Anne Frank:  The Whole Story (2001)

 

 

 

Director:     Robert Dornhelm. 

Starring:     Ben Kingsley (Otto Frank),     Brenda Blethyn (Auguste Rottgen-van Pels),     Hannah Taylor-Gordon (Anne Frank),     Tatjana Blacher (Edith Hollander-Frank),     Joachim Krl (Hermann van Pels),     Jessica Manley (Margot Frank),     Nicholas Audsley (Peter van Pels),     Jan Niklas (Fritz Pfeffer),     Lili Taylor (Miep Gies),     Peter Bolhuis (Victor Kugler),     Victoria Anne Brown (Jacque van Maarsen),     Jeff Caster (Lammert Hartog),     Rob Das (Jan Gies),     Holger Daemgen (Sergeant Silberbauer),     Cees Geel (Wilhelm van Maaren).    

(A made for TV movie.)

 the story of Anne Frank hiding in the Netherlands from the Gestapo

 

Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire movie.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands 1939.  Anne Frank thinks that maybe she will be a movie star.  She says "I want to do everything. . . . I want to be a modern woman."  Her father is Otto Frank (who she calls Pim) and her mother is Edith Hollander-Frank.  Anne has an older sister named Margot Frank.  Working for her family is the non-Jewish Miep, who Mr. Frank trusts a great deal. 

They go over to visit the Goslar family.  Anne does not care much for the family because she thinks they are too religious.  This is obvious at the dinner table when she looks very bored.  She does, however, like their daughter Hannah Goslar. 

June 1939.  The Frank family are at the beach.  Later Anne has a birthday party. 

September 1939.  Germany invades Poland.  But Anne is more interested in watching her movie "Marie Antoinette" starring Norma Shearer.  She asks her father:  "Germany won't come to Holland will they daddy?"  Her father tells her:  "No.  The British will handle them."  German planes drop leaflets over Amsterdam telling the residents to "Surrender now!"  Otto Frank tells his family that his sister has asked him to send her nieces to London to live with her until the war is over.  But dad wants the family to stay together.  Later the Dutch watch as the Germans enter Amsterdam. 

May 15, 1940.  The first signs go up saying "Jews not welcome."  The Franks have to go to the Jewish Registration Office to register as Jews.  Fearing the worse, Otto Frank sets up a completely Aryan firm (at least on paper) called Gies and Company.  Miep marries Jan Geis and becomes Mies Geis. 

October 1941.  The Jewish Lyceum.  Anne makes a new friend named Jacque.  Soon they have to wear the yellow Star of David on their clothing.  Helmut Silberberg takes Anne out for a hot chocolate.  The Germans start arresting Jews and putting them on trucks.  The Jews from all around the Netherlands are brought into Amsterdam.  From there many are sent to labor camps. 

As things get worse, Otto Frank decides to go into hiding with the Van Pels family.  They will live in the annex at the back of the office building.  Otto gives Anne the diary that she wanted. 

June 12, 1942.  Anne thinks that Peter Van Pels, the son of the Van Pels couple, is a real dope.  Hello Silberberg comes over to the house to see Anne.  He brings her some flowers.  Anne tells her sister Margot:  "I'm not in love with anybody.  We're just friends."

July 5, 1942.  The doorbell rings.  The Frank family has received a summons for their daughter Margot Frank.  Now the Franks really start to put their plan into action.  Anne has to be told what is going on and the task is given to Margot.  Mies and Jan Geis come over to the house.  Franks tells them to tell the authorities and everyone else that the Frank family has gone to Switzerland.  Anne is very upset when she learns that she cannot take her cat with her to the hiding place. 

November 1942.  Four months later.  The family walks up the back staircase to the hiding place.  Mr. Pfeffer, the dentist, comes in with them.   Ann has to share a bedroom with Mr. Pfeffer.  She does not get along with him very well.  She especially is annoyed by his snoring. 

