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The Upstairs Room

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This is the story of an "Anne Frank" who survived the war. Although the story is fictionalized it is based on the true experiences of Reiss herself. When the Germans occupied Holland, eight year old Annie de Leeuw, and her family were in grave danger because they were Jews. Like Ann Frank's family, Annie's family found they could not get out of Holland.

The two sisters were taken in and hidden by the Oosterveld's for the duration of the war. They spend nearly every moment of the next four years in the upstairs bedroom of the Oosterveld's small farmhouse. The two girls only got to go outside a few times in all those years.

The Oosterveld's made a small secret room in the attic as a hiding place in case the Germans searched the house. The Nazi's did worse than search the house; they occupy the bottom floor and make it their headquarters. During this time, the two sisters must spend most of their time in the secret room made out of a closet. Annie, the younger of the two sisters who is telling the story begins to lose touch with reality during this time and the girls get so little exercise that their legs begin to stiffen.

One day they are taken outside hidden in wheelbarrows so they can see the sun. Annie had almost forgotten what sunlight was she had spent so much time in darkened rooms. The story has a happy ending however, as both girls survive the war. In an afterward, Reiss, tells the story of going back to the house as an adult. She had brought her children to see the room and as she got on the floor to climb into the little secret room she just began to cry.

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