Anne Frank
Learning About the Holocaust

Learning With Anne Frank's Diary


This page contains a series of twenty activities related to Anne Frank's diary.

The activities are suitable for pupils and teachers working on literacy and history in Key Stages 2 and 3.

The work has been planned around twenty entries (letters to “Kitty”) in the diary.

They are a representative selection of key events in Anne's life so they follow a chronological order.

These activities will not only link into the QCA guidelines for History but also link to Literacy objectives.

They are adapted for this site from an original document written by Jill Stubbs and Adrian Chrismas of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council's School Improvement Service.

For most of these activities, you will need copies of Anne Frank's diary (we cannot put this on the Web site, as the copyright laws do not alllow this) and other documents, such as Samuel Pepys' diary.

Pepys' diary is available as a text file to open or download from this site.

If you wish to do this, click on the link below (left or right mouse click depending on your browser):

Warning: Please note that this is a large file (approx 2 Mb) and may take some time to open or download.

All the activities (which follow this paragraph) are written for pupils - using the second person pronoun “you”.

We hope teachers will encourage children to work independently, and support them as you always do, where they need help and guidance.

The activities can mostly be done using computer software or traditional writing equipment.

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Introducing Diaries

Talk about keeping diaries. Here are some ideas for doing this - but you will think of many more:

  • Make a collection of diaries from relations - this may be difficult, as they may not live locally and may be uneasy about showing a personal diary to others
  • Keep a diary for a short period before starting the activities.
  • Compare your diary entries with Anne Frank's.
  • Make a list of famous diaries of real and fictional people.
  • Visit Web sites which show people's diaries.
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Analysing Diaries

Analyse how a diary is written or use examples taken from own diaries.

For example, look at an extract from Samuel Pepys' diary and compare it to one from Anne's - are there any similarities or differences?

Make a list of these.

To get you started, do you know whom Anne writes for - that is, the reader she imagines she will have?

Click here to find out.

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Studying a Specific Diary Entry

For this activity you will use Anne's diary entry for Saturday, 20th June, 1942.

Compare Samuel Pepys' diary with Anne Frank's. Think about:

  • The kinds of event each records
  • The form of the text in each diary - is it letters, a factual narrative and so on?
  • The viewpoint in each diary
  • The style of each diary - things like comparisons or humour

When you have done this you can make a list of the main differences and similarities - you can write these down, or present them by speaking and listening.

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Looking at Differences Between Diaries

For this activity you will again use Anne's diary entry for Saturday, 20th June, 1942.

Name: ----write your name here----

Name: ----write today's date here----

Although Samuel Pepys' diary and Anne Frank's diary have many similarities, they are also different in many ways. For example, Anne's diary...----Your text goes here----

Your text

Your text

-----Your text ends here-----

On the other hand, Samuel Pepys' diary...----Your text goes here----

Your text

Your text

-----Your text ends here-----

Another way in which they differ is...----Your text goes here----

Your text

Your text

-----Your text ends here-----

A further difference is...----Your text goes here----

Your text

Your text

-----Your text ends here-----

Finally...----Your text goes here----

Your text

Your text

-----Your text ends here-----
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Deciding What is Important

This activity will require you to evaluate the relative importance of different things and try to organize them into a list.

You should read Anne Frank's diary entry for Wednesday, 8th July 1942.

What would you pack and why?

Do memories mean more to Anne than dresses?

In Anne's situation, which, in your view, would be more important?

Try to give reasons for your answer.

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“Memories mean more to me than dresses.”

For this activity, you should think about the importance of memories.

You might, for example, try to recall any of these things:

  • your earliest memory
  • your happiest/saddest experience
  • a holiday, birthday, Christmas or other festival day
  • a pet, friend or relative
  • your first day at school
  • being ill and/or getting better
  • your best achievement

If you have more time, you can look at home for photographs which your parents/guardians will allow them to take to school - these are often very good for prompting memories.

The school may have old class photographs, too.

You can respond to this in lots of ways - writing and performing a poem or piece of drama, making a comic strip or timeline of your lives, with pictures, or writing a list of memories to go into a personal “treasure chest”.