January 1943.  At the Jewish Lyceum there are very few pupils left.  The teacher starts crying because the Gestapo took his wife away the previous night.  Miep delivers letters between Pfeffer and his girlfriend on the outside.  During a bombing raid, Anne cries and runs to her father.  He tells her that it is the British planes that are bombing them.  Mr. Van Maaren, the new foreman, looks as though he might be trouble.  Miep doesn't trust him.  Anne has a troubled relationship with her mother.  She feels that her father does not even love her mother.  Dad, however, defends her mother asking Anne if she has tried to understand her mother. 

The foreman steals some things from his place of employment.  His curiosity is aroused by the way management and staff behave.  He looks out of the window and asks what's that back building is used for. The Germans round up more Jews.  The Goslar family, the very religious one, is among them.  Mrs. Goslar died giving birth. 

Anne talks with Peter Van Pels.  He tells her she has pretty eyes, which pleases Anne a great deal.  Mr. Van Pels goes into the workers' part of the business where those hiding are not supposed to go.  There he drops his wallet.  The next morning the foreman discovers the wallet and takes the money.    He turns the wallet in to management, but is made even more curious when one of the managers says it is his wallet.  He asks if Mr. Frank, a Jew,  had worked here.  Later the foreman speaks with one of the other workers telling him that he knows that someone is hiding in the back building.  He adds that this could be bad for everyone.   Everyone involved in the hiding of the Jews and the Jews themselves are afraid to fire the foreman.  An angry foreman could be dangerous.  Mrs. Van Pels complains that the money the foreman took was their last 100 guilders. 

There is a great deal of tension building between the Van Pels family and the Frank family.  Dinners have now become awkward.  Anne breaks the ice saying:  "A fine example you're setting."  Mr. Frank takes the initiative and starts sharing their food with the Van Pels family.  Anne becomes sick with the flu.  Margot wants to go to Palestine.

Christmas 1943.  Miep gives Anne her first pair of high-heeled shoes.  She now would like it if Peter would kiss her.  For money Mr. Van Pels starts selling all of his wife's gowns, jewelry and furs.  Mrs. Frank tells Miep that she thinks that they are not going to make it.  She adds:  "What's to become of the children?" 

April 1944.  The foreman tries to break into the back building at night.  He is scared off by a policeman.  But the policeman decides to check out the building.  He enters and walks around, but finds nothing strange.  Anne sits with Peter and they start kissing.  The foreman tells his associate that he knows where they are hiding. 

June 6, 1944.  D-day invasion of France by the Allies.  Things look brighter now.  Mr. Frank says that 1944 will be the year of their liberation.  Peter gives some yellow flowers to Anne and wishes her a happy 15th birthday.  The foreman has decided not to tell anyone about the hiding of the Jews.  But the wife of the man he discussed the matter with thinks she must report the matter.  She is afraid that if they are discovered, everyone would get into trouble.  She adds:  "Who cares about a bunch of Jews.  They've got it coming to them anyway." 

Mr. Frank and his wife are concerned that Anne and Peter are engaging in too much necking.  Peter gets yelled at again by his mean-spirited father.  He tells dad to stop telling him what to do and Anne later tells Peter:  "I'm proud of you." 

Margot reads one of Anne's stories that she has written.  The older sister says she likes the story.  The wife of the foreman's co-worker telephones the Gestapo and rat-finks on the company at 263 Lindtstradt in the back building.

August 4, 1944.  The Gestapo bursts into the offices of Geis and Company.  They force management to take them to the back building.  The fellow in charge tells everyone to get packed because they only have five minutes.  When the man in charge learns that Mr. Frank was a reserve officer, the Gestapo fellow tells him that he should have registered as a veteran.  Then he and his family would have been treated decently.  Miep is saved by some quick thinking.  She is Austrian and she noticed that the guy in charge is Austrian.  She plays up their common national origin and the man gives her a break.  He says this is a personal favor to her, but that she had better not run.  She is to stay at the business.   When the Gestapo leave, Miep and Jan find Anne's diary and her stories.  (Even the foreman helps Miep pick up the papers.)  Miep places the writings in a drawer of her office.

