Grade 9 - Anne Frank Hideout Experience

This past Monday, 27 February, Grade 9 Language and Literature students participated in the “Anne Frank Hideout Experience,” related to their unit of study on the play “The Diary of Anne Frank.”  For about three and a half hours, the students were exposed to some of the feelings Anne Frank and her family would have encountered when hidden in their annex for two years.

At 3:45 p.m., the students met to prepare for their journey to the hideout.  They wore three layers of clothes, as Anne had to, in order to appear as inconspicuous as possible. They then took a circuitous route to their hideout.

Upon arrival, they had to maintain quiet until 6:00 pm as they did not want their presence to be detected.  They had to complete the tasks of electing leaders and making rules for the hideout, which was a challenge when done in whispers.  Students then had some time to write in their diaries about the emotions they were experiencing in the hideout.

Around 6:15, basic supplies were delivered by a friend from the outside, who risked punishment on their behalf.  Students prepared a basic meal which they shared amongst each other.  They then spent some time eating, playing card games and talking quietly with each other.

Suddenly, at 7:15 there was a commotion at the door.  The Secret Police were made aware of the hideout after arresting their benefactor on her way back from delivering supplies.  The students were marched out of the hideout and interrogated. It was a harrowing experience!

Afterward, the students took part in a short reflection on the experience.  Some expressed their frustration at having to be so quiet for so long and their discomfort at being in such close proximity to others.  Others said while it was quite frightening, it was valuable to experience what so many persecuted people feel. This activity helped the students empathize with the characters in the play, which will help their understanding of the plot and conflict as they read.

They will also research more contemporary examples of discrimination and persecution, trying to gain a greater understanding why some groups of people treat others in such ways, and what we can do when we encounter these events happening in the world.

 

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