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Looking at Tension or Suspense in the diary

This activity also uses the diary entry for 8th July 1942.

You should read the letter together, in pairs or small groups.

You will need a print copy or photocopy on which you are allowed to write and make marks.

Suspense and tension are the names we use for what writers do, when they make us read on to find out the answer to specific questions which they have asked or suggested.

It is used in lots of soap-operas, which end with a “cliff-hanger” - so you watch the next episode, to find out the result.

Look at how Anne builds suspense into her letter.

For example, she writes, “Years seem to have passed between Sunday and now.”

The reader wonders why such a short time seems like years.

Does Anne Frank tell the reader why “years seem to have passed”?

Look for sentences to highlight - you should choose sentences which create suspense or tension, by:

  • raising doubts and questions in the reader's mind
  • being short - as if we are missing something
  • not telling us all we want to know

Highlight the sentences which build suspense.

When you have done so, write down the best six examples.

As an extension activity, you should write down how these sentences create suspense in you as the reader.

  1. ----Your text goes here----
  2. ----Your text goes here----
  3. ----Your text goes here----
  4. ----Your text goes here----
  5. ----Your text goes here----
  6. ----Your text goes here----
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Studying Description

For this activity you should read the diary entry for Wednesday, 11th July 1942.

Read the passage in pairs or small groups. Now answer these questions:

  • How (as a writer) does Anne build up a descriptive account of her room?
  • How (as an “interior designer” with limited materials) does she personalize the room?

Now write a description of your own bedroom, explaining how you personalize it. Write your name on the description.

In a group mix the descriptions up.

One or more people (or your teacher) should read the descriptions out - the rest listen, and guess whose bedroom matches each description.

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Describing a Person

First of all think of (and write down) adjectives to describe yourself and a friend.

Adjectives are describing words or qualifiers which tell you more about something - words like big, daft, silly and cautious.

Lots of the adjectives that describe character end in -ful, -ous, or -some (beautiful, curious and fearsome, for example).

You can also use abstract nouns to show parts of your character or your friend's.

When you have made your lists, discuss them with your friend, and try to agree.

You may wish to use a dictionary to check that you have used words with the meaning you intended them to have.

Next, you should try to draft a description, using some complex sentences.

You may have to ask your teacher for help here - a complex sentence is one with subordinate or relative clauses in it.

You can display your descriptions and use photographs to illustrate them.

You could extend the activity by describing moods and feelings - how does a person change, when he or she is happy, angry, frightened or excited, for example.

For a further extension, you can discuss how (you think) others see you or fail to see you - are you invisible sometimes, as Anne Frank feared she was?

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Studying an Attitude or Belief

It is quite easy to show attitudes or beliefs at work or in action - for example, saying what Nazis did to Jews in the war.

It is quite a lot harder to explain the beliefs, as you need to use abstract nouns to do this - words like hate, prejudice, and all the nouns that end in -ism.

Read Anne Frank's diary entries for Friday, 9th October 1942 and Thursday 19th November 1942.

Anti-Semitism is the name given to prejudice against or hatred of Jews.

Develop a concept map related to the treatment of the Jews, using information from the diary or other sources.

How, according to Anne, were Jewish people in the Netherlands treated by the Gestapo (the Nazi secret police)?

Now write a non chronological report on anti-Semitism in the Netherlands during World War Two.

Use your concept map to plan the report.

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Talking About Yourself and Your Personal Space

Speaking and Listening Activity.

For this activity you should read the diary entry for Thursday, 19th November, 1942.

Is it better to have a room to yourself or share with others? (You don't have to tell people which of these you do, if you don't want to.)

Try to think of good things (advantages) and bad things (disadvantages) of either arrangement?

Who is the best person to share with?.

Discuss which of these you would most or least like:

  • a friend
  • a sibling (brother or sister)
  • another relation
  • someone the same age as you
  • someone older or younger than you
  • a tidy or a messy person

How would sharing help you or hinder you (make it hard) in personalizing your own bedroom, and creating your own space?

You can present this as a role-play activity.