Westerbork Transit Camp, Prenthe Province, n. Holland.  The Frank and Van Pels families are sent to "S" barracks where the criminals are kept.  They are regarded as criminals for their failure to report when ordered. 

The Allies have taken Paris and are heading through Belgium.  Anne starts telling stories to the kids in their classroom.  She really enjoys it.  Anne talks to Peter and tells him about her plans to write a novel.  The next day everyone is forced to line up.  Everyone whose name is called has to step forward.   All those who hid in the back building of Geis and Company are called.  They are put on a train.  The train pulls into the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland.  Every is forcefully pushed out off the train with huge guard dogs barking at them.  The men and women are separated from each other.  Anne is very upset when she is separated from her father and repeatedly calls to him.  The women have to remove their valuables.  One of the staff tells the Frank women that their fathers and brothers have already been sent to the gas chambers.  Then the women's hair is cut very short. 

Six weeks later.  Women are dropping dead right in formation.  The Frank women will be separated because one has scabies.  But they demand to stay together and their wish is granted. 

Early November 1944.  Two weeks later.  Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Luneburg Heath, Germany.   Margot and Anne are together staying in a tent.  They run into two of their friends from back home, Janny and Lientje.  They also run into Mrs. Van Pels.  She brings the bad news that their mother was selected (which means she was gassed).  Typhus is killing lots of the camp inmates. 

February 1945.  Anne learns that Hannah Goslar is on the other side of the fence, where those Jews who are to be exchanged for Germans are being held.  Anne seeks her out.  Hannah says her father is very sick.  Anne tells her that she now only has Margot:  "They've taken everything, Hannah."  Hannah throws some food over the fence to Anne, but a woman physically grabs the food from her.  Hannah throws some more food over the fence and this time Anne is able to keep the food and the socks in which the food is wrapped.  Margot has become very sick with typhus.  Hannah's father has died.  And Hannah has received the bad new that they are not going to be exchanged after all. 

Anne is in a blanket only now.  She says that she could no longer stand her prison garb since it was covered with lice that were itching her terribly.  Margot dies.  Anne is now all alone.

Amsterdam 1945.  One month after the German surrender.  Mr. Frank survived the concentration camps.  He returns to his home town.  There he is hugged by Miep.  He explains that he and the other men were liberated by the Russians.  His wife died of starvation, but he does not know about the fate of his two daughters.  Edith died two weeks shy of the liberation of her camp.  Mr. Frank also does not know of the fate of Peter and Pfeffer.  Mr. Van Pels just gave up and was sent to the gas chamber. 

Mr. Frank learns that Janny Brandes was with his girls at the concentration camp.  He pays her a visit and learns the truth.  Otto Frank returns to Geis and Company.  When Miep comes to see him, he has to tell her that Margot and Anne are not coming back.  A very upset Miep gives him Anne's diary and stories.  Dad sits at his desk and reads them.  At night he walks with them upstairs to the back building.  The photos of Anne's movie stars still hang on the wall of her bedroom.  Mr. Frank falls to the floor. 

1957.  Otto Frank established the Anne Frank Foundation, working to educate young people against intolerance and discrimination.  He died in 1980 at the age of 91. 

Anne probably died of typhus a few days after Margot's death.  The sisters were just 2 of 17,000 people who perished of disease at Bergen-Belsen in March 1945.  British troops liberated the camp two weeks later.

Edith Frank died of starvation in the Birkenau infirmary on January 6, 1945. 

Peter Van Pels died May 5, 1945, three days before the liberation of the Mauthausence concentration camp. 

 

Very good movie.  You feel you really get to know Anne Frank and her family.  Apparently, she was a very talented writer.  The movie says that her diary is the second most widely read book, behind the Bible, in the world.  Hannah Taylor-Gordon was great as Anne Frank.  At times her face was absolutely radiant.  Not surprisingly, Ben Kingsley was masterful as Anne's father, Otto Frank. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D. 

 

 

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