Anne Frank Diary (Extracts)
12 JUNE 1942
I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in to anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.
SUNDAY, 14 JUNE 1942
On Friday, 12 June, I was awake at six o’clock, which isn’t surprising, since it was my birthday. But I’m not allowed to get up at that hour, so I had to control my curiosity until quarter to seven. When I couldn’t wait any longer, I went to the dining-room, where Moortje (the cat) welcomed me by rubbing against my legs. A little after seven I went to Daddy and Mummy and then to the living-room to open my presents, and you were the first thing I saw, maybe one of my nicest presents. Then a bouquet of roses, some peonies and a potted plant. These were the first flowers, later I received more of them. From Daddy and Mummy I got heaps of presents and my friends also showered gifts upon me. I got a book – Camera Obscura, a table game, lots of sweets, a puzzle, a brooch, Dutch Sagas and Legends by Joseph Khozn and some money. With them I bought Myths of Ancient Greece and Rome – a terrific book!
Then Hanneli came to pick me up, and we went to school. During break I handed out biscuits to my teachers and my class, and then it was time to get back to work.
That’s it for now. I’m so happy to have you!
SATURDAY, 20 JUNE I942
Writing in a diary is a really strange experience for someone like me. Not only because I’ve never written anything before, but also because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl. Oh well, it doesn’t matter. I feel like writing, and I have an even greater need to get all kinds of things off my chest.
‘Paper has more patience than people.’ I thought of this saying on one of those days when I was feeling a little depressed and was sitting at home with my chin in my hands, bored and listless, wondering whether to stay in or go out. I finally stayed where I was, brooding. Yes, paper doeshave more patience, and since I’m not planning to let anyone else read this stiff-backed notebook grandly referred to as a ‘diary’, unless I should ever find a real friend, it probably won’t make a bit of difference.
Now I’m back to the point that prompted me to keep a diary in the first place: I don’t have a friend.
Let me put it more clearly, since no one will believe that a thirteen-year-old girl is completely alone in the world. And I’m not. I have loving parents and a sixteen-year-old sister, and there are about thirty people I can call friends. I have a throng of admirers who can’t keep their adoring eyes off me and who sometimes have to resort to using a broken pocket mirror to try and catch a glimpse of me in the classroom. I have a family, loving aunts and a good home. No, on the surface I seem to have everything, except my one true friend. All I think about when I’m with friends is having a good time. I can’t bring myself to talk about anything but ordinary everyday things. We don’t seem to be able to get any closer, and that’s the problem. Maybe it’s my fault that we don’t confide in each other. In any case, that’s just how things are, and unfortunately they’re not liable to change. This is why I’ve started the diary.
To enhance the image of this long-awaited friend in my imagination, I don’t want to jot down the facts in this diary the way most people would do, but I want the diary to be my friend, and I’m going to call this friend Kitty.
Since no one would understand a word of my stories to Kitty if I were to plunge right in, I’d better provide a brief sketch of my life, much as I dislike doing so.
My father, the most adorable father I’ve ever seen, didn’t marry my mother until he was thirty-six and she was twenty-five. My sister Margot was born in Frankfurt am Main in Germany in 1926. I was born on 12 June 1929. I lived in Frankfurt until I was four. Because we’re Jewish, my father emigrated to Holland in 1933, when he became the Managing Director of the Dutch Opekta Company. His Company is connected with Colen and Co, which is located at the same building.
