This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.
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Who was Albert Dussel? What was the relationship between him and Anne Frank?
Albert Dussel was a local dentist and an acquaintance of the Franks. He joined the Annex in early November 1942. Initially, Anne took a liking to Dussel, but as time went on, their relationship deteriorated.
Read about Albert Dussel, his relationship with Anne Frank, and other residents of the Secret Annex.
Who Was Albert Dussel?
Albert Dussel, a local dentist, moved into the Annex in early November 1942. The residents of the Annex welcomed him with coffee and cognac. He was stunned to see the Franks as he had heard the word of their escape. They explained their ruse and brought him up to speed with the rules of the Annex.
At first, Anne took a liking to Dussel. She thought he was nice and selfless. He was a bit slow to learn the rules, but she thought this was because he needed time to adapt to the new environment. However, her opinion of him quickly began to change as he turned out to be more selfish and strict than Anne originally thought.
Because she had to share a room with him, she was the first to see his true personality. He’d constantly correct Anne and admonish her for her behavior. He also kept a rigid schedule and would get angry if anyone bothered him when he tried to go about his day. While Anne thought about acting out in revenge, she figured it would only end with more trouble for her.
Dussel would also get into intense arguments with other residents of the Annex. Though Anne didn’t describe the details of the fights in her diary, she did describe incidents that incited frustration from the residents. In one instance, they discovered that Dussel had been keeping a secret food stash hidden away despite the fact that food had become harder to come by. Dussel defended his stash as “his property” and promptly ridiculed the efforts of the people that were helping them while in hiding because he believed they weren’t doing enough.
In another fight with Dussel, Anne asked if she’d be able to use the table they shared two afternoons per week so she could study in peace. Despite being respectful in her request, Dussel rejected it. He claimed that he needed it for his studies, then called the coursework Anne was doing unimportant. While Anne tried to reason with him on multiple occasions, it didn’t help. She eventually had to ask her father to intervene and help them make an arrangement.
As time went on, Dussel’s rapport with his fellow residents continued deteriorating. From throwing a fit over losing their radio to stating that the English were idiots for not destroying Italy in its entirety, people began to grow tired of his attitude. Though he would apologize and swear to be “better,” the residents no longer believed his hollow promises.
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Here's what you'll find in our full The Diary of a Young Girl summary :
- What Nazi occupation looked like from the perspective of a young Jewish girl
- How Anne Frank had some normal teenage experiences while in hiding
- How the hidden residents coped with the stress