Improvise or write a script for one or more of these scenarios:

  • Your parents want to tell you that you must share your bedroom for the next month with a visitor from another country.
  • You share your bedroom with a brother or sister (can be older, younger or a twin) - you have an argument about the room.
  • A rich relative has given you a large amount of money (you can decide how much) to give your room a makeover - you discuss with your parents (and perhaps a designer) what you would like to do.
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Studying the Writer's Choices

For this activity you should read the diary entry for Wednesday, 13th January 1943.

As you read the letter see if you can find any of the following things (your teacher might want you to write them down, or you could type them on a word-processor, and highlight them):

  • similes - comparisons which say one thing is like another
  • metaphors - comparison which say one thing is another
  • verbs which refer to violent physical actions
  • repetition - using the same thing more than once to make the reader notice it

You can also do this as a Cloze (gap-filling) exercise.

Copy the text below (select it, then use the edit menu, or simply hold down the CTRL key and press C on the keyboard).

Open a new document in a word processor or text-editor, then paste the text into it (use the edit menu, or hold down CTRL and press V).

When you have finished, you can compare your version to those of your friends, and to Anne Frank's.

Sometimes, you may have chosen a word with a different meaning.

Sometimes you may have chosen a different word with the same meaning.

Sometimes you may have chosen the same word.

Note that Anne wrote in Dutch - the language of the Netherlands.

You are probably reading an English translation.

Your version is not necessarily wrong - discuss why you chose different words, and ask your teacher's opinions of your choices.

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Wednesday, 13th January, 1943
Dear Kitty,

        Everything has upset me again this morning, so I wasn't able to finish a single thing properly.

        It is terrible outside. Day and night more of those poor --------- people are being --------- off, with nothing but a -------- and a little money. On the day they are --------- even of these possessions. Families are torn apart, the men, women and children all being ---------.Children coming home from school find that their parents have ---------.Women return from shopping to find their homes shut up and their families gone.

        The Dutch people are anxious too, their sons are being sent to Germany. Everyone is ----------.

        And every night hundreds of 'planes fly over Holland and go to German towns, where the earth is --------- by their bombs, and every hour hundreds and thousands of people are killed in Russia and Africa. No one is able to keep out of it, the whole globe is --------- war and although it is going better for the Allies, the end is not yet in sight.

        And as for us, we are fortunate. Yes, we are luckier than millions of people. It is quiet and safe here, and we are, so to speak, living on capital. We are even so selfish as to talk about 'after the war', brighten up at the thought of having new clothes and new shoes, whereas we really ought to save every penny, to help other people, and save what is left from the --------- after the war.

        The children here run about in just a thin blouse and clogs; no coat, no hat, no stockings, and no one helps them. Their --------- are empty, they--------- an old carrot to stay the ---------, go from their --------- homes out into the --------- street and, when they get to school, find themselves in an even --------- classroom. Yes, it has even got so bad in Holland that --------- children stop the passers-by and --------- for a piece of bread. I could go on for hours about all the --------- the war has brought, but then I would only make myself more ---------. There is nothing we can do but wait as --------- as we can till the --------- comes to an end. Jews and --------- wait, the whole --------- waits; and there are many who wait for ---------.

Yours, Anne
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Reading With Understanding

For this activity you should read the diary entry for Friday, 2nd April 1943.

When you have read the passage, you should answer the questions below.

First give your answer, then give your reason for thinking this - use evidence in the passage.

  • What do we learn about Anne in this passage?
  • What do we learn about her relationship with her mother?
  • Why does Anne feel angry?
  • How does she feel about her father?
  • Does this affect the relationship between her parents? If so, how?
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Finding Things Out

For this activity you should use the diary entry for Monday, 26th July 1943.

If this (the information in the passage) is what you have found out about the War, now what do you want to know?

Use the QUADS (Question, Answer, Detail, Source) method to help you do this.

Question Answer Detail Source
Write your question here Write the answer here when you find it Give details to support your answer Give the source of your evidence
Where did Anne Frank live in the war? Anne lived in Amsterdam Her family moved from their house to a secret part of Mr. Frank's warehouse It says, in Chapter X of the diary, that...

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Relating a Day in Anne's Life and Your Own

For this activity you will use the diary entry for Wednesday, 4th August, 1943.

