“It was around ten-thirty. I was upstairs with the Van Pelses in Peter’s room and I was helping him with his schoolwork. I was showing him the mistake in the dictation when suddenly someone came running up the stairs. The stairs were squeaking, I stood up, because it was still early in the morning and everyone was supposed to be quiet - then the door opened and a man was standing right in front of us with a gun in his hand and it was pointed at us.”
Otto Frank

Friday, August 4, 1944, is a day like any other day. The helpers are working in the office in the front part of the building. Upstairs, the people in hiding are quietly going about their business. Suddenly, out front on the Prinsengracht, a vehicle comes to a halt. Out jumps an SS-officer and three Dutch policeman. They enter the building and go directly to the office. Victor Kugler must escort them to the Secret Annex. The people in hiding have been betrayed…

The Arrest

“Later Bep and I went upstairs to the Franks' bedroom. And there we saw Anne’s diary lying on the ground. Let’s pick it up I said. Because Bep stood there looking around in a daze. I said: Pick it up, pick it up, let’s get out of here! We did the best we could to to collect it; we were so frightened! We went downstairs and there we were, Bep and I. What now Bep? Then she said: ‘You’re the oldest. You should keep it’.”
Miep Gies

The people in hiding and the two male helpers are arrested and taken for interrogation to a jail run by the Germans. The two helpers are later transferred to a the city prison. Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl are left behind on the Prinsengracht. They rescue Anne Frank's diary papers.

To Westerbork

“Of course, all of us had to work in the camp, but in the evenings we were free and we could be together. For the children especially, there was a certain relief; to no longer be cooped up and to be able to talk to other people. However, we adults feared being deported to the notorious camps in Poland.”
Otto Frank

On August 8, 1944, the eight people in hiding are taken to Westerbork by passenger train. Because they did not report voluntarily, but have been arrested instead, they are assigned to barracks in the punishment block. They have to work all day breaking up old batteries. Even though it is grimy and unhealthy work, the prisoners can still talk to each other.


Freight trains filled with prisoners leave regularly for unspecified destinations
in the East. A long list of prisoners names is read aloud on September 2, 1944. These people must depart the next day. The names of the eight people in hiding are also on this list.

Never Forget

“I will never forget that moment when the 17-year-old Peter van Pels and I saw a group of selected men. Peter’s father was among them. They were marched away. Two hours later a cart with their clothes on it went by.”
Otto Frank

On the morning of September 3, 1944, a very long train comprised of freight cars leaves Westerbork. There are more than 70 prisoners packed into each wagon. Among the 1019 Jewish prisoners are also the eight people from the Secret Annex. After a dreadful train trip, lasting three days, they arrive at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Two Groups

On the platform at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the men and women are separated.
Nazi doctors divide the prisoners into two groups: prisoners who they consider
fit enough to work and prisoners who will be killed immediately in the the gas chamber. The eight people in hiding are spared. They are expected to perform heavy labor. After a short while, Hermann van Pels can no longer do this kind of work. He is murdered in the gas chamber.


“First, Margot had fallen out of bed onto the stone floor. She couldn’t get up anymore. Anne died a day later.”
Janny Brilleslijper provided an eyewitness account of the deaths of Margot and Anne Frank in Bergen-Belsen.

At the end of October 1944, Anne and Margot are transported from Auschwitz-Birkenau to Bergen-Belsen. Their mother remains behind in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Edith falls ill and dies of exhaustion in January 1945. Auguste van Pels arrives at Bergen-Belsen with another transport of prisoners in November 1944. There she meets Anne and Margot again. Auguste van Pels is only at Bergen-Belsen for a short while and probably dies during a transport of prisoners to Theresienstadt. Anne and Margot succumb to typhus in March 1945, a few weeks before the camp is liberated by the British Army.

One Has to Be Hopeful...

“Dearest Mother,
I hope that these lines get to you bringing you and and all the ones I love the news that I have been saved by the Russians, that I am well, am in good spirits, and being looked after well in every respect. Where Edith and the children are I do not know. We have been apart since September 5, 1944. I merely heard that they have been trans-
ported to Germany. One has to be hopeful to see them back well and healthy.”
The first letter from Otto Frank to his mother, February 23, 1945.

Otto Frank is liberated from Auschwitz on January 27, 1945. Shortly before his release, the Nazis evacuate the camp. Prisoners, who can still walk, must go with them. Peter van Pels is among these prisoners. He arrives at the Mathausen concentration camp in Austria at the end of Janaury. The prisoners have to perform heavy labor. Peter van Pels dies of exhaustion on May 5, 1945.