I don’t think there will ever be another person in history quite like Anne Frank. The mere idea of writing about her is humbling because there is so much to say, and nothing I write is going to cover everything that I wish I could convey about her. There’s too much to say about her insight, her bravery, and her incredible story. If you somehow managed to make it through life so far without reading The Diary of Anne Frank, don’t waste another minute without it on your shelf. It’s a book you’ll read years later and still be revered and stunned by.
The Diary of Anne Frank is the published work of Anne’s diary, which she wrote in between the years of 1942 (when Anne received the diary for her 13th birthday) and 1944. But, of course, this is not just any diary, no offense to the famous Wimpy Kid or Bridget Jones. Anne Frank’s diary is the real-life account of her and her family living in hiding from the Nazis. The diary is not interesting simply because of her situation, though. It’s interesting because she’s brilliant. She was an amazing writer, and she should have lived to write more.
Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1929. Her family was Jewish, and she lived with her parents, Edith and Otto, and her older sister, Margot. Anne took to reading and writing early on in school, so a diary was the perfect gift from her father when she turned thirteen. In July of 1942, only a month later, Anne’s family went into hiding when her sister received notice that she had to report to a work camp. Her family went to an apartment known as “The Achterhuis” or “Secret Annex.” Anne, of course, brought her diary with her.
While in hiding, Anne wrote about everything: growing up, becoming a woman, her relationship with her sister and parents, her hopes, her dreams, her fears. Another family, the van Pels, also lived in the Annex with the Franks, and eventually Anne would have her first kiss with the family’s son, Peter.
The diary is filled with wisdom and insight beyond what the average fourteen-year-old would write. Anne is smart and funny, and her thoughts are moving and heartwarming:
“Although I’m only fourteen, I know quite well what I want, I know who is right and who is wrong. I have my opinions, my own ideas and principles, and although it may sound pretty mad from an adolescent, I feel more of a person than a child, I feel quite independent of anyone.”
Anne’s final entry is dated August 1, 1944. Three days later, Anne, her family, and the van Pels were arrested by German police and sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Anne, her mother, and her sister all died at Auschwitz, leaving Otto Frank as the only surviving member of the family after the war. It was her father who later published Anne’s diary.
Anne dreamed of being a journalist, of getting her writing out there for everyone to read. She didn’t let her age, her gender, or her scary living situation keep her from believing in that dream; and, in a way, that dream was accomplished.
“I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death!” –Anne Frank
Anne’s words and spirit have certainly lived on beyond her unjust and untimely death. When I read her story, I can’t help but mourn for her, yet I also can’t help but celebrate her, miss her, and learn from her.