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The Diary of Anne Frank

By Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett

Newly adapted by Wendy Kesselman

Produced by Tennessee Repertory Theatre

Activities by Paul Fleming, co-author of The Holocaust and other Genocides: History,
Representation, Ethics and author of the Teacher’s Guide. A project of the Tennessee
Holocaust Commission, Inc.

Guidebook compiled, edited and additional activities by Kristin Horsley, TPAC Education
Tennessee Performing Arts Center gratefully acknowledges the generous
support of corporations, foundations, government agencies and other
groups for TPAC Education in 2003-2004.

American Airlines
AmSouth Bank
Because of generous underwriting by Aspect Community Committee Fund
AmSouth Bank and the AmSouth Bank of America
Foundation, we are able to publish the BellSouth Communications, Inc.
guidebook materials and mail them to Bridgestone/Firestone Trust Fund
teachers attending the HOT Season for Caterpillar Financial Products
Young People free of charge. Central Parking System
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Gaylord Entertainment Company
General Motors Corporation
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HCA, Inc.
Helping Hands Foundation
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Ingram Arts Support Fund
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This project is funded under an Ingram Industries Inc.
agreement with the Tennessee LifeWorks Foundation
Arts Commission, and the The Memorial Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts. Metropolitan Action Commission
Metropolitan Nashville Arts
Miller & Martin LLP
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For more information about TPAC’s arts-in-education activities for students, teachers
and artists, and the HOT Season for Young People, please visit our website:

Please contact Kristin Horsley,, for questions or comments about the
season guidebooks.

Table of Contents Using this Guidebook
It truly was a miracle when Anne Frank’s
Using this Guidebook diary was returned to her father, making
her dream to share her story, her writing,
About the Play a reality. So much has been written about
• Note from the Director Anne and her diary. This guide is not
• A new adaptation by Wendy Kesselman meant to be a definitive study, but, rather,
• Note from the Scenic Designer a help to prepare you and your students
• Characters to attend our performances.

History Overview We are proud to present The Diary of

Anne Frank as part of the Humanities
• The Story of the Diary
Outreach in Tennessee (HOT) Season for
• Historical Context of the Diary of Anne Frank
Young People. This guidebook will
• Anne Frank Timeline provide background information about
Anne and her diary, historical information,
Activities and activities designed to engage
• The Things One Carries students in the writings of Anne and
• Journal others, and to encourage them to think
• Literary Connections and write about their own thoughts,
feelings and experiences.

Anne Frank
Otto Frank
Edith Frank
Margot Frank
Miep Gies
Peter Van Daan
Mr. Kraler
Mrs. Van Daan
Mr. Van Daan
Mr. Dussel
First Man
Second Man
Third Man

Wednesday, 29 March, 1944

Dear Kitty,
Bolkestein, an M.P., was speaking on the Dutch News from London, and he said they
ought to make a collection of diaries and letters after the war. Of course, they all made a ruch at
my diary immediately. Just imagine how interesting it would be if I were to publish a romance of
the “Secret Annexe.” The title alone would be enough to make people think it was a detective
But, seriously, it would seem quite funny ten years after the war if we Jews were to tell
how we lived and what we ate and talked about here. Although I tell you a lot, still, even so, you
only know very little of our lives. -Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Note from the Director
by Brant Pope
The tragic story of Anne Frank and her family has become one of
the best known chapters in the history of the Holocaust. Two
families and one dentist, eight Jewish people in all, crowded into the
top floors of the annex of a manufacturing plant in Amerstandam, hiding from the Nazis. For
over two years these amazingly brave individuals lived their lives at night when the plant was
closed and spent each day in complete silence lest a noise alert the workers below them. It is
the story of the simple events of daily living suddenly made remarkable and precious by the
constant threat of discovery and disaster that lay outside the annex. Chronicled in the diary kept
by Anne Frank, the play brings to life the joys, the tensions, the yearnings, and the passion for
life expressed especially by Anne in her own words. The play is in effect a dramatic exploration
of the spirit and uncanny wisdom of Anne Frank, and the powerful retort it makes to the brutality
of Nazi tyranny.

