Study Guide

Alfred Dussel in The Diary of Anne Frank

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Alfred Dussel

Almost as Irritating as a Toothache

Anne's biting commentary comes out in full force when discussing Alfred Dussel—whose actual historical name is Fritz Pfeffer. And while we can usually take a step back and view Anne's annoyance as a byproduct of her horrifying living conditions (and the amount of fear prevalent in the Annex), we have to admit: Dussel sounds like a nightmare roomie.

Alfred Dussel is a fussy old dentist and, unfortunately, Anne’s roommate in the Secret Annex. He doesn’t respect Anne at all; he demands Anne’s compliance with all of his absurd wishes while never considering hers. He is generally very selfish, never thanking the Franks or van Daans for sharing their hiding spot with him or showing any gratefulness to their protectors:

I should explain that yesterday was November 16, the first anniversary of his [Mr. Dussel’s] living in the Annex [. . .] instead of taking the opportunity to thank us – for the first time – for unselfishly taking him in, he didn’t utter a word. (11/17/1943.3)

He frequently endangers the other members of the Secret Annex by breaking their security rules and even hoards food, which he refuses to share. Overall, he fights with everyone in the Secret Annex and often gives people the silent treatment. No wonder Anne paints a negative picture of this guy.

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