A diary is, very simply put, a person’s recorded thoughts. These days, of course, the record includes digital mediums, such as video cameras and audio recorders. But all throughout history, as soon as the written word became a part of the culture, many individuals kept a diary or its equivalent. Some of these diaries have become incredibly famous over the course of history, such as Anne Frank’s diary.
From movies being made about Anne’s arduous ordeals to her diaries actually being taught in school in multiple courses, Anne Frank and her diary is perhaps the most recognizable in all of history. It’s also a great way to realize just how powerful the written word is, especially when the writer is no longer around to tell the tale.
Annelies Marie Frank, known as just Anne, was born in 1929 and died at only 15 years of age in 1945. While she was very young, the Nazi Party in Germany had started to force Jews into the ghetto, ultimately to funnel them into concentration camps before murdering around 6 million in total. Anne and her family were directly in this middle of this madness, as the entire Frank family hid in the back of a warehouse, a secret annex, for two years as the Nazis continually hunted for Jewish people.
Anne and her family were eventually caught by the Nazis and Anne was shipped by train to Auschwitz – the largest and most unforgiving of the many Nazi concentration camps. Anne was on the last train of prisoners to be taken to Auschwitz, and after months of horrible treatment, she fell victim of a typhus outbreak in the camp, just mere weeks before British troops liberated the prisoners.
On the surface, Anne Frank was just another Jewish victim of perhaps the most horrendous example of genocide in world history. In the context of the Holocaust, however, and the contributions many brave Jews made to ensure their story would be told, Anne Frank will forever be remembered as a true heroine. Not only did Anne keep a thorough diary about the horrors which were taking place around her, but she also recorded her thoughts and feelings of being a teenage girl.
Her diaries are so powerful because they’re so incredibly human. While her known world was literally falling down around her, the everyday turmoil and teenage angst still managed to seep through. The pages of her diary stand as a testament to the human spirit; her perseverance is to be commended.
One of the most emotionally conflicting lines of her famous diary, which is both bone-chilling and heartwarming, states, “I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.” At such a young age, one might expect anger. And especially given her horrific circumstances, some may demand it. But Anne’s diary displays the passion and conviction which has helped future generations to understand what good truly is and what evil can truly do when left unchecked.
After Anne’s death and after the war, Anne’s many pages of writing were given to Otto Frank, her father. An emotional wreck, Otto put the pages together and attempted to have them published. His initial attempts failed, and it wasn’t until an article was written about the diary, called Kinderstem, that publishers took notice. In 1952, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl was published in the UK.