The Tennessee Repertory Theatre’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank is taking a
somewhat different approach to the play than is common in most professional stagings of this
powerful and important work. We have decided to emphasize the remarkable diary, and the
extraordinary ability of this barely teenage girl to capture the hearts and minds of millions of
people throughout the world. After all, the title of the play is "The Diary of Anne Frank." As you
look at the stage, notice it is not the outline of Amsterdam that you see in the background, but
large excerpts from her diary. We are visually suggesting that the power of the play lies less in
the literal story of courage and survival, and more in the spiritual richness and timeless
relevance of Anne's words.

So, the play begins and ends in the pages of Anne Frank's diary. The other characters and the
events of the play are seen through her eyes, and thus we are watching her diary come to life.
There can be no better way to pay tribute to this exceptional girl. In doing so, we also
acknowledge in ourselves the joy of living and the importance of love and forgiveness in our
lives. It shames me somewhat when I read portions of her diary and acknowledge that, in many
ways, Anne was far more free and connected to her spirit than I will ever be. "The sun is
shining, the sky a deep blue, there's a magnificent breeze, and I'm longing," she wrote in March
of 1944, " so longing… for everything!!"

The Diary of Anne Frank the play

by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett , newly adapted by Wendy Kesselman
THE STORY: In this transcendently powerful new adaptation, Anne Frank emerges from history a living, lyrical,
intensely gifted young girl, who confronts her rapidly changing life and the increasing horror of her time with
astonishing honesty, wit and determination. An impassioned drama about the lives of eight people hiding from
the Nazis in a concealed storage attic, The Diary of Anne Frank captures the claustrophobic realities of their
daily existence -their fear, their hope, their laughter, their grief. Each day of these two dark years, Anne's voice
shines through: "When I write I shake off all my cares. But I want to achieve more than that. I want to be useful
and bring enjoyment to all people, even those I've never met. I want to go on living even after my death."
In this gripping adaptation by Wendy Kesselman, from the original stage play by Goodrich and Hackett, newly
discovered writings from the diary of Anne Frank, as well as survivor accounts, are interwoven to create a
contemporary impassioned story of the lives of people persecuted under Nazi rule. This is an adaptation for a
new generation able to confront the true horrors of the Holocaust.
"An extraordinary theatrical adventure! Go and remember." -NY Post.

Notes on Scenic Design
By Gary C. Hoff
While I was going through the design process for The Diary of Anne Frank, my mind kept going
back to two thoughts. First, I found it so remarkable that through the writings of a young girl we
can experience this amazingly powerful story. It is not a fictional account, but the actual
thoughts, feelings, and desires of a real young girl. It brought back to me the importance of the
written word and how vital it is for students to keep this amazing gift. I felt it was important to
keep this aspect of the story.

Second, I thought about the physical world in which Anne and the rest of the inhabitants of the
Secret Annex lived their lives for over two years. It is difficult to imagine what it would be like to
be unable to leave our homes for a long period of time and how it would affect us emotionally.
The fact that Anne grew and matured in such a setting is remarkable. I thought it was very
important to show how the Franks, Van Daans, and Mr. Dussel made the Annex not just a
hiding place, but a real home. I have discovered through archival photographs that the Annex
was filled with things they loved -- and color. This came as quite a surprise, because we so
often only see images of WWII and Anne Frank in black and white photos and tend to think that
is how it really was. I think it makes it much more personal to see it in color.

With these two thoughts in mind I went on to design the production. To speak to the imagery of
the written word, I plan to surround the set with translucent panels with Anne’s writings on them.
I hope this will achieve two things:
1) This story exists because of Anne’s writings.
2) The world outside the walls of the Annex existed more in the minds and imaginations of
the occupants of the Annex rather than being a real world.

The world inside the Annex will be fairly realistic and detailed. I want the Annex to look like care
was taken to make it a livable space. The Franks and Van Daans spent time deciding what to
take into hiding so they could live for an extended period of time. Because of the requirements
of theater, I will not be attempting to reproduce the actual Annex, but I do hope to capture the
essence of the world that Anne lived, grew, and wrote her powerful story.

The Story of the Diary
“I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have
never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be
a great source of comfort and support.”