Our lives were not without anxiety, since our relatives in Germany were suffering under Hitler’s anti-Jewish laws. After the pogroms in 1938 my two uncles (my mother’s brothers) fled Germany, finding safe refuge in North America. My elderly grandmother came to live with us. She was seventy-three years old at the time. After 1940 the good times were few and far between: first there was the war, then the capitulation and then the arrival of the Germans, which is when the trouble started for the Jews. Our freedom was severely restricted by a series of anti-Jewish decrees: Jews were required to wear a yellow star; Jews were required to turn in their bicycles; Jews were forbidden to use trams; Jews were forbidden to ride in cars, even their own; Jews were required to do their shopping between 3.00 and 5.00 p.m.; Jews were required to frequent only Jewish-owned barbershops and beauty salons; Jews were forbidden to be out on the streets between 8.00 p.m. and 6.00 a.m.; Jews were forbidden to go to theatres, cinemas or any other forms of entertainment; Jews were forbidden to use swimming pools, tennis courts, hockey fields or any other athletic fields; Jews were forbidden to go rowing; Jews were forbidden to take part in any athletic activity in public; Jews were forbidden to sit in their gardens or those of their friends after 8.00 p.m.; Jews were forbidden to visit Christians in their homes; Jews were required to attend Jewish schools, etc. You couldn’t do this and you couldn’t do that, but life went on. Jacque always said to me, ‘I don’t dare do anything any more, ’cause I’m afraid it’s not allowed.’
This January the Granny died. No one knows how much I loved her and how much I miss her.
In 1943 I started right away at the Montessori nursery school and I stayed there. In the last year my teacher was Mrs. K., the headmistress. At the end of the year we were both in tears as we said a heartbreaking farewell, because I’d been accepted at the Jewish Lyceum, where Margot also went to school: she went to the forth grade, and I – to the first.
The four of us are still doing well, and that brings me to the present date of 20 June 1942, and the solemn dedication of my diary.
WEDNESDAY, 8 JULY 1942
It seems like years since Sunday morning. So much has happened it’s as if the whole world had suddenly turned upside down. But as you can see, Kitty, I’m still alive, and that’s the main thing, Father says.
I’m alive all right, but don’t ask where or how. You probably don’t understand a word I’m saying today, so I’ll begin by telling you what happened Sunday afternoon.
At three o’clock (Hello had left but was supposed to come back later), the doorbell rang. I didn’t hear it, since I was out on the balcony, lazily reading in the sun. A little while later Margot appeared in the kitchen doorway looking very agitated. ‘Father has received a call-up notice from the SS,’ she whispered. ‘Mother has gone to see Mr. van Daan.’ (Mr. van Daan is Father’s business partner and a good friend.)
I was stunned. A call-up: everyone knows what that means. Visions of concentration camps and lonely cells raced through my head. How could we let Father go to such a fate? ‘Of course he’s not going,’ declared Margot as we waited for Mother in the living-room. ‘Mother’s gone to Mr. van Daan to ask whether we can move to our hiding place tomorrow. The van Daans are going with us. There will be seven of us altogether.’ Silence. We couldn’t speak. The thought of Father off visiting someone in the Jewish Hospital and completely unaware of what was happening, the long wait for Mother, the heat, the suspense – all this reduced us to silence.
Suddenly the doorbell rang again. ‘That’s Hello,’ I said.
‘Don’t open the door!’ exclaimed Margot to stop me. But it wasn’t necessary, since we heard Mother and Mr. van Daan downstairs talking to Hello, and then the two of them came inside and shut the door behind them. Every time the bell rang, either Margot or I had to tiptoe downstairs to see if it was Father, and we didn’t let anyone else in.
Margot and I were sent from the room, as Mr. van Daan wanted to talk to Mother alone.
When she and I were sitting in our bedroom, Margot told me that the call-up was not for Father, but for her. At this second shock, I began to cry. Margot is sixteen – apparently they want to send girls her age away on their own. But thank goodness she won’t be going; Mother had said so herself, which must be what Father had meant when he talked to me about our going into hiding. Hiding . . . where would we hide? In the city? In the country? In a house? In a shack? When, where, how . . . ? These were questions I wasn’t allowed to ask, but they still kept running through my mind.
