The Diary of a Young Girl-Anne Frank
In June, 2013 I visited Denmark and The Netherlands and was presented with an opportunity to visit the Anne Frank Museum in Holland. The visit was the first I had made to a structure dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust. As you make your way through the museum, a chill can come over you as the realization of what happened begins to sink in. Many of the original belongings of the Frank family are still there including her father Otto’s books and Anne’s collection of images and clippings that covered her wall. The museum provides an intimate look into the life of Annelies Marie “Anne” Frank (1929-1945).
A visit to the museum is not complete unless you have read the best-selling and widely translated diary she left behind. Her story has become one of the most widely read books about the Nazi extermination of Europe’s Jews. I currently have a copy of my shelf and each time I read it, the book becomes more a classic than ever before. At the time she wrote the diary, I do not believe she had any idea of what it would become. And as she laid dying of typhus at the Bergen-Belsen camp, I remain assured that her thoughts were centered on more pressing things around her. Following the war her father Otto returned to the annex and recovered what was left of his daughter’s writings. His other daughter and Anne’s sister, Margot, died at the same camp several days before Anne at the age of 15. Published posthumously, the diary went on to become a worldwide treasure and has made her image an icon of the Jewish experience in World War II.
The diary is fascinating for it shows the musings of a typical teenage girl living in atypical times. Her account of daily life in the annex and thoughts about her family, war and her feelings towards the other occupants in the annex are interesting and significant in understanding her tragedy. Her words are humorous, insightful and promising. The threat of discovery by the Gestapo provides a stark reminder of the seriousness of their situation and hangs over the book like a dark cloud. However it gives us an idea as to the fear and paranoia that everyone in the annex faced each day as they hoped the end of the war was near. Today, most teenagers are busy with classes, learning about the opposite sex and finding who they are in life. But for Anne Frank, it was a time of war, murder and the reality of The Final Solution. March, 2017 will mark 72 years since she left this world. She is no longer here in a physical form but her words remain and are an inerasable part of world history.