On June 12, 1942, Anne Frank’s parents gave her a small red and
white plaid diary for her thirteenth birthday, which she named “Kitty.” More than fifty years later,
this diary has become one of the most widely read personal journals of all time. It has been
translated into 67 different languages and has sold more than 31 million copies. The diary
became an outlet for Anne to express her feelings and dreams, to explore how she felt about
becoming a woman, and her evolving identity. The diary was so important to Anne that when
she and her family were forced into hiding she wrote, “The first thing I stuck in [a school bag]
was this diary.” For over two years, Anne wrote about her life with seven other people in hiding
and recorded the fear and trauma of living during World War II and the Holocaust.
On March 29, 1944, Anne heard over the radio that the Dutch government wanted people to
document their wartime experiences for publication after the war. Mr. Bolkestein, the Cabinet
Minister, speaking on a Dutch broadcast from London, said that a collection of diaries and
letters dealing with the war would be made. As Anne aspired to be a professional writer, she
was very excited by this opportunity and immediately went to reworking up to six pages per day
of her diary, while also reading, studying and creating new fairy tale and adventure stories.
Anne wanted her diary to become a novel entitled “The Secret Annex,” and to this end gave
pseudonyms to the residents of the Annex: Fritz Pffeffer became Albert Dussel, Mr. And Mrs.
Van Pels became Mr. and Mrs. Van Daan, and Peter van Pels became Peter van Daan. The
helpers names were also changed, such as Miep Gies became Miep van Santen, and Victor
Kugler was Mr. Kraler.
On August 4, 1944, the Nazis raided the Secret Annex and arrested the residents. Anne’s
diary, along with her collection of essays and fiction, an accountant’s ledger filled with favorite
quotations titled “Book of Nice Sentences,” and another 300 loose pages of writing that included
edits of her diary entries. After surviving Auschwitz, Otto Frank returned to Amsterdam where
Miep Gies gave him Anne’s writings. Otto decided to publish the diary to honor his daughter’s
wish to be a writer, and to educate against discrimination and war. It was not easy for Otto to
find a publisher for Anne’s work, and he was often told that no one wanted to read about what
happened to the Jews. Finally, the Het Parool newspaper printed a story about Anne’s diary that
captured the interest of Contact, a Dutch publishing house.
In June, 1947, Contact published 1,500 copies of the first Dutch edition of the diary, and within a
few years it was translated into German, French, and English (1951). The first edition omitted
almost thirty percent of Anne’s original diary, as Otto excluded sections where Anne expresses
negative feelings about her mother and others in the annex. Additionally, Contact was a
conservative publishing house and did not want to include Anne’s entries concerning her
Otto Frank bequeathed Anne’s writings to The Netherlands Institute for War Documentation,
which they received after his death in 1980. The institute’s scholars performed tests on the
paper, ink, and glue used in the diary, as well as on Anne’s handwriting to prove its authenticity.
In 1986, The Netherlands Institute for War Documentation published a “Critical Edition” of
Anne’s diary containing all previously removed entries. Entries that Anne wrote after March
1944 are placed next to the original entries to show her development as a writer. The 1986
edition also included some of Anne’s short stories and sketches written in the annex, which
makes readers more aware of the complexity and insight of Anne Frank, a young girl struggling
to find her own voice amid in a time of great chaos.

Historical Context of the Diary of Anne Frank
Anne Frank’s life and death was intimately connected with the
events of World War II and the Holocaust. Anne was only four
years old when Hitler came to power in 1933 and in her lifetime saw
herself and those around her systematically stripped of their rights.
Six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust, and more than
one million of these were children under the age of sixteen, of which
Anne was one.

Otto Frank, Anne’s father, served as a lieutenant in the German

Army during World War I from 1914 to 1918. In 1925, Otto married
Edith Hollander during the relatively peaceful period of the
democratic Weimar Republic. The Weimar government struggled to
maintain power and resorted to the use of military force to put down
the political opposition of the National Socialist German Workers Party, known as the Nazi
Party. In February of 1926, the Franks’ first child, Margot, was born. Anneliese Marie Frank,
better known as Anne, was born on June 12, 1929, the same year the stock market in New York
crashed in New York, and an already unstable Weimar government was further undermined by
economic depression and continued outrage at the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles.