Margot and I started packing our most important belongings into a satchel. The first thing I stuck in was this diary, and then curlers, handkerchiefs, schoolbooks, a comb and some old letters. Preoccupied by the thought of going into hiding, I stuck the craziest things in the satchel, but I’m not sorry. Memories mean more to me than dresses.
Father finally came home around five o’clock, and we rang Mr. Kleiman to ask if he could come by that evening. Mr. van Daan left and went to get Miep. Miep arrived and promised to return later that night, taking with her a bag full of shoes, dresses, jackets, underwear and stockings. After that it was quiet in our flat; none of us felt like eating. It was still hot, and everything was very strange.
We had rented out our big upstairs room to a Mr. Goldschmidt, a divorced man in his thirties, who apparently had nothing to do that evening, since despite all our polite hints he hung around until ten o’clock.
Miep and Jan Gies came at eleven. Miep, who’s worked for Father’s company since 1933, has become a close friend, and so has her husband Jan. Once again, shoes, stockings, books and underwear disappeared into Miep’s bag and Jan’s deep pockets. At eleven-thirty they too disappeared.
I was exhausted, and even though I knew it’d be my last night in my own bed, I fell asleep right away and didn’t wake up until Mother called me at five-thirty the next morning. Fortunately, it wasn’t as hot as Sunday; a warm rain fell throughout the day. The four of us were wrapped in so many layers of clothes it looked as if we were going off to spend the night in a refrigerator, and all that just so we could take more clothes with us. No Jew in our situation would dare leave the house with a suitcase full of clothes. I was wearing two vests, three pairs of pants, a dress, and over that a skirt, a jacket, a raincoat, two pairs of stockings, heavy shoes, a cap, a scarf and lots more. I was suffocating even before we left the house, but no one bothered to ask me how I felt.
Margot stuffed her satchel with schoolbooks, went to get her bicycle and, with Miep leading the way, rode off into the great unknown. At any rate, that’s how I thought of it, since I still didn’t know where our hiding place was.
At seven-thirty we too closed the door behind us; Moortje, my cat, was the only living creature I said good-bye to. According to a note we left for Mr. Goldschmidt, she was to be taken to the neighbours, who would give her a good home.
The stripped beds, the breakfast things on the table, the pound of meat for the cat in the kitchen – all of these created the impression that we’d left in a hurry. But we weren’t interested in impressions. We just wanted to get out of there, to get away and reach our destination in safety. Nothing else mattered.
FRIDAY, 21 AUGUST 1942.
Now our Secret Annexe has truly become secret. Because so many houses are being searched for hidden bicycles, Mr. Kugler thought it would be better to have a bookcase built in front of the entrance to our hiding place. It swings out on its hinges and opens like a door. Mr. Voskuijl did the carpentry work. (Mr. Voskuijl has been told that the seven of us are in hiding, and he’s been most helpful.)
Now whenever we want to go downstairs we have to duck and then jump. After the first three days we were all walking around with bumps oh our foreheads from banging our heads against the low doorway. Then Peter cushioned it by nailing a towel stuffed with wood shavings to the door frame. Let’s see if it helps!
I’m not doing much schoolwork. I’ve given myself a holiday until September. Father wants to start giving me lessons then, but we have to buy all the books first.
There’s little change in our lives here. Mr. van Daan and I are always at loggerheads with each other. Mummy always treats me like a baby, which I can’t stand. For the rest, things are going better. I don’t think Peter’s got any nicer. He’s an obnoxious boy who lies around on his bed all day, only rousing himself to do a little carpentry work before returning to his nap. What a clot!
FRIDAY, 9 OCTOBER I942
Today I have nothing but dismal and depressing news to report. Our many Jewish friends and acquaintances are being taken away in droves. The Gestapo is treating them very roughly and transporting them in cattle-trucks to Westerbork, the big camp in Drenthe to which they’re sending all the Jews. Miep told us about someone who’d managed to escape from there. It must be terrible in Westerbork. There’s only one lavatory and sink for several thousand people. Men and women sleep in the same room, and women and children often have their heads shaved. Escape is almost impossible; many people look Jewish, and they’re branded by their shorn heads.
