This month I read The Diary of Anne Frank, but before you click away because it’s a smaller or younger read… Stop! Everyone knows the story and the way it sadly ends, but it is so important, especially now, to read it.
The book takes place in Holland during Nazi occupation. A young girl named Anne is 13 years old when the Franks, Van Daans, and Mr. Dussel go into hiding. For the next 3 years of her life, the Secret Annex, their hiding spot, becomes their home. They cannot leave or be heard or seen. They experience bombings, gunshots, and burglaries, but Anne continues to write. In the end, hopes are high because the Allies are approaching, only it is not soon enough and the diary entries soon stop.
I think the most shocking for me was how normal Anne was in her entries. I mean she is just a regular teenager; she talks about her hair, friendships, and self-criticism. Aspects of the war are only spoken of when there are air fights, or burglaries occur. She adjusts to life and this, the war, becomes her new life. I feel that this was so important because it shows how that this is just a young girl’s diary. She shares her thoughts and feelings while living through one of the worst events in history. It shows the world that when these events occur they affect real people with feelings, aspirations and hope. Although it is known that tragedies affect many individuals, reading Anne Frank gave a reality check.
Something else that affected me while reading this is that she is the age of my brother. Obviously World War II had taken the lives of people younger and older than him, but reading Anne’s diary who could have been his classmate or even him is terrifying. It also makes events today more real and horrific. There is such a disconnect and a ‘us vs. them’ sense that we often forget to be empathetic, accepting and/or helpful. It’s easier to walk away but if it was someone you knew or read their diary, your point of view would quickly change.
It’s understandable that as one becomes older, the book may seem less appealing, as it is a teenage girl’s diary. Sure, the book is long at some points but it’s a book where in the end everything connects. It’s just a must. You get to see a personal account to such an inhumane moment in history. And although it seemed to have occurred such a long time ago, it really really has not; in fact I found myself having some of the same interests as Anne.
We have to do everything in our power to stop this from happening again and honestly currently we are failing. Do not let these people’s sacrifice and tragedies be forgotten or be in vain.