On January 30, 1933, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. Anti-Semitism soon became
a central part of the Nazi campaign for world domination through mass propaganda, terrorist
acts, and anti-Semitic laws. Within Hitler’s first year of power the Nazi government suspended
freedom of speech and assembly, established the Secret State Police called the Gestapo, and
boycotted Jewish medical, legal, and business practices. The Franks then decided to move to
Amsterdam in the Netherlands, which had been neutral during World War I and had the
reputation of being a safe haven for religious minorities, and here Otto set up a branch of his
uncle’s company, “Opekta Werke,” which produced pectin, an ingredient used in jam.

As a part of Hitler’s goal of creating an Aryan empire, the German Army invaded Poland on
Sept. 1, 1939 and two days later Britain and France declared war. Like so many other refugees
throughout Europe during World War II, the Franks’ belief that they had a safe haven was
shattered when Nazi armies violated Dutch neutrality. The Nazi bombing of Rotterdam killed
1,000 and within five days the government surrendered under threat of further bombings in May
of 1940. Queen Wilhelmina and her government went into exile in London. On June 12, 1941,
Germany invaded the Soviet Union, which proved to be a turning point in the war as the
German military was turned back at Stalingrad. Despite the fact that the Axis Powers were
losing the war, the Nazis continued their deportations to the concentration camps to the very

On Nov. 24, 1944, Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler ordered the destruction of Auschwitz’s
crematoria and the removal of many prisoners as the Russians approached the camp.
Prisoners were forced on “death marches” toward central Germany to prevent their liberation.
Concentration camps such as Bergen-Belsen, where Anne and Margot Frank died, were death
traps of disease and starvation even after they were liberated by the Allied armies.

At the end of April, 1945, after the allied fire bombing of Dresden, when it was clear that
Germany has lost the war, Hitler committed suicide in his bunker in Berlin. On May 7, 1945,
Germany surrendered and ended the war in Europe. Some Nazi leaders and perpetrators of the
Holocaust were tried and convicted, but many who were involved were never brought to justice.
During the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials (1945-46) Nazis were prosecuted under the charge of
crimes against humanity.

Anne Frank Timeline
June 12, 1929: Otto and Edith Frank’s second daughter Anneliese Marie, known as
Anne, is born in Frankfort am Maim Germany.

Spring 1933: Hitler is appointed Chancellor of Germany. The Nazi government

suspends freedom of speech and assembly, and establishes Dachau, the main
concentration camp for political prisoners. The Gestapo, of Secret State Police, enforce
the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses and their exclusion from government and
teaching positions.

Summer 1933: Hitler bans all political parties except the Nazi Party. Due to increasing
tensions in Germany, the Franks decide that the family must move to the Netherlands.
Otto Frank establishes the pectin-producing company “Opekta Werke.”

Fall 1935: The Nuremberg Laws are passed, defining Jews as non-citizens and making
mixed Aryan and Jewish marriage illegal.

September 1939: Hitler invades Poland and World War II begins. Just seven months
later, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, and Luxembourg are
occupied by Nazi troops.

Summer 1942: Anne receives a diary for her thirteenth birthday. Margot, Anne’s older
sister, receives a labor camp call-up notice, and the family goes into hiding at the Secret
Annex the next day. The Franks are soon joined by the van Pels family and Fritz

June 6, 1944: D-Day, Allies invade Western Europe. Nearly two months later the
residents of the Secret Annex are discovered and arrested. The eight prisoners are
transported in a sealed cattle car to Auschwitz, on the last transport ever to leave
Westerbork transit camp.

March 1945: At fifteen years old Anne Frank dies of typhus at the Bergen-Belsen
concentration camp, just days after her sister Margot.

June 3, 1945: Otto Frank, the sole survivor from the Secret
Annex, arrives in Amsterdam, where he is reunited with his
protectors Miep and Jan Gies. He soon learns that his wife and
daughters are dead.

June 1947: 1,500 copies of the first Dutch edition of Anne’s diary
are published by Contact Publishers.

May 1960: The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam opens.

The Things One Carries

1) Listed below is a partial list of items that were owned by the inhabitants of the secret
annex. Read the list and choose one item that you believe had meaning and value to an
individual who was in hiding from the Nazis. Explain why you believe this item had meaning
and value.