If it’s that bad in Holland, what must it be like in those faraway and uncivilized places where the Germans are sending them? We assume that most of them are being murdered. The English radio says they’re being gassed. Perhaps that’s the quickest way to die.
Miep’s accounts of these horrors are so heartrending, and Miep is also very distraught. The other day, for instance, the Gestapo deposited an elderly, crippled Jewish woman on Miep’s doorstep while they set off to find a car. The old woman was terrified of the glaring searchlights and the guns firing at the English planes overhead. Yet Miep didn’t dare let her in. Nobody would. The Germans are generous enough when it comes to punishment.
Bep is also very subdued. Her boyfriend is being sent to Germany. Every time the planes fly over, she’s afraid they’re going to drop their entire bomb load on Bertus’s head. Jokes like ‘Oh, don’t worry, they can’t all fall on him’ or ‘One bomb is all it takes’ are hardly appropriate in this situation. Bertus is not the only one being forced to work in Germany. Trainloads of young men depart daily. Some of them try to sneak off the train when it stops at a small station, but only a few manage to escape unnoticed and find a place to hide.
But that’s not the end of my lamentations. Have you ever heard the term ‘hostages’? That’s the latest punishment for saboteurs. It’s the most horrible thing you can imagine. Leading citizens — innocent people — are taken prisoner to await their execution. If the Gestapo can’t find the saboteur, they simply grab five hostages and line them up against the wall. You read the announcements of their death in the paper, where they’re referred to as ‘fatal accidents’.
Fine specimens of humanity, those Germans, and to think I’m actually one of them! No, that’s not true, Hitler took away our nationality long ago. And besides, there are no greater enemies on earth than the Germans and the Jews.
WEDNESDAY, 13 JANUARY 1943
This morning I was constantly interrupted, and as a result I haven’t been able to finish a single thing I’ve begun.
Terrible things are happening outside. At any time of night and day, poor helpless people are being dragged out of their homes. They’re allowed to take only a rucksack and a little cash with them, and even then, they’re robbed of these possessions on the way. Families are torn apart; men, women and children are separated. Children come home from school to find that their parents have disappeared. Women return from shopping to find their houses sealed, their families gone. The Christians in Holland are also living in fear because their sons are being sent to Germany. Everyone is scared. Every night hundreds of planes pass over Holland on their way to German cities, to sow their bombs on German soil. Every hour hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of people are being killed in Russia and Africa. No one can keep out of the conflict, the entire world is at war, and even though the Allies are doing better, the end is nowhere in sight.
As for us, we’re quite fortunate. Luckier than millions of people. It’s quiet and safe here, and we’re using our money to buy food. We’re so selfish that we talk about ‘after the war’ and look forward to new clothes and shoes, when actually we should be saving every penny to help others when the war is over, to salvage whatever we can.
The children in this neighbourhood run around in thin shirts and wooden clogs. They have no coats, no socks, no caps and no one to help them. Gnawing on a carrot to still their hunger pangs, they walk from their cold houses through cold streets to an even colder classroom. Things have got so bad in Holland that hordes of children stop passers-by in the streets to beg for a piece of bread. I could spend hours telling you about the suffering the war has brought, but I’d only make myself more miserable. All we can do is wait, as calmly as possible, for it to end. Jews and Christians alike are waiting, the whole world is waiting, and many are waiting for death.
SATURDAY, 30 JANUARY 1943
I’m seething with rage, yet I can’t show it. I’d like to scream, stamp my foot, give Mother a good shaking, cry and I don’t know what else because of the nasty words, mocking looks and accusations that she hurls at me day after day, piercing me like arrows from a tightly strung bow, which are nearly impossible to pull from my body. I’d like to scream at Mother, Margot, the van Daans, Dussel and Father too: ‘Leave me alone, let me have at least one night when I don’t cry myself to sleep with my eyes burning and my head pounding. Let me get away, away from everything, away from this world!’ But I can’t do that. I can’t let them see my doubts, or the wounds they’ve inflicted on me. I couldn’t bear their sympathy or their good-humored derision. It would only make me want to scream even more.
