The Diary of Anne Frank is a Powerful Testament to the Strength of Human
From the secrets written to Kitty we can learn the other side of World War 2, a side which is rarely, if ever, seen. The diary gives us a glimpse into Anne Frank’s fundamental view of the world, that view will give us a better understanding of how the diary has had an enormous impact on the world.
The diary opens with Anne’s glimpse of her life as a Jew, “Jews must wear a yellow star, Jews must hand in their bicycles, Jews are banned from trams…Our freedom was strictly limited. Yet things were still bearable” (Mooyaart 4). Anne’s detailed diary gave us insights into what life was like for Jews who were in hiding. As the months roll on we hear in Anne’s own words the stories of people taken to the extermination camps, a real-life horror story that few live to tell. Anne via her diary lived on to face the horrors of being a Jew in Holland. Living in constant fear of being arrested and taken. The terror at a knock on the cupboard. The silence during the day, the pain the agony that was created by World War 2. Herein we have a first-person account of being a Jew in the Nazi era through the eyes of a young woman not available in other sources.
The diary gives us a subjective but almost day to day account of the world of a Jew in hiding. In the microcosm of the attic that they lived in for almost two years the terrors of the world to be a private citizen could be experienced firsthand by the reader.
At the same time it gives us a human story about what it is like to be an adolescent during World War 2. This book is about survival. It’s about prejudice. It teaches how there is nobility in human compassion. And it’s also about a young girl trying to survive adolescence. Many teens can relate to such a book because Anne goes through all of the normal adolescent trials in life, even though she’s locked up. There is no source that can tell us a living story that has not been clouded by time.
We can learn many things from the diary about her fundamental view of the world. Anne has a difficult relationship with her mother, as most young girls do. She often says things to hurt her mother, yet she can’t help her temper and continues to do so as time goes on. She also goes through the beginning stages of love. She and Peter enjoy each others company, and that leads to a very close bond that many teens experience in their lives. Anne also struggles with her identity. She finds through her writing that there are two Annes: a good one and a bad one. She longs throughout the story to find someone who will relate to her. All of these feelings she has can relate to most teenagers, no matter what year it is. Although it teaches of the Holocaust and what the Jews went through, it reaches out to the reader to make the story more realistic and believable. We never want such a historical blunder to happen again.
Anne was a philosopher of sorts “riches can be all lost, but happiness is in your own heart..As long as you can look fearlessly up into heaven, as long as you know that your arte pure within and that you will still find happiness” (Mooyaart 159). Anne’s strength come in her view that happiness is there regardless of the circumstances you are in. A powerful example of her view is found in her discussion of the people who have risked their lives to help hide her family and protect them, she calls them the real heroes. Anne often spoke of her feelings and told things as they really were.’…I’m honest and tell people right to their faces what I think, even when it’s not very flattering. I want to be honest; I think it gets you further and also makes you feel better about yourself.’. “Let me be myself and then I am satisfied. I know that I’m a woman, a woman with inward strength and plenty of courage.” Despite the world around Anne, with all the sorrow and despair she maintains her belief in the basic goodness of man. Anne reiterates this view again and again “I don’t think then of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains” (Moopyaart 171). The world is falling apart and Anne’s fundamental view is looking at the good side, the world has heroes, you can make yourself happy and values strength, courage and honesty above all.
The impact of her diary, which was saved by one of the helpers in the Secret Annex, Miep Gies, and published by her father, has had an enormous impact on the world. Otto Frank, who survived the war, wanted Anne’s voice to be heard when millions of others were silenced. She was a young woman attempting to flee persecution, and her life was tragically cut short. Along with 6 million other Jewish people, Anne and the majority of her family were murdered by the German Nazi regime for being different. They were victims of evil. They were victims of hatred.
Yet, despite this, Anne’s words continue to offer hope. They are words that echo through generations, reaching people of all backgrounds and cultures. They instill in us the determination to educate future generations on the horrors of the past; to pass on the ideals of freedom from fear and freedom from want; and to act when we see injustices taking place.
Eleanor Roosevelt says in her introduction to the Diary notes “..made me intimately and shockingly aware of war’s greatest evil—the degradation of the human spirit” and continues with “Anne’s Diary makes poignantly clear the ultimate shining nobility of that spirit” (Mooyart). The Diary has many of the elements of a greek tragedy. In one of Anne’s final entries to the diary, she tells kitty “I still believe that people are really good at heart…I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens I think that it will all come right…I must uphold my ideals” (Mooyaart 263). Anne is noble.
People continue to connect with her. In many ways she is an ordinary teenager, writing about ordinary teenage things. Yet she is an extraordinary person, not only because she wrote these things amid war and violence, but also because in this teenage girl, we find reflective wisdom and wit. She is a woman of inward strength and courage. And her words continue to inspire, provide the optimism and lift generations up. The result, the tragedy is intensified.
The diary was published in 1947, the war had ended only two years prior. People were still numb from the horror the war had placed on them, and their loved ones. The timing was perfect, the message so powerful that its effect could be fully experienced. As time has moved along people still read her diary because of the power of her words, the power of a story of a young woman facing death every day, hungry, and living in a cramped space but in the face of everything to have the strength to believe in the basic goodness of man.
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From the secrets written to Kitty we can learn the other side of World War 2, a side which is rarely, if ever, seen. The diary gives us a glimpse […]