The Nazi party came into power after the events of World War I. Germany was in the middle of an economic depression. Adolf Hitler, a powerful public speaker, rose to be the leader of the party. Eventually, German citizens elected him as the chancellor of the party, and he used his position of power to create laws that began to discriminate against Jewish citizens.
During the events of the Holocaust, a ghetto was a area that was used to segregate Jewish citizens from the rest of the population. Living conditions were very difficult in the ghetto, as there were many individuals living in a small area. Ghettos were designed to be temporary, and many of them were destroyed during the Final Solution, a plan designed to eliminate all Jews.
As part of the Final Solution, Concentration Camps (also known as Killing Centers) were created. These camps were designed to kill as many Jews as possible, along with other undesirables such as communists, homosexuals, Gypsies, and the handicapped. Auschwitz, the largest camp, was responsible for the death of about one million Jews, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Many prisoners were killed in gas chambers, which were designed to look like showers to trick prisoners into a false sense of security.
Propaganda was a tool that was used by the Axis and Allied armies in order to persuade citizens during the course of World War II. Propaganda had a variety of goals, such as recruiting soldiers, raising money for the war, eliminating disagreement and encouraging people to conserve resources. Propaganda posters used a variety of techniques to convey the message. Patriotic appeals and symbols of the American flag or Swastika were common. Propaganda would often tell half-truths, or complete lies. Catchy slogans were also common, such as the "I Want You" slogan from Uncle Sam for American propaganda. While posters such as the ones below made up most of the propaganda for both sides, movies were also common, such as Triumph of the Will for the Nazis or even Disney animated shorts like "Der Fuehrer's Face" starring Donald Duck.
Otto Frank was the father to Anne and Margot, and husband to Edith. Fighting in WWI for the German army, Otto creates the Opekta company, which specializes in selling jam. In 1942 Otto takes his family, along with the Van Pels family, into hiding. After the Franks are captured, he manages to survive in Auschwitz, becoming the only member of the Secret Annex to survive the Holocaust. Otto publishes his daughter's diary, and dies in 1980.
Eldest daughter of the Frank family, Margot is much quieter than her sister, and hopes to be a maternity nurse. Even though she has a different personality from her sister, they get along well and talk about several things. Margot, along with her family, is captured by the Nazis and taken to Bergen-Belsen. Margot contracts typhus and dies in February 1945. Like Anne, she also kept a diary, but unfortunately, it has never been found.
Peter van Pels
Born in 1928, Peter is the only child to Auguste and Hermann. At first, Anne is under the impression that Peter is lazy, and more sensitive than he should be. However, once Anne gets to know him better, she forms a bond with him as they discuss growing up in the Secret Annex. When Peter is captured, he is sent to Auschwitz along with his father, Otto Frank, and Fritz Pfeffer. When the camp closes, he is forced on a "death march" to a nearby concentration camp. He survives, but eventually dies due to injury and sickness in May of 1945.
Fritz Pfeffer is a late addition to the Secret Annex, arriving in November of 1942. Anne and Fritz share a room, which causes several problems as they have very different personalities (in fact, she refers to him as Mr. Dussel, which means "nitwit" in German). Fritz Pfeffer dies in 1945. After his fiance, Charlotte Kaletta, discovers that Fritz has died, she has a marriage ceremony on April 9, 1953, to become Fritz's wife posthumously.
Escape from concentration camps was very uncommon, due to the fact that at most camps when one prisoner would escape, several others were killed in retribution. Thus prisoners would not try to escape, knowing that the lives of others they left behind would be put at risk. One notable exception to this was the uprising at Sobibor. Prisoners intercepted a note that told that the camp was to be liquidated and all of the prisoners killed. Knowing that they had only a short amount of time, the prisoners, led by Soviet Alexander Pechersky, organized a uprising on October 14, 1943, and attempted to overpower the guards with their own weapons. About three hundred men escaped, however, all but fifty were recaptured. After the uprising Nazi leadership ordered the camp destroyed and all evidence of the camp's existence be erased. A museum now stands in the area to honor and remember those whose lives were lost.