Everyone thinks I’m showing off when I talk, ridiculous when I’m silent, insolent when I answer, cunning when I have a good idea, lazy when I’m tired, selfish when I eat one bite more than I should, stupid, cowardly, calculating, etc., etc. All day long I hear nothing but what an exasperating child I am, and although I laugh it off and pretend not to mind, I do mind. I wish I could ask God to give me another personality, one that doesn’t antagonize everyone. But that’s impossible. I’m stuck with the character I was born with, and yet I’m sure I’m not a bad person. I do my best to please everyone, more than they’d ever suspect in a million years. When I’m upstairs, I try to laugh it off because I don’t want them to see my troubles.
More than once, after a series of absurd reproaches, I’ve snapped at Mother: ‘I don’t care what you say. Why don’t you just wash your hands of me – I’m a hopeless case.’ Of course, she’d tell me not to talk back and virtually ignore me for two days. Then suddenly all would be forgotten and she’d treat me like everyone else.
It’s impossible for me to be all smiles one day and venomous the next. I’d rather choose the golden mean, which isn’t so golden, and keep my thoughts to myself. Perhaps sometime I’ll treat the others with the same contempt as they treat me. Oh, if only I could.
MONDAY, 19 JULY 1943
North Amsterdam was very heavily bombed on Sunday. There was apparently a great deal of destruction. Entire streets are in ruins, and it will take a while for them to dig out all the bodies. So far there have been two hundred dead and countless wounded; the hospitals are bursting at the seams. We’ve been told of children searching forlornly in the smouldering ruins for their dead parents. It still makes me shiver to think of the dull, distant drone that signified the approaching destruction.
THURSDAY, 11 NOVEMBER 1943
I have a good title for this chapter:
Ode to My Fountain Pen In Memoriam
My fountain pen was always one of my most prized possessions; I valued it highly, especially because it had a thick nib, and I can only write neatly with thick nibs. It has led a long and interesting fountain-pen life, which I will summarize below.
When I was nine, my fountain pen (packed in cotton wool) arrived as a ‘sample of no commercial value’ all the way from Aachen, where my grandmother (the kindly donor) used to live. I lay in bed with flu, while the February winds howled around our flat. This splendid fountain pen came in a red leather case, and I showed it to my girlfriends the first chance I got. Me, Anne Frank, the proud owner of a fountain pen.
When I was ten, I was allowed to take the pen to school, and to my surprise, the teacher even let me write with it. When I was eleven, however, my treasure had to be tucked away again, because my sixth-form teacher allowed us to use only school pens and ink-pots. When I was twelve, I started at the Jewish Lyceum and my fountain pen was given a new case in honour of the occasion. Not only did it have room for a pencil, it also had a zip, which was much more impressive. When I was thirteen, the fountain pen went with me to the Annexe, and together we’ve raced through countless diaries and compositions. I’d turned fourteen and my fountain pen was enjoying the last year of its life with me when . . .
It was just after five on Friday afternoon. I came out of my room and was about to sit down at the table to write when I was roughly pushed to one side to make room for Margot and Father, who wanted to practise their Latin. The fountain pen remained unused on the table, while its owner, sighing, was forced to make do with a very tiny corner of the table, where she began rubbing beans. That’s how we remove mould from the beans and restore them to their original state. At a quarter to six I swept the floor, dumped the dirt into a newspaper, along with the rotten beans, and tossed it into the stove. A giant flame shot up, and I thought it was wonderful that the stove, which had been gasping its last breath, had made such a miraculous recovery.
