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Anne Frank: Timeline



'In Germany, the Nazis first came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, but I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me...By that time there was no one to speak up for anyone.'
The Reverend Martin Niemoller, I Didn't Speak Up


  • Timeline for Anne Frank in the World: 1929 - 1945.
  • Timeline 'Anne Frank and her Diary' from the Anne Frank House brochure.
  • On the Pulse of Morning by Maya Angelou.
  • Research materials for Twentieth Century events in history, literature, science, the arts, etc. (See bibliography and other sources.)
  • Materials for the final timeline product such as butcher or banner paper, lengths of cloth, paper (white and colors) or Post-It Notes, masking tape, markers, magazines, newspapers.
  • Optional: Computer hardware and software for word processing/database.

Background for Teachers


  • annex
  • discrimination
  • prejudice
  • Adolf Hitler
  • racism
  • Holocaust
  • stereotype
  • occupy/occupation
  • depression/Great Depression
  • Nazi/neo-Nazi
  • concentration camp/Bergen-Belsen
  • Kristallnacht (kris-SCHTAL-nakt)

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will review/become acquainted with major events of the Twentieth Century (1900 - present), especially those related to the life and times of Anne Frank.
Students will be able to compare personal and family chronology to Twentieth Century (1900 - present) events.
Students will know that 'discrimination existed in the past and still exists today.'
Students will suggest how they could have made or 'can make' a difference.

Instructional Procedures


See preface material from 'Anne Frank in the World, 1929 - 1945 Teacher Workbook.'

Have students brainstorm all the events they know about the story of Anne Frank and about World War II. This can be done in small or large groups using a technique such as cognitive mapping or webbing. Sketch parallel timelines for the two histories on the board or overhead projector.

Use the timeline master sheet to prepare two decks of 'cards,' one of years, one of events. Post the years along the top of a long piece of paper or cloth to start the timeline.

Mark off at least three tiers: Anne Frank's life, world events, personal history. Have students confirm years/events from the cards that they identified in their brainstorming activity by placing them on the timeline. Have them identify/guess the dates and meanings of the others. Explain briefly those that are new to the students or assign them as homework.

Have students research the years on the timeline in terms of other world events related to war and peace, expanding the categories to include the arts, science, and other human accomplishments as time permits. Individuals or pairs could be responsible for one or more of the 24-year cards. Or small groups could be responsible for a region of the world (continent or other meaningful group of countries) and what has happened there during the Twentieth Century. Have students add the results of their research to the timeline sheet. They may also be encouraged to keep their own version of the timeline in a notebook or other format.

Have students research the years on the timeline in terms of their own personal and family history. If family history is too personal or painful, allow students to use the biography of a person of their own choosing. Students who work with elderly members of the community might want to ask permission to use this person's family history as their own. Have students add at least one result of their personal/family research to the timeline sheet in the classroom. They should also keep this version of the timeline in a notebook or other format.

Using a different color of paper or Post-it Notes, ask students to select one timeline event related to discrimination and proclaim, 'I can make a difference!' or 'I think I could have made a difference!' If their intervention is short it can be written on the paper and posted next to the event. If the description is longer, post the signed 'proclamation' next to the event and include the explanation in a notebook collection of student essays entitled 'I can make a difference.' Each student should be encouraged to contribute an essay to this notebook. These intervention essays can address discrimination on any one of the three timeline tiers. Instead of or in addition to personal essays, students may research and write about a contemporary or historical figure whose life 'made a difference.'

Have Students compare the three tiers of the timeline. Are there any 'surprises' there? Did they learn anything about world events that are rarely covered in textbooks or history classes? How does their personal/family history parallel world events? Is anyone in their family the same age as Anne Frank would be today?

Display the timeline in the hallway outside the classroom or in another public space. Invite other students and staff to contribute new events, especially on the personal/family tier.

Research literature, art, and music related to the theme of discrimination, including works by victims and survivors of the Holocaust. What works are emerging from the conflict in the former Yugoslavia? Are there artistic witnesses to repression in Latin America? Africa? Asia? What do the voices and creations of Native American Indians and African Americans say? Turn the research into a performance for the class, school, or community.

Read/perform Maya Angelou's inauguration poem, On the Pulse of Morning, and discuss its relevance to the themes of discrimination and 'I can make a Difference.'

Discuss the quotation from the German Lutheran pastor. How does it fit the lesson?


Use the computer to create a database for one or more timelines. Create an oral history archive with audio or videotaped interviews with persons who have first-hand knowledge of events on the timeline. Conduct video interviews with students and local citizens; make audiotapes of local and telephone interviews. A similar archive could be established on computer disk.

Created: 02/24/1997
Updated: 02/05/2018