Partial Property List

Playing cards Cigarette
Crate of strawberries Slip of paper
Cat in a basket (Peter) Wool scarf
Briefcase (Mr. Van Daan) Ball of yarn with ribbons
Penknife (Peter) Little case with razor
Diary in red and white checkered cloth Tiny box with earplugs
(Anne) Small package wrapped in
Latin Book (Margot) newspaper tied with string containing an
Mystery novel (Mrs. Frank) antique silver music box (Mr. Frank)
Wooden Menorah (Mr. Van Daan) Sack of potatoes (Mr. Dussel)
Bulging school bag (Anne) with: Crocheting materials and wool (Anne)
Manilla envelope Fountain pen (Mr. Frank)
Crossword puzzle book Silverware (Anne)
Bottle filled with green liquid

2) Create a list of five tangible things (items you can see and touch) that you would carry if
you had to be hidden from the Nazis like Anne Frank and her family. These items should be
essential to your daily well-being and sense of happiness. Then, write a well-developed
paragraph explaining why these things are important to you.
Questions to consider:
How do these things reflect who you are as a person? Are these things of great or little
monetary value?

3) Create a list of three intangible things (items you can’t see and touch) that you would
carry if you had to be hidden. These things should be essential to help interact with others
OR to maintain a sense of individuality. Examples could include: memories, hope, fear,
anger, imagination. Explain why these intangible things are important.
Questions to consider:
How do these things reflect who you are as a person? Which one of these three are you
afraid of losing the most and why? Are these things generally more positive or negative
and why? Which one of these three is most powerful to you and why?

Break into small groups and share your list/paragraph with your group. Then, as a
group, complete the next activity.

4) Take 10 minutes to compile a group list of tangible and intangible things. (This list could
be taken from common responses and ideas of the previous activities.) Choose a
representative for the group to share your list with the class. Create a T-chart for each
classroom with their lists of tangible and intangible things.

Post Performance Follow Up

After attending the HOT performance of The Diary of Anne Frank, consider your classroom list
of tangible and intangible things. What would you change or add to the list? Why?


Read the following excerpts from the play. Discuss the content of each excerpt. Read
the Journal Prompts and take 15 minutes to write in your journals, responding to the
quotes in light of Anne’s words.

Excerpt One
ANNE: I couldn’t sleep tonight, even after Father tucked me in and said my prayers with
me. I feel wicked sleeping in a warm bed when my friends are at the mercy of the cruelest
monsters ever to walk the earth. And all because they’re Jews. We assume most of them are
murdered. The BBC says they’re being gassed. Perhaps that’s the quickest way to die. Fine
specimens of humanity, those Germans, and to think I’m actually one of them! No, that’s not
true, Hitler took our nationality away long ago.

Excerpt Two
ANNE: Tonight, after the radio broadcast, Pim asked what was the first thing we wanted
to do when we’re liberated. For me, I’d be so thrilled I wouldn’t know where to begin. I long to be
back in school with my friends, ride a bike, swim, whistle, laugh so hard it hurts. I wonder if
anyone will ever not think about whether I’m Jewish, and just see me as a teenager badly in
need of some good plain fun.

Journal Prompts
“All the people like us are we, and everyone else is they.”
Rudyard Kipling

“A lie, repeated often enough, eventually gains acceptance.”

Josef Goebbels

“Goodness, like evil, often begins in small steps. Heroes evolve; they aren’t born.”
Ervin Staub

* Teacher Note: Asking students to respond to these journal prompts in context to their
particular school environment is a good jumping off point to making a connection with a
particular society/government that started a genocide through classification of different

Why should students keep a journal?

* A journal can serve as an avenue of expression about a powerful subject such as the
Holocaust, especially if students don’t have the opportunity or feel uncomfortable expressing
themselves in class.
* A journal can set up a personal dialogue between student and teacher, as students will
often express themselves more seriously and thoughtfully in writing as opposed to speaking
in front of a classroom full of their peers.
* A journal can create opportunities for genuine reflection about both the universal ideas
and individual experiences within this subject matter and offer greater understanding of both
through written expression.
* A journal can serve as a creative outlet for students to create poetry, songs, and
drawings in response to studying about the Holocaust.


*Teacher Note: You many want to assign the

following journal activity as a homework

Excerpt Three
ANNE: Unless you write yourself, you can’t know how wonderful it is. When I write I
shake off all my cares. But I want to achieve more than that. I want to be useful and bring
enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death!

Excerpt Four
ANNE: It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering
and death. I see the world slowly being transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching
thunder which will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions.

