She was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, the second daughter of Otto Heinrich Frank (May 12, 1889 - August 19, 1980) and his wife Edith Hollander (January 16, 1900 - January 6, 1945). She had an older sister, Margot Betti Frank (February 16, 1926 - March 1945). She and her family later had to move to Amsterdam to escape persecution by the Nazis. When she was barely 13 years old her family went into hiding in the Achterhuis, a small two-story space behind Otto Frank's company space. The door to the Achterhuis was hidden behind a bookcase. They lived there from July 9, 1942 until August 4, 1944, during the Nazi occupation. There were 8 people in the hiding place: Otto and Edith Frank (Anne's parents); Anne's older sister Margot; Mr. Dussel, a Jewish dentist (real name, Fritz Pfeffer); and Mr. and Mrs. van Daan with their son Peter (real last name, van Pels). During those years Anne wrote her diary, describing with considerable talent her fears of living in hiding for years, the awakening feelings for Peter, the conflicts with her parents, and her aspirations to become a writer.
After more than two years, a tip from a Dutch informer led the Gestapo to their hiding place. They were arrested by the Grüne Polizei and on September 2, 1944 Frank and her family were placed on the last transport train from Westerbork to Auschwitz. They arrived three days later. Meanwhile Miep Gies and Elly Vossen, two of the people who cared for them during the hiding years, found the diary and saved it.
Anne, Margot and Edith Frank, the van Pels family and Fritz Pfeffer did not survive the German concentration camps. Margot and Anne spent a month in Auschwitz-Birkenau and were sent on to Bergen-Belsen, where they died of typhus in March 1945, shortly before the liberation. Only Anne's father Otto made it out of the concentration camps alive. Miep gave him the diary and he edited it for publication under the title The Diary of Anne Frank. It has since been published in 55 languages.
A recent critical edition of the diary compares her original entries with her father's edited versions.
The house where Anne and her family hid is now a museum. It is at Prinsengracht 263 in the city center, within walking distance of the main train station, the palace and the Dam.
In 1956 Frank's diary was made into a play that won the Pulitzer Prize, in 1959 it was made into a motion picture; see: The Diary of Anne Frank (film), in 1997 it was made into a Broadway play with added material from the original diaries.