I want to take a step back in time to bring you today’s incredible woman. The most heart-breaking thing about this is that she never got to see the awareness she brought to the world just by keeping a diary.
Annelies Marie “Anne” Frank was born June 12th 1929 in an assimilated community in Frankfurt, Germany.
Between 1933 and 1939 over 300,000 Jews fled Germany; the Franks were among them, heading to Amsterdam to take advantage of business prospects and a life free of persecution.
The war came knocking again in 1940 when Germany invaded the Netherlands, and new decrees were passed for Jewish children only to attend Jewish schools. Despite the segregation, Anne still managed to make friends and excel in her studies. This was not the only act of segregation to take place.
It was in a small autograph book given to her for a 13th birthday present that Anne began her diary. She wrote of the restrictions placed upon the Jewish community, her dreams and her seemingly mundane life.
When the family was given a call-up notice in 1942 with orders to relocate to a work camp, they decided instead to go into hiding in rooms behind the offices where Anne’s Father had worked. This is where the Franks stayed for a little over 2 years only to be arrested by the German Order Police on August 4th 1944.
By September 1944 the family was transported to their next destination, the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp. On arrival the men, women and children were separated and the old, the sick the weak and the children under 15 were marched to gas chambers. Anne survived this fate but was chosen instead for hard manual labor. She was stripped naked, disinfected, had her head shaved and her identification number was tattooed on her arm.
Anne finally passed away at the age of 15 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, merely weeks before the British troops liberated the camps. She had always believed her father had been lost to the gas chambers in Auschwitz, but this was not the case. He was given the diary and a lose bundle of notes written by Anne. He was moved by the detail in which his daughter had recorded their lives.
Otto handed the diary over to Annie Romein-Verschoor and her husband Jan Romein and the road to publication began.
Germany and France published the writings in 1950, the UK picked it up in 1952 but it was out of print due to low sales by ‘53. The US changed the title but also published Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl in 1952 and surprisingly more than 100,000 copies were sold in its first edition in Japan.
Since the 50’s there have been movies and plays adapted from the diaries. There are trees, roses and statues created in Anne’s memory.
In 1999 Time magazine named Anne Frank among the heroes and icons of the 20th century on their list The Most Important People of the Century,
stating, “With a diary kept in a secret attic, she braved the Nazis and lent a searing voice to the fight for human dignity”. Even Madame Tussaudes Wax Museum unveiled a likeness of Anne on March 9th 2012.
So though she lived a short and at times, tortured life, Anne’s legacy to the world is an insightful look at the affect of war on children.
You can pick yourself up a copy of The Diary of Anne Frank from any book shop with decent stock.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 1968 by Macmillan General Books (first published 1947) ISBN 0330107372 (ISBN13: 9780330107372) *note this is just one option of MANY of the publications of this memoir* Source