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70 years of Anne Frank: Powerful lines from the diary that have inspired us

2017 marks 70 years of The Diary of Anne Frank— a diary written by a 13-year-old, during the horrors of the Holocaust. We take a look at some of the most moving lines from her diary.

books Updated: Jul 28, 2017 20:09 IST
Lakshana Palat
Lakshana Palat
Hindustan Times
Anne Frank,Holocaust,World War 2
Anne Frank’s diary, The Diary of a Young Girl, chronicling the two years of her life spent in hiding when the Germans occupied the Netherlands in World War II, is considered one of the most poignant accounts detailing the horrors of the Holocaust.(AFP)

New Delhi

In June 1942,13-year-old Anne Frank, who lived in Amsterdam in Europe, was given a red-checked diary as a birthday present. Little did she know, that one day this diary would be read by millions of people all over the world.

Anne Frank in 1941.

The next month, Anne and her family went into hiding, to escape from falling into the hands of the Nazis, who were determined to send all the Jews to concentration and death camps, as part of their deadly ethnic-cleansing plan. Anne’s hiding place was in her father Otto Frank’s office, concealed behind a bookcase. Another family moved in with them, along with a dentist. They were helped by Otto’s office colleagues. For two years, Anne chronicled her experiences of hiding in vivid detail, along with the difficulties of living with people in such confined quarters. She wrote about how quiet they had to be during the day, when they could use the washroom, and the fear of being discovered, and the shock of what was happening to their numerous Jewish friends.

However in August 1944, Nazis stormed their hiding place, and all eight people were taken away to concentration camps. Anne died at Bergen-Belsen camp in early March, 1945, a few months before she was to turn 16. Her father was the only one out of the eight people who survived. On his return, he published Anne’s diary, which had been saved by Miep, one of the helpers. Thus, he fullfilled Anne’s dream of becoming a writer, and Anne’s words,
“I want to continue living after my death,” rings true today.

A photo of Anne Frank at the opening of the exhibition: “Anne Frank, a History for Today”, at the Westerbork Remembrance Centre in Hooghalen, northeast Netherlands. (AP File Photo)

Today, Anne’s diary is a testament, a powerful reminder, about a dark time where hatred of one particular race almost took over the world. As 2017 marks 70 years of the diary’s publication, here are some of the most moving lines which Anne had written in her diary. From self-reflection to state of the world, Anne’s words resonate with us. It is admirable, that a girl at that age, had such a mature understanding of the world.

1) Women should be respected as well! Generally speaking, men are held in great esteem in all parts of the world, so why shouldn’t women have their share? Soldiers and war heroes are honoured and commemorated, explorers are granted immortal fame, martyrs are revered, but how many people look upon women too as soldiers?

2) Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!

3) It’s difficult in times like these: Ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.

4) We aren’t allowed to have any opinions. People can tell you to keep your mouth shut, but it doesn’t stop you having your own opinion. Even if people are still very young, they shouldn’t be prevented from saying what they think.

The bookcase which concealed the hiding place.

5) How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

6) What is done cannot be undone, but one can prevent it happening again.

7) I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.

8) Who has made us Jews different from all other people? Who has allowed us to suffer so terribly up until now? It is God who has made us as we are, but it will be God, too, who will raise us up again. Who knows? It might even be our religion from which the world and all peoples learn good, and for that reason and only that reason do we suffer. We can never become just Netherlanders, or just English or representatives of any country for that matter. We will always remain Jews, but we want to, too.

9) As long as this exists, this sunshine and this cloudless sky, and as long as I can enjoy it, how can I be sad?

10) I know what I want, I have a goal, an opinion, I have a religion and love. 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.

First Published: Jul 28, 2017 15:41 IST