“The Diary of A Young girl” by Anne Frank

I am late to the party but I finally had time to read “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank. The moment I opened the book and knew her fate, I knew it was going to break my heart. Some things in history are just wrong and what happened to Anne Frank is horrendous. But there was something that I also found uplifting about the book.

Firstly, I am surprised at how immaculate of a writer and how articulate Anne was for a thirteen to fifteen-year-old. She had a feel for words and for writing but what I loved the most is her honesty. When she opened her diary to write in it, she was brutally honest with herself and I find that impressive. I loved how serious her reflections about life were. I think that makes even it even more horrifying that young kids, each of them with a deep personality on their own, had to suffer so much during the Second World War.

For the background and those who don’t know, Anne Frank was a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl who found refuge from Nazi Germany in Holland shortly before the start of the Second World War. Once Nazis occupied Holland, they started discriminating against Jews by, for instance, prohibiting them to ride bikes or go to school together with Dutch kids. When Nazis sent a notice to her older sister Margot to report for deportation to Germany, her parents decided to go into hiding in “Achterhuis” or Secret Annex which was prepared in advance. There, they lived for almost two years with another family of three and a dentist aided by the warehouse employees and friends until they were betrayed and deported to Germany in 1944. Shortly after that, Anne, her mother and her sister died in concentration camps with her father being the only family member who survived.

I was trying to put some of my thoughts together but what speaks better than the excerpts from an actual diary. Here are some that I liked the most:


“Anti-Jews decrees followed each other in quick succession. Jews must wear a yellow star, Jews must hand in their bicycles, Jews are banned from trams and are forbidden to drive. Jews are allowed to do their shopping between three and five o’clock and then only in shops which bear the placard “Jewish shop”. Jews must be indoors by eight o’clock and cannot even sit in their own gardens after that hour. Jews are forbidden to visit theaters, cinemas, and other places of entertainment. Jews may not take part in public sports. Swimming baths, tennis courts, hockey fields, and other sports grounds are all prohibited to them. Jews may not visit Christians. Jews must go to Jewish schools, and many more restrictions of a similar kind.
So we could not do this and were forbidden to do that. But life went on in spite of it all.


It is boiling hot, we are all positively melting, and in this heat I have to walk everywhere. Now I can fully appreciate how nice a tram is; but that is a forbidden luxury for Jews – shank’s mare is good enough for us.”


“The children here run about in just a thin blouse and clogs; no coat, no hat, no stockings, and no one helps them. Their tummies are empty; they chew on the old carrots to stay the pangs, go from their cold homes out into the cold street and, when they get to school, find themselves in an even colder classroom. Yes, it has even got so bad in Holland that countless children stop the passer-bys and beg for a piece of bread. I could go on for hours about all the suffering the world has brought, but then I would only make myself more dejected. There is nothing we can do but wait as calmly as we can till the misery comes to an end. Jews and Christians wait, the whole earth waits; and there are many who wait for death.”


“I see the eight of us with our ‘Secret Annexe’ as if we were a little piece of blue heaven, surrounded by heavy black rain clouds. The round, clearly defined spot where we stand is still safe, but the clouds gather more closely about us and the circle which separates us from the approaching danger closes more and more tightly. Now we are surrounded by danger and darkness that we bump against each other, as we search desperately for the means of escape. “


“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God.[…] As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”


“Who has inflicted this upon us? Who has made us Jews different from all other people? Who has allowed us to suffer so terribly up until now. It is God that has made us as we are, but it will be God too who will raise us up again. It we bear all this suffering and if there are still Jews left, when it is over, then the Jews, instead of being doomed will be held up as an example. Who knows, it might even be our religion from which the world and all peoples learn good, and for that reason and that reason only do we have to suffer now. We can never become just Netherlanders, or just English, or representatives or any country for that matter, we will always remain Jews, but we want to, too”.


Bear in mind that it was a 15-year-old who wrote these lines. The tragic part of it all is that the diary just ends at one point – but its ending is not intended. There was supposed to be another entry – and another after that, and another after that one. But it never was written. Just like millions of people in the Second World War never had a chance to write their own life stories.


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