Peter van Daan


The boring housemate

Anne changed Peter's last name in her diary in view of its future publication. His real last name is Peter van Pels. One week after Anne moved into the secret annex with her parents, Peter and his two parents go into hiding there on July 13, 1942. Peter is “going on sixteen” (9%) at this time. His father worked as an employee in Otto Frank`s company in Amsterdam.

When the van Daans move in with Anne's family in the secret annex, Anne's opinion of Peter is negative: “Peter’s (…) a shy, awkward boy whose company won’t amount to much” (9%). She finds him unlikable, lazy, and stupid: “I don’t think Peter’s gotten any nicer. He’s an obnoxious boy who lies around on his bed all day, only rousing himself to do a little carpentry work before returning to his nap. What a dope!” (9%)”. 

Despite noting that Peter can be “very amusing” (14%) from time to time, for example when they dress up for fun, Anne's general opinion of him remains very negative at first. She thinks he is just as dull as her sister Margot: “Margot and Peter aren’t exactly what you’d call “young”; they’re both so quiet and boring.” (24%).

Moreover, she thinks Peter's a whiny hypochondriac who doesn't deserve to be taken seriously: “no one takes Peter seriously anymore, since he’s hypersensitive and lazy.” (9%).

Rescue from loneliness: Peter as Anne's confidant

Anne doesn't like Peter very much during the first year and a half they spend in hiding together. Only when she discovers her interest in the opposite sex, and she chooses Peter as her confidant, does she learn to appreciate his gentle and reserved character: “in his face I saw a look of helplessness and uncerta...

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