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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.


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Margot and I started packing our most important belongings into a schoolbag. 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 bag, but I'm not sorry. Memories mean more to me than dresses.

Father finally came hQme around five o'clock, and we called Mr. Kleiman to ask if he could come by that evening. 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 apartment; none of us felt like eating. It was still hot, and everything was very strange. We had rented 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 , 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 undershirts, three pairs of underpants, 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 schoolbag 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 neighbors, 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. More tomorrow. The people on their way to work at that early hour gave us sympathetic looks; you could tell by their faces that they were sorry they couldn't offer us some kind of transportation; the conspicuous yellow star spoke for itself.

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Only when we were walking down the street did Father and Mother reveal, little by little, what the plan was. For months we'd been moving as much of our furniture and apparel out of the apartment as we could. It was agreed that we'd go into hiding on July Because of Margot's call-up notice, the plan had to be moved up ten days, which meant we'd have to make do with less orderly rooms. The hiding place was located in Father's office building. That's a little hard for outsiders to understand, so I'll explain.

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Father didn't have a lot of people working in his office, just Mr. Kugler, Mr. Kleiman, Miep and a twenty— three— year— old typist named Bep Voskuijl, all of whom were informed of our coming. Voskuijl, Bep's father, works in the warehouse, along with two assistants, none of whom were told anything. Here's a description of the building. The large warehouse on the ground floor is used as a workroom and storeroom and is divided into several different sections, such as the stockroom and the milling room, where cinnamon, cloves and a pepper substitute are ground.

Next to the warehouse doors is another outside' door, a separate entrance to the office. Just inside the office door is a second door, and beyond that a stairway. At the top of the stairs is another door, with a frosted window on which the word "Office" is written in black letters. This is the big front office — very large, very light and very full.

Bep, Miep and Mr. Kleiman work there during the day. After passing through an alcove containing a safe, a wardrobe and a big supply cupboard, you come to the small, dark, stuffy back office. This used to be shared by Mr. Kugler and Mr. Kugler is its only occupant.

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Kugler's office can also be reached from the hallway, but only through a glass door that can be opened from the inside but not easily from the outside. If you leave Mr. Kugler's office and proceed through the long, narrow hallway past the coal bin and go up four steps, you find yourself in the private office, the showpiece of the entire building.

Elegant mahogany furniture, a linoleum floor covered with throw rugs, a radio, a fancy lamp, everything first class. Next door is a spacious kitchen with a hot-water heater and two gas burners, and beside that a bathroom.

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That's the second floor. A wooden staircase leads from the downstairs hallway to the third floor. At the top of the stairs is a landing, with doors on either side. The door on the left takes you up to the spice storage area, attic and loft in the front part of the house. A typically Dutch, very steep, ankle-twisting flight of stairs also runs from the front part of the house to another door opening onto the street. The door to the right of the landing leads to the "Secret Annex" at the back ofthe house.

No one would ever suspect there were so many rooms behind that plain gray door. There's just one small step in front of the door, and then you're inside. Straight ahead of you is a steep flight of stairs. Next door is a smaller room, the edroom and study of the two young ladies of the family, ro the right of the stairs is a windowless washroom, with a link. The door in the corner leads to the toilet and another one to Margot's and my room.

If you go up the itairs and open the door at the top, you're surprised to see such a large, light and spacious room in an old canalside house like this.

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It contains a stove thanks to the fact hat it used to be Mr. Kugler's laboratory and a sink. This will be the kitchen and bedroom of Mr. A tiny side room is to be Peter van Daan's bedroom. Then, just as in the front part of the building, there's an attic and a loft.

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So there you are. Now I've introduced you to the whole of our lovely Annex! But first, let me continue my story, because, as you know, I wasn't finished. After we arrived at Prinsengracht, Miep quickly led us through the long hallway and up the wooden staircase to the next floor and into the Annex. She shut the door behind us, leaving us alone. Margot had arrived much earlier on her bike and was waiting for us. Our living room and all the other rooms were so full of stuff that I can't find the words to describe it.

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All the cardboard boxes that had been sent to the office in the last few months were piled on the floors and beds. The small room was filled from floor to cethng with linens. If we wanted to sleep in properly made beds that night, we had to get going and straighten up the mess. Mother and Margot were unable to move a muscle. They lay down on their bare mattresses, tired, miserable and I don't know what else. But Father and I, the two cleaner- uppers in the family, started in right away. All day long we unpacked boxes, filled cupboards, hammered nails and straightened up the mess, until we fell exhausted into our clean beds at night.

We hadn't eaten a hot meal all day, but we didn't care! Mother and Margot were too tired and keyed up to eat, and Father and I were too busy. Tuesday morning we started where we left off the night before. Bep and Miep went grocery shopping with our ration coupons, Father worked on our blackout screens, we scrubbed the kitchen floor, and were once again busy from sunup to sundown. Until Wednesday, I didn't have a chance to think about the enormous change in my life.