounds. Since the curtains are drawn on Saturday afternoon, we scrub
ourselves in the dark, while the one who isn't in the bath looks out the window
through a chink in the curtains and gazes in wonder at the endlessly amusing people.
A week ago I decided I didn't like this spot and have been on the lookout for more
comfortable bathing quarters. It was Peter who gave me the idea of setting my
washtub in the spacious office bathroom. I can sit down, turn on the light, lock the
door, pour out the water without anyone's help, and all without the fear of being seen.
I used my lovely bathroom for the first time on Sunday and, strange as it may seem,
I like it better than any other place.
The plumber was at work downstairs on Wednesday, moving the water pipes and
drains from the office bathroom to the hallway so the pipes won't freeze during a cold
winter. The plumber's visit was far from pleasant. Not only were we not allowed to
run water during the day, but the bathroom was also off-limits. I'll tell you how we
handled this problem; you may find it unseemly of me to bring it up, but I'm not so
prudish about matters of this kind. On the day of our arrival, Father and I improvised
a chamber pot, sacrificing a canning jar for this purpose. For the duration of the
plumber's visit, canning jars were put into service during the daytime to hold our calls
of nature. As far as I was concerned, this wasn't half as difficult as having to sit still
all day and not say a word. You can imagine how hard that was for Miss Quack,
Quack, Quack. On ordinary days we have to speak in a whisper; not being able to talk
or move at all is ten times worse.
After three days of constant sitting, my backside was stiff and sore. Nightly
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 1, 1942
Yesterday I had a horrible fright. At eight o'clock the doorbell suddenly rang. All I
could think of was that someone was coming to get us, you know who I mean. But I
calmed down when everybody swore it must have been either pranksters or the
The days here are very quiet. Mr. Levinsohn, a little Jewish pharmacist and chemist,
is working for Mr. Kugler in the kitchen. Since he's familiar with the entire building,
we're in constant dread that he'll take it into his head to go have a look at what used
to be the laboratory. We're as still as baby mice. Who would have guessed three
months ago that quicksilver Anne would have to sit so quietly for hours on end, and
what's more, that she could?
Mrs. van Daan's birthday was the twenty-ninth. Though we didn't have a large
celebration, she was showered with flowers, simple gifts and good food. Apparently
the red carnations from her spouse are a family tradition.
Let me pause a moment on the subject of Mrs. van Daan and tell you that her
attempts to flirt with Father are a constant source of irritation to me. She pats him on
the cheek and head, hikes up her skirt and makes so-called witty remarks in an effort
to get's Pim's attention. Fortunately, he finds her neither pretty nor charming, so he
doesn't respond to her flirtations. As you know, I'm quite the jealous type, and I can't
abide her behavior. After all, Mother doesn't act that way toward Mr. van D., which is
what I told Mrs. van D. right to her face.
From time to time Peter can be very amusing. He and I have one thing in common:
we like to dress up, which makes everyone laugh. One evening we made our
appearance, with Peter in one of his mother's skin-tight dresses and me in his suit.
He wore a hat; I had a cap on. The grown-ups split their sides laughing, and we
enjoyed ourselves every bit as much.
Bep bought new skirts for Margot and me at The Bijenkorf. The fabric is hideous, like
the burlap bag potatoes come in. Just the kind of thing the department stores wouldn't
dare sell in the olden days, now costing 24.00 guilders (Margot's) and 7.75 guilders
We have a nice treat in store: Bep's ordered a correspondence course in shorthand for
Margot, Peter and me. Just you wait, by this time next year we'll be able to take
perfect shorthand. In any case, learning to write a secret code like that is really
I have a terrible pain in my index finger (on my left hand), so I can't do any ironing.