Read the diary in pairs or small groups.

When you have finished you can try to retell what this day was like - you can do this as a speaking activity or you can write it down.

To extend this activity give an account of a typical day in your own life.

Finally, you can compare Anne's day with yours - try to look beyond the obvious difference (that you are probably able to go out, while she wasn't).

You may like to use the prompts below for your speaking or writing.

You may think of others - ; the list in the middle can be rearranged (the order is not important):


Next...Then...After that...Later on...Meanwhile...While...As...Eventually

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Understanding Feelings

For this activity you should read the diary entry for Thursday, 16th September 1943.

Speaking and Listening Task

After a year in the annexe how do you think Anne is feeling?

How would you be feeling if you have been imprisoned for a year?

In small groups you should talk about these things for five to ten minutes.

Each group can report back to the teacher and the rest of the class what they thought.

Text Marking Task

Using a photocopy of the text, use a highlighter pen to mark key phrases which describe how Anne is feeling.

How far do her feelings here match what you thought yours would be?

How do you think the occupants in the annexe will be feeling after a year?

Talk about this, then look at evidence from the letter - does this confirm what you thought?

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For this activity you will read the diary entry for 23rd February 1944.

Read the letter.

When you have read it, try to find what makes Anne happy.

You can make a list to show all the answers you can find.

Now think of what makes you happy.

To extend this activity you can talk (or write) about any of these things:

  • whether what makes you happy is the same as, or different from, what made Anne Frank happy
  • how important it is to be happy
  • whether there is a limit to how often you can be happy
  • whether what makes you happy is changing as you grow older
  • how you can help other people to be happy
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Understanding and Explaining the Effects of War

For this activity you should read the diary entry for 29th March 1944.

Effects are what follow causes (if the cause is a hammer hitting your finger, the effects may include pain, bleeding and some time off school - the pain and bleeding are direct effects, while the time off school is an indirect effect).

You can illustrate this by using the image of ripples in a pond.

You can draw these using a pair of compasses and gradually increasing the radius (distance from the centre) or by using paint or drawing software on a computer.

Place the biggest effects nearest the centre and the smallest effects furthest away. (War is right in the middle of the pond - like the thing which caused all the ripples to start rippling!)

It's probably a good idea to do a rough draft, then talk in groups about what you have placed where.

You can move things until you are satisfied you have got the diagram right.

Now you can make a much bigger and neater diagram for your class or group.

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A Scary Experience

For this activity you should read the diary entry for Tuesday, 11th April (an extract from Anne's letter about burglars).

Have you ever had a frightening experience like Anne's?

In pairs or small groups, tell each other of a frightening thing that has happened to you (you don't need to talk about things which are so bad you don't want to think about them - but you should always be able to tell a teacher or responsible adult, if you think that what happened is wrong).

You might think about some of these things:

  • Are there different kinds of fright?
  • Are our fears rational (like a fear of tigers) or irrational (like a fear of moths)?
  • Have you grown out of (or into) some kinds of fear?
  • Do you sometimes like being scared (by films, books or fairground rides)?

Finally, you might, as a class, try to make a list of the ten (or twenty) most scary things in the world - not including your teacher, of course!

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D-day and Freedom

For this activity you should read Anne's diary entry for Thursday, 6th June 1944 - "This is D-day".

Unlike many dates in the diary, this is one which many people all over the world can remember.

Use a map of the area to locate the places mentioned.

You might have a suitable map in an atlas in your school - but you can find detailed maps on the World Wide Web, for example at:

Your task is to produce an article about D-day for a reference book or encyclopaedia written for young people.

You can do this using appropriate computer software, if possible.

Here are some things you might wish to do:

  • find text articles about D-day (there are some on this website: Liberating Europe);
  • find images that you can use;
  • select the information you want for your article;
  • change the text so that it is suitable for young readers (you can test this by asking some people to read it, and marking anything they find hard).
  • edit and improve the text by using features of a word processor - such as the grammar checker and readability information
  • print your article for display in the classroom or put it onto a school network or Web site

You will find images on this site, in the gallery area.

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