The Diary of Anne Frank
Anne Frank wanted to be a writer. It’s both wonderful and tragic that Anne indeed became a well-known writer around the world, but only after her death in a Nazi concentration camp. This diary is the story of Anne’s life as a young Jewish girl in hiding from the Nazis. When her family’s hiding place, the "Secret Annex" was raided, her Anne and her family were imprisoned in concentration camps.
Anne’s diary, a wonderful coming-of-age story, was left behind in the Secret Annex, but kept safe by a family friend, Miep Gies. Anne's father, Otto Frank, was the Secret Annex's sole survivor of the Holocaust. After Otto was liberated from a concentration camp, Miep gave him the diary. Otto Frank edited the diary and removed a few sensitive passages – some that weren’t so nice about Anne’s mom, other Secret Annex members, or parts that seemed too sexual for a teenager in the 1940s. However, the most currently printed versions are more complete.
The Diary of a Young Girl was first published in 1947 in Dutch as Het Achterhius (Secret Annex). The first English edition, published in 1952, instantly had a powerful impact. It was produced as a play in 1955 and a film in 1959. In 1960, the building containing the Secret Annex was made in to a museum called The Anne Frank House. Anne’s diary has inspired numerous educational and human rights organizations in her name.
Why Should I Care?
Anne Frank’s diary proves that the emotions we experience as teenagers are a universal experience. We can pretty much guarantee that her world is different from yours, and yet she goes through many of the same emotions we all face. Who doesn’t remember that first heart-pounding crush, the desperation to see him, (or her) and the inability to be happy unless he (or she) is near us and paying attention to us? We wish we could forget. But at the time, it is kind of fun, in a thrilling/horrible/sad sort of way.
Most importantly, Anne Frank gives a face and a personality to the millions of Jews who died in concentration camps during World War II. This is not a novel like Night, which describes the horrors of concentration camps. All the same Anne Frank’s wonderful and very personal diary keeps us from thinking of the victimized Jews simply as statistics or numbers, and brings the experience back to real people, people like us. If this diary made you frightened or very sad, you aren’t alone. You can’t help but wish that this thoughtful, bright young woman had gotten a chance to grow up – how can you not want that for her so badly? Yet she died, and simply because of racism. She is a true reminder of what our politicians all mean when they say "never again" about genocide.