Journal Prompts
What does it mean to be an “educated” person? What specific characteristics does this kind of
person have? What is the purpose of education when, in the case of Nazi Germany, over 50%
of all doctors, lawyers, and teachers were members of the Nazi party?

“Where they burn books, they will soon burn people.”

Heinrich Heine (19th century German Poet)

“The law of existence requires uninterrupted killing, so that the better may live.”
Adolf Hitler

*Teacher Note: Ask students to reflect on the importance of books and libraries by
asking: Is it a problem to burn/destroy books, especially unpopular ones? Why do you
think the Nazis, in one of their first acts as a new government, burned thousands of
books in May of 1933? Is it possible that more than just the book is destroyed when this

Your Own Diary of Anne Frank

Begin a diary focusing on your experiences preparing for and viewing The Diary of Anne
Frank. What types of lessons or activities did you carry out? Did you read the novel? Do
you view your world differently after knowing a little about Anne’s world and experience
inside the Secret Annex? After the performance, reflect upon what you’ve written and add
new insights. Write a review of the performance. How were you were affected? What
part of the set stood out to you? With which actors did you connect?

*Teacher Note: You may choose to collect the diaries or ask students to read excerpts
aloud in class during a post-performance discussion.

Literary Connections
Read the following excerpts from The Diary of a Young Girl and . . . I never saw
another butterfly . . .
Discuss the similarities and differences in their descriptions of nature, longing,
freedom, confinement, and color. What in nature helps the young writers find joy?
Consider that Anne Frank did not have the opportunity to be outdoors while Pavel
Friedmann was able to walk within the boundaries of the ghetto.

Thursday, 15 June, 1944

Dear Kitty, window had to be shut. The dark, rainy
I wonder if it’s because I haven’t evening, the gale, the scudding clouds held
been able to poke my nose outdoors for so me entirely in their power; it was the first
long that I’ve grown so crazy about time in a year and a half that I’d seen the
everything to do with nature? I can perfectly night face to face. . . A lot of people sleep
well remember that there was a time when a outdoors occasionally, and people in
deep blue sky, the song of the birds, prisons and hospitals long for the day when
moonlight and flowers could never have they will be free to enjoy the beauties of
kept me spellbound. That’s changed since nature, but few are so shut away and
I’ve been here. isolated from that which can be shared alike
At Whitsun, for instance, when it was by rich and poor. . . Mother Nature makes
so warm, I stayed awake on purpose until me humble and prepared to face every blow
half past eleven one evening in order to courageously.
have a good look at the moon for once by Alas, it has had to be that I am only
myself. Alas, the sacrifice was all in vain, able – except on a few rare occasions – to
as the moon gave far too much light and I look at nature through dirty net curtains
didn’t dare risk opening a window. Another hanging before very dusty windows. And
time, some months ago now, I happened to it’s no pleasure looking through these any
be upstairs one evening when the window longer, because nature is just the one thing
was open. I didn’t go downstairs until the that really must be unadulterated.

The Butterfly
The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing
against a white stone. . .
Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly ‘way up high.
It went away I’m sure because it wished to
kiss the world good-bye.
For seven weeks I’ve lived here,
Penned up inside this ghetto.
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me Pavel Friedman’s poem “The Butterfly” is
And the white chestnut branches in the part of a collection in . . . I never saw
court. another butterfly. . . Children’s Drawings
Only I never saw another butterfly. and Poems from Terezin Concentration
Camp, 1942-1944.
That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don’t live in here,
in the ghetto.
Literary Connections
In many ways, Anne Frank was like a caged bird. Her diary contains an honest portrayal of a
life of hiding and restriction. Read the following excerpt from her diary. In this passage,
Anne writes of a particularly difficult season in dealing with confinement, fear and depression.
Compare her experience to the images of freedom and imprisonment in “Caged Bird” by
Maya Angelou. (Teacher may choose to have one student read the passage from Anne’s
diary, and two read the poem, one as the free bird and one as the caged bird.) In your
journal, write a letter to Anne Frank. Describe a time when your “nerves got the better of
you,” or you felt like a bird with clipped wings. What did the world look like to you during that

