By Kathy Irey
Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl whose diary was destined to become one of the most cherished and read books in history, was born in Frankfurt , Germany onJune 12, 1929 .
Shortly thereafter, Hitler came to power and the persecution of the Jewish people in Germany began. Because of this, the Frank family moved to Holland where they believed they would be safe.
In 1940, the Nazis invaded Holland . At first, Anne’s life remained relatively unchanged. The next year, however, the Nazis began deporting Jews and Anne’s father, along with some of his former coworkers, began preparing a secret hiding place for Anne’s family.
On July 5, 1942 , Anne’s sister received her deportation orders. The next day (just three and half weeks after Anne began her diary which had been a gift for her thirteenth birthday), Anne’s family went into hiding. Joining them were a family of three and a dentist whose Gentile wife did not have to go into hiding. Her diary, which spans the next two years, relates her struggles with the problems and joys of adolescence which she endured under the most bizarre of circumstances and in the midst of the horrors going on in the outside world.
The last entry in her diary is August 1, 1944 . Three days later, the Gestapo invaded the Secret Annexe where Anne and the others were hiding and all of its occupants were taken to concentration camps. Of the eight, only Anne’s father survived. Anne died at the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp in Germany in either late February or early March 1945. Two months later, the war in Europe ended.
Several months later, Anne’s father, Otto Frank, returned to Amsterdam hoping to find that his family had survived. He soon learned they hadn’t. He was given Anne’s diary, sketches, and short stories. They had been rescued and kept safe by Miep Gies, who had helped to hide the Franks.
After he slightly edited it, Mr. Frank published Anne’s diary as a memorial to his family and it was an immediate bestseller. To date, the diary has sold 25 million copies. It has also