Anne Frank was born in Germany in 1929. When the Nazi Party won local elections, her family moved to Amsterdam to avoid the potential discrimination.
On June 12th in 1942, Anne started writing in a diary. She wrote about her life at school and the occupation of the Netherlands by Germany that began in 1940. She was forced into a Jewish school and had to wear a yellow star in public. On July 6, 1942 the family moved into a hiding place along a canal in Amsterdam. Anne continued writing her diary during the period of hiding, talking about daily life and her thoughts on life.
A little over two years after going into hiding the Franks were discovered by the police after a tip off. They were sent to Auschwitz where Anne was forced to strip naked to be disinfected, had her head shaved and was tattooed with an identifying number on her arm. By day, the women were used as slave labour and Anne was forced to haul rocks and dig rolls of sod; by night, they were crammed into overcrowded barracks. Some witnesses later testified Anne became withdrawn and tearful when she saw children being led to the gas chambers; others reported that more often she displayed strength and courage. Her gregarious and confident nature allowed her to obtain extra bread rations for her mother, sister, and herself. Disease was rampant; before long, Anne’s skin became badly infected by scabies. The Frank sisters were moved into an infirmary, which was in a state of constant darkness and infested with rats and mice. Her mother stopped eating, saving every morsel of food for her daughters and passing her rations to them through a hole she made at the bottom of the infirmary wall.
The camp being Rampant to disease, Anne eventually died at the age of 15. This was only a few weeks before the camp was liberated by British troops on 15 April 1945; the exact dates were not recorded. After liberation, the camp was burned in an effort to prevent further spread of disease, and Anne and her sister Margot were buried in a mass grave; the exact whereabouts of her grave remain unknown.
She continued writing regularly until her last entry of 1 August 1944. And somehow the diary of this young girl survived and was published by her father who also survived the Holocaust, as Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.
John F. Kennedy discussed Anne Frank in a 1961 speech, and said,
“Of all the multitudes who throughout history have spoken for human dignity in times of great suffering and loss, no voice is more compelling than that of Anne Frank.
In June 1999 Time magazine published a special edition titled “Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century”. Anne Frank was selected as one of the “Heroes & Icons”, and the writer, Roger Rosenblatt, described her legacy with the comment,
“The passions the book ignites suggest that everyone owns Anne Frank, that she has risen above the Holocaust, Judaism, girlhood and even goodness and become a totemic figure of the modern world—the moral individual mind beset by the machinery of destruction, insisting on the right to live and question and hope for the future of human beings.”
I was moved by reading her dairy. I think people like Anne are always there to remind us that truth and courage are not bound by age, gender or social status. It is a lesson worth remembering because people like Anne died for the very same.
Have a joyous Easter.