The hiding place
The Movable Bookcase
Behind this (movable) bookcase is the entrance to the Secret Annex (Photo: Maria Austria, 1954).
The hiding place is located in an empty section of the building owned by Otto Frank's company. While business continues, as usual, in the front part of the building, there are people hiding in the annex out back.
The business on Prinsengracht 263 is in the area where many small companies are located. There is a tea company located on the left and a furniture company on the right of the Secret Annex.
The hiding place at 263 Prinsengracht is relatively spacious. There is enough room for two families. This is unusual given that parents and children who go into hiding are frequently separated from each other. Most hiding places are small spaces in damp cellars or dusty attics. People hiding in the countryside are sometimes able go outside, but only if there is no danger of them being discovered.
Unusually, the hiding place consists of a number of different spaces (photo of the refurnished secret annex: Allard Bovenberg).
A bookcase conceals the door
Before too long, the entrance to the Secret Annex is concealed behind a movable bookcase. Father Voskuijl, the warehouse manager, constructs the movable bookcase to conceal the entrance to the Secret Annex.
“Now our Secret Annex has truly become secret…Mr. Kugler thought it would be better to have a bookcase built in front of the entrance to our hiding place. It swings out on its hinges and opens like a door. Mr. Voskuijl did the carpentry work. (Mr. Voskuijl has been told that the seven of us are in hiding, and he's been most helpful.),”
Anne writes this in her diary on August 21, 1942, when there there are still only seven people in hiding. Fritz Pfeffer joins the group at a later date, on November 16, 1942.
The entrance to the Secret Annex is soon concealed by a moveable bookcase (photo of the refurnished secret annex: Allard Bovenberg).