All was quiet again. The Latin students had left, and I sat down at the table to pick up where I’d left off. But no matter where I looked, my fountain pen was nowhere in sight. I took another look. Margot looked, Mother looked, Father looked, Dussel looked. But it had vanished.
‘Maybe it fell in the stove, along with the beans!’ Margot suggested.
‘No, it couldn’t have!’ I replied.
But that evening, when my fountain pen still hadn’t turned up, we all assumed it had been burned, especially because celluloid is highly inflammable. Our darkest fears were confirmed the next day when Father went to empty the stove and discovered the clip, used to fasten it to a pocket, among the ashes. Not a trace of the gold nib was left. ‘It must have melted into stone,’ Father conjectured.
I’m left with one consolation, small though it may be: my fountain pen was cremated, just as I would like to be some day.
SATURDAY, 27 NOVEMBER 1943
Last night, just as I was falling asleep, Hanneli suddenly appeared before me.
I saw her there, dressed in rags, her face thin and worn. She looked at me with such sadness and reproach in her enormous eyes that I could read the message in them: ‘Oh, Anne, why have you deserted me? Help me, help me, rescue me from this hell!’
And I can’t help her. I can only stand by and watch while other people suffer and die. All I can do is pray to God to bring her back to us. I saw Hanneli, and no one else, and I understood why. I misjudged her, wasn’t mature enough to understand how difficult it was for her. She was devoted to her friend, and it must have seemed as though I were trying to take her away. The poor thing, she must have felt awful! I know, because I recognize the feeling in myself! I had an occasional flash of understanding, but then got selfishly wrapped up again in my own problems and pleasures.
It was horrible of me to treat her that way, and now she was looking at me, oh so helplessly, with her pale face and beseeching eyes. If only I could help her! Dear God, I have everything I could wish for, while fate has her in its deadly clutches. She was as devout as I am, maybe even more so, and she too wanted to do what was right. But then why have I been chosen to live, while she’s probably going to die? What’s the difference between us? Why are we now so far apart?
To be honest, I hadn’t thought of her for months – no, for at least a year. I hadn’t forgotten her entirely, and yet it wasn’t until I saw her before me that I thought of all her suffering.
Oh, Hanneli, I hope that if you live to the end of the war and return to us, I’ll be able to take you in and make up for the wrong I’ve done you.
But even if I were ever in a position to help, she wouldn’t need it more than she does now. I wonder if she ever thinks of me, and what she’s feeling?
Merciful God, comfort her, so that at least she won’t be alone. Oh, if only You could tell her I’m thinking of her with compassion and love, it might help her go on.
I’ve got to stop dwelling on this. It won’t get me anywhere. I keep seeing her enormous eyes, and they haunt me. Does Hanneli really and truly believe in God, or has religion merely been foisted upon her? I don’t even know that. I never took the trouble to ask.
Hanneli, Hanneli, if only I could take you away, if only I could share everything I have with you. It’s too late. I can’t help, or undo the wrong I’ve done. But I’ll never forget her again and I’ll always pray for her!
FRIDAY, 7 JANUARY 1944
I’m such an idiot. I forgot that I haven’t yet told you the story of my one true love.
When I was a little girl, way back in nursery school, I took a liking to Sally Kimmel. His father was gone, and he and his mother lived with an aunt. One of Sally’s cousins was a good-looking, slender, dark-haired boy named Appy, who later turned out to look like a matinee idol and aroused more admiration than the short, comical, chubby Sally. For a long time we went everywhere together, but aside from that, my love was unrequited until Peter crossed my path. I had an absolute crush on him. He liked me too, and we were inseparable for one whole summer. I can still see us walking hand in hand through our neighbourhood, Peter in a white cotton suit and me in a short summer dress. At the end of the summer holidays he moved up a form to the next school, while I stayed in the sixth form. He’d collect me on the way home, or I’d pick him up. Peter was the ideal boy: tall, slim and good-looking, with a serious, quiet and intelligent face. He had dark hair, beautiful brown eyes, ruddy cheeks and a nicely pointed nose. I was crazy about his smile, which made him look so boyish and mischievous.