Mr. van Daan wants me to sit next to him at the table, since Margot doesn't eat
enough to suit him. Fine with me, I like changes. There's always a tiny black cat
roaming around the yard, and it reminds me of my dear sweet Moortje. Another
reason I welcome the change is that Mama's always carping at me, especially at the
table. Now Margot will have to bear the brunt of it. Or rather, won't, since Mother
doesn't make such sarcastic remarks to her. Not to that paragon of virtue! I'm always
teasing Margot about being a paragon of virtue these days, and she hates it. Maybe
it'll teach her not to be such a goody-goody. High time she learned.
To end this hodgepodge of news, a particularly amusing joke told by Mr. van Daan:
What goes click ninety-nine times and clack once?
A centipede with a clubfoot.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3, 1942
Everybody teased me quite a bit yesterday because I lay down on the bed next to Mr.
van Daan. "At your age! Shocking! " and other remarks along those lines. Silly, of
course. I'd never want to sleep with Mr. van Daan the way they mean.
Yesterday Mother and I had another run-in and she really kicked up a fuss. She told
Daddy all my sins and I started to cry, which made me cry too, and I already had
such an awful headache. I finally told Daddy that I love "him" more than I do Mother,
to which he replied that it was just a passing phase, but I don't think so. I simply
can't stand Mother, and I have to force myself not to snap at her all the time, and to
stay calm, when I'd rather slap her across the face. I don't know why I've taken such
a terrible dislike to her. Daddy says that if Mother isn't feeling well or has a
headache, I should volunteer to help her, but I'm not going to because I don't love her
and don't enjoy doing it. I can imagine Mother dying someday, but Daddy's death
seems inconceivable. It's very mean of me, but that's how I feel. I hope Mother will
never read this or anything else I've written.
I've been allowed to read more grown-up books lately. Eva's Youth by Nico van
Suchtelen is currently keeping me busy. I don't think there's much of a difference
between this and books for teenage girls. Eva thought that children grew on trees, like
apples, and that the stork plucked them off the tree when they were ripe and brought
them to the mothers. But her girlfriend's cat had kittens and Eva saw them coming out
of the cat, so she thought cats laid eggs and hatched them like chickens, and that
mothers who wanted a child also went upstairs a few days before their time to lay an
egg and brood on it. After the babies arrived, the mothers were pretty weak from all
that squatting. At some point, Eva wanted a baby too. She took a wool scarf and
spread it on the ground so the egg could fall into it, and then she squatted down and
began to push. She clucked as she waited, but no egg came out. Finally, after she'd
been sitting for a long time, something did come, but it was a sausage instead of an
egg. Eva was embarrassed. She thought she was sick. Funny, isn't it? There are also
parts of Eva's Youth that talk about women selling their bodies on the street and
asking loads of money. I'd be mortified in front of a man like that. In addition, it
mentions Eva's menstruation. Oh, I long to get my period -- then I'll really be grown
up. Daddy is grumbling again and threatening to take away my diary. Oh, horror of
horrors! From now on, I'm going to hide it.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 7, 1942
I imagine that. . .
I've gone to Switzerland. Daddy and I sleep in one room, while the boys'. study is
turned into a sitting room, where I can receive visitors. As a surprise, they've bought
new furniture for me, including a tea table, a desk, armchairs and a divan. Everything's
simply wonderful. After a few days Daddy gives me 150 guilders -- converted into
Swiss money, of course, but I'll call them guilders -- and tells me to buy everything
I think I'll need, all for myself. (Later on, I get a guilder a week, which I can also
use to buy whatever I want.) I set off with Bernd and buy:
3 cotton undershirts @ 0.50 = 1.50
3 cotton underpants @ 0.50 = 1.50
3 wool undershirts @ O. 75 = 2.25
3 wool underpants @ O. 75 = 2.25
2 petticoats @ 0.50 = 1.00
2 bras (smallest size) @ 0.50 = 1.00
5 pajamas @ 1.00 = 5.00
1 summer robe @ 2.50 = 2.50
1 winter robe @ 3.00 = 3.00
2 bed jackets @ O. 75 = 1.50
. Anne's cousins Bernhard (Bernd) and Stephan Elias.
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