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Together, the eight people endured conditions beyond endurance for many months, scarce food supplies, and constant fear. They could never open the windows or move the curtains. They also shared holidays and birthdays, took correspondence courses in short-hand and foreign languages, read widely, and looked forward hungrily to the daily visits of Miep and the other caretakers.

Inevitably, emotions in the closed quarters began running high. The van Pels family tried unsuccessfully to discipline Anne, and, according to Miep Gies, Mrs. Frank became very depressed. Shortly before they were arrested by the Gestapo, Anne experienced the first flush of love with Peter Van Pels, a shy boy also reaching out for love and understanding.

But the pressures of confinement soon crushed their romance - as always, there was the ever-present threat of discovery ...

Four people - Victor Kugler, Johannes Kleiman, Bep Voskuijl and Miep Gies - acted as helpers for the people in the annex, and brought them food, supplies and news of the world outside the darkened windows.

All of these people worked at the business that had belonged to Otto Frank and had now placed themselves at great personal risk.

Prinsengracht 263


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