I’d gone to the country during the summer holidays, and when I came back, Peter was no longer at his old address; he’d moved and was living with a much older boy, who apparently told him I was just a child, because Peter stopped seeing me. I loved him so much that I didn’t want to face the truth. I kept clinging to him until the day I finally realized that if I continued to chase after him, people would say I was mad about boys.
The years went by. Peter went around with girls his own age and no longer bothered to say hello to me. I started school at the Jewish Lyceum, and several boys in my class were in love with me. I enjoyed it and felt honoured by their attentions, but that was all. Later on, Hello had a terrible crush on me, but as I’ve already told you, I never fell in love again.
There’s a saying: ‘Time heals all wounds.’ That’s how it was with me. I told myself I’d forgotten Peter and no longer liked him in the least. But my memories of him were so strong that I had to admit to myself that the only reason I no longer liked him was that I was jealous of the other girls. This morning I realized that nothing has changed; on the contrary, as I’ve grown older and more mature, my love has grown along with me. I can understand now that Peter thought I was childish, and yet it still hurts to think he’d forgotten me completely. I saw his face so clearly; I knew for certain that no one but Peter could have stuck in my mind that way.
I’ve been in an utter state of confusion today. When Father kissed me this morning, I wanted to shout, ‘Oh, if only you were Peter!’ I’ve been thinking of him constantly, and all day long I’ve been repeating to myself, ‘Oh, Petel, my darling, darling Petel . . .’
Where can I find help? I simply have to go on living and praying to God that, if we ever get out of here, Peter’s path will cross mine and he’ll gaze into my eyes, read the love in them and say, ‘Oh, Anne, if I’d only known, I’d have come to you long ago.’
Once when Father and I were talking about sex, he said I was too young to understand that kind of desire. But I thought I did understand it, and now I’m sure I do. Nothing is as dear to me now as my darling Petel!
I saw my face in the mirror, and it looked so different. My eyes were clear and deep, my cheeks were rosy, which they hadn’t been in weeks, my mouth was much softer. I looked happy, and yet there was something so sad in my expression that the smile immediately faded from my lips. I’m not happy, since I know Petel’s not thinking of me, and yet I can still feel his beautiful eyes gazing at me and his cool, soft cheek against mine . . . Oh, Petel, Petel, how am I ever going to free myself from your image? Wouldn’t anyone who took your place be a poor substitute? I love you, with a love so great that it simply couldn’t keep growing inside my heart, but had to leap out and reveal itself in all its magnitude. A week ago, even a day ago, if you’d asked me, ‘Which of your friends do you think you’d be most likely to marry?’ I’d have answered, ‘Sally, since he makes me feel good, peaceful and safe!’ But now I’d cry, ‘Petel, because I love him with all my heart and all my soul. I surrender myself completely!’ Except for that one thing: he may touch my face, but that’s as far as it goes.
This morning I imagined I was in the front attic with Petel, sitting on the floor by the windows, and after talking for a while, we both began to cry. Moments later I felt his mouth and his wonderful cheek! Oh, Petel, come to me. Think of me, my dearest Petel!
SATURDAY, 22 JANUARY 1944
Can you tell me why people go to such lengths to hide their real selves? Or why I always behave very differently when I’m in the company of others? I know there must be a reason, but sometimes I think it’s horrible that you can’t ever confide in anyone, not even those closest to you.
It seems as if I’ve grown up since the night I had that dream, as if I’ve become more independent. You’ll be amazed when I tell you that even my attitude towards the van Daans has changed. I’ve stopped looking at all the discussions and arguments from my family’s biased point of view.
What’s brought on such a radical change?
Well, you see, I suddenly realized