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Otto's private office

Anne dubbed Otto's private office 'The building’s showpiece’. It was located directly under the Secret Annex. When the coast was clear, the people in hiding came here to listen to the radio. When helpers Johannes Kleiman and Victor Kugler sometimes held meetings in here, they had to keep very quiet.

Secretly listening to the radio in Otto’s office: Anne is terrified

The people in hiding used the large radio in the private office to follow the news. On the evening when the people in hiding went there for the first time, Anne was terrified. ‘I was so terrified that someone might hear it that I literally begged Father to go upstairs with me’ (Anne Frank, B-Version, 11 July 1942)

Later, Anne got over her fear and would go there to listen to music. In the summer of 1943, the occupying forces required the Dutch to hand in their radios, to prevent them from listening to anti-German stations such as the BBC or Radio Orange. The helpers decided to hand in the large radio to avoid difficulties. After that, they listened to a small radio in the room of the Van Pels family to keep up with the news.

“I slept for what must have a good half-hour, then awoke with a start and had forgotten everything I’d heard of the important meeting. Good thing Margot had been paying better attention.”

Listening in on conversations at Opekta

From December 1940 - when Opekta moved into the building - until the moment the Nazis no longer allowed Jews to run their own businesses, this was Otto Frank's workplace. During the hiding period, all business meetings took place in this room. The building had thin walls and floors, and the people in hiding - one floor up in the Secret Annex - were able to follow the discussions word for word.

At Otto's request, Margot and Anne followed such a discussion from the hiding place. They had to put their ears to the floor to do so. Anne was bored and fell asleep. ‘I slept for what must have a good half-hour, then awoke with a start and had forgotten everything I’d heard of the important meeting. Good thing Margot had been paying better attention.’ [1 April 1943]