Caged Bird by Maya Angelou Friday, 29 October, 1943

A free bird leaps My nerves often get the
on the back of the wind better of me: it is especially on
and floats downstream Sundays that I feel rotten. The
till the current ends atmosphere is so oppressive, and
and dips his wing sleepy and as heavy as lead. You
in the orange suns rays don’t hear a single bird singing
and dares to claim the sky. outside, and a deadly close silence
But a bird that stalks hangs everywhere, catching hold
down his narrow cage of me as if it will drag me down
can seldom see through deep into an underworld.
his bars of rage At such times Daddy,
his wings are clipped and Mummy, and Margot leave me
his feet are tied cold. I wander from one room to
so he opens his throat to sing. another, downstairs and up again,
feeling like a songbird whose
The caged bird sings wings have been clipped and who
with a fearful trill is hurling himself in utter darkness
of things unknown against the bars of his cage. “Go
but longed for still outside, laugh, and take a breath
and his tune is heard of fresh air,” a voice cries within
on the distant hill me, but I don’t even feel a
for the caged bird response any more; I go and lie on
sings of freedom. the divan and sleep, to make the
The free bird thinks of another breeze time pass more quickly, and the
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees stillness and the terrible fear,
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn because there is no way of killing
and he names the sky his own. them.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams

his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings Post Performance Activity:
with a fearful trill
of things unknown Reflect on the performance and write a poem or diary entry
but longed for still from the point of view of another person in the Secret
and his tune is heard Annex. (Otto Frank, Edith Frank, Margot Frank, Miep Gies,
on the distant hill Peter Van Daan, Mr. Kraler, Mrs. Van Daan, Mr. Van Daan,
for the caged bird or Mr. Dussel)
sings of freedom.
Paul Fleming is the Assistant Principal at Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet
School in Nashville, Tennessee. He has a strong background and interest in
human rights issues, in developing and writing social studies curriculum, and in
teacher training. He has been a Mandel Fellow with the U.S. Holocaust
Memorial Museum and has won the Belz-Lipman Holocaust Teacher of the Year
award for the state of Tennessee. He has also been recognized by the
Tennessee Humanities Council as a “Humanities Teacher of the Year” and has
developed curriculum guides and led teacher workshops about the Holocaust
and other genocides. He has worked as a Mentor teacher with Vanderbilt
University’s beginning teacher intern program since 1995. He has also been a
faculty member at the Governor’s School of International Studies, a one-month
program for gifted high school students at the University of Memphis. In addition,
he has taken students to Russia as part of an AFS school exchange program,
conducted Model United Nations conferences, and won grants for global
education. In 2001, he was one of six finalists for the Metro Nashville Teacher of
the Year Award. He is married and the father of two children.

Resources and Suggested Reading
Mooyaart B.M., trans. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Mass Market Paperback
Doubleday, 1967

Fleming, Paul, et al; Smith, Helmut Walser, ed. The Holocaust and Other Genocides: History,
Representation, Ethics, Vanderbilt University Press, 2002.

Fleming, Paul. Teacher’s Guide to The Holocaust and Other Genocides…

Volavkova, Hana, ed. …I never saw another butterfly… Children’s Drawings and Poems from
Terezin Concentration Camp, 1942-1944. New York: Schocken Books, 1993.

Bunting, Eve. Terrible Things: An Allegory of the Holocaust. Jewish Publication Society, 1996

Berenbaum , Michael. The World Must Know: History of the Holocaust Told in U.S. Holocaust
Mem Museum. Back Bay Books, 1993.

Schiff, Hilda, comp. Holocaust Poetry. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1995.

Internet Resources

The Anne Frank Internet Guide

Anne Frank House
This site provides photos of the house and annex in which the Franks hid from 1942 -1944,
biographies of those who lived with and helped the Frank family, information about Ann's diary,
and descriptions of fleeing the Nazis and life in hiding and in the concentration camps. Be
patient, some of the photographs and photo reconstructions take time to load.

Facing History and Ourselves
Facing History and Ourselves is based on the belief that education in a democracy must
be what Alexis de Tocqueville called "an apprenticeship in liberty." Facing History helps
students find meaning in the past and recognize the need for participation and
responsible decision-making. Includes teacher guides, student resources and links.

The Anne Frank Center, USA
Resources for teachers and students, including Readers Companion, Study Guide to
accompany the Broadway Play, resources for students, history and biographical

P.O. Box 190660
Nashville, Tennessee 37219