Character Sketch of Mr Keesing in Anne’s Math Teacher

In Anne Frank’s poignant diary, Mr. Keesing, Anne’s math teacher, emerges as a significant figure in her daily life within the Secret Annex. As one of the few connections to the outside world during their clandestine existence, Mr. Keesing’s character is explored through Anne’s observations and interactions. Despite the challenges of wartime, Mr. Keesing represents a link to normalcy and education for Anne and her fellow inhabitants of the Secret Annex.

Quick Overview:

  • Name: Mr. Keesing
  • Role: Math teacher of Anne Frank
  • Setting: Secret Annex during World War II
  • Personality: Stern, disciplined, yet understanding
  • Impact on Anne: Represents a connection to the outside world and education
  • Relationship with Anne: Strained due to Anne’s spirited nature and his disciplinarian approach
  • Quirks: Notable for his mustache and stern demeanor
  • Challenges: Navigating the difficulties of teaching in a confined and tense environment
  • Legacy: A symbol of the persistence of education even in times of adversity
  • Key Quote: “A good example is the best sermon.”

Introduction to Mr. Keesing:

Mr. Keesing’s character is introduced through Anne’s diary entries, offering readers a glimpse into the life of the Secret Annex during World War II. As the math teacher of Anne Frank, Mr. Keesing holds a unique position in Anne’s world, serving as a tether to the normalcy of pre-war life.

Stern yet Compassionate:

Mr. Keesing’s personality is characterized by a stern and disciplined demeanor, which is evident in Anne’s accounts of his teaching style. However, beneath this exterior, there is a sense of understanding. In the confined space of the Secret Annex, where tension and fear prevail, Mr. Keesing attempts to maintain a semblance of routine and education, providing a crucial sense of normalcy.

Relationship with Anne:

The relationship between Anne and Mr. Keesing is marked by a degree of strain, primarily due to Anne’s spirited and outspoken nature. Anne often expresses her frustration with Mr. Keesing’s disciplinarian approach, highlighting the clash between her vivacious personality and his more formal teaching style. This dynamic reflects the challenges of maintaining a sense of normalcy in extraordinary circumstances.

Quirks and Physical Attributes:

Mr. Keesing is noted for his distinctive mustache and stern demeanor. These physical attributes, though seemingly minor, contribute to the vividness of his character in Anne’s descriptions. The mustache becomes a visual marker in Anne’s recollections, symbolizing the presence of authority and discipline in the Secret Annex.

Impact on Anne’s World:

As one of the few external figures interacting with the inhabitants of the Secret Annex, Mr. Keesing plays a crucial role in shaping Anne’s world. His presence becomes a connection to the outside, a reminder of the life they once knew before going into hiding. The act of teaching mathematics in the Annex becomes a symbol of resilience and a commitment to the pursuit of knowledge even in the face of adversity.

Challenges in Teaching:

Teaching in the confined and tense environment of the Secret Annex presents unique challenges for Mr. Keesing. The limited resources, the constant fear of discovery, and the emotional strain on both teacher and students add complexity to the task of education. Despite these challenges, Mr. Keesing persists in his role as a teacher, emphasizing the enduring value of education even in times of crisis.

Key Quote and Philosophical Stance:

“A good example is the best sermon” reflects Mr. Keesing’s philosophy and approach to education. This quote suggests that leading by example is more effective than merely preaching or instructing. In the context of the Secret Annex, this philosophy takes on added significance as it speaks to the challenges of maintaining moral and intellectual standards in a confined and uncertain environment.

Legacy and Symbolism:

Mr. Keesing’s legacy lies in his symbolic role as a representative of education and normalcy during a tumultuous period. His commitment to teaching becomes a beacon of hope, emphasizing the resilience of the human spirit and the enduring value of knowledge even in the face of war and persecution.

Normalcy Amidst Adversity:

In the abnormal circumstances of the Secret Annex, Mr. Keesing represents a link to the normal routines of life. His role as a teacher provides a semblance of normalcy, allowing the occupants of the Annex to momentarily escape the harsh realities of their existence. In this way, Mr. Keesing becomes a lifeline to a world that once was.


Mr. Keesing, as portrayed through Anne Frank’s diary, emerges as a character who transcends the boundaries of a math teacher. In the confined quarters of the Secret Annex, he becomes a symbol of resilience, discipline, and the enduring pursuit of knowledge. His stern yet compassionate approach to teaching reflects the persistence of normalcy and education even in the most extraordinary circumstances.

Scroll to Top