Tales from the Secret Annexe is a collection of short stories and fictional accounts which were found amongst the papers and Diary of Anne Frank after the discovery and arrest of Anne and her family in Holland in August 1944.
Note to teachers/leaders – please ensure that your young readers are aware of Anne Frank’s story before you work through the questions together.
About the author
Anne Frank was born in Germany on 12 June 1929. Her family moved to Amsterdam in 1933 when the Nazis came to power. Anne and her family were trapped in The Netherlands when the Nazi invasion began in 1940. Anne began to keep a personal diary on her 13th birthday. In July 1942 the Frank family and four other people went into hiding in a secret annex. At first Anne wrote the diary for her eyes only but in 1944 she heard a radio broadcast from London which said that it would be important to collect eyewitness accounts of the suffering under Nazi occupation. Anne decided that when the war ended she would publish a book based on her diary and she started to rewrite and edit it.
The group in the annex stayed hidden for two years but were finally betrayed, arrested and transported to concentration camps. Anne died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen. Her Father Otto was the only survivor of the secret annex. He returned to Amsterdam and found that Anne’s diary had been saved. An edited version was first published in 1947 and to date, almost 40 million copies have been published in 70 languages.
Please note that some of these questions will act as spoilers for the book.
- many of Anne’s stories have themes of nature, being outside and discovering the world. What do you know about Anne Frank which could explain this?
- some of Anne’s stories in this collection, such as ‘Give!’ and ‘Riek’ have a moral to them. What do we mean by this?
- Anne writes about some events which may seem common place to us. Why are they unusual for Anne?
- do you think that the accounts at the start of the book help us to understand Anne’s motivation for writing some of the later stories such as ‘Blurry the Explorer’?
- In ‘Give!’ Anne says ‘everything starts in small ways, so in this case you can begin in small ways too’ (p87) and in the afterword, Gillian Walnes of the Anne Frank Trust UK says ‘one person can make a difference’ (p206). What small thing could you do to make a difference?
Download the PDF version of the Tales from the Secret Annexe book activity.
You can use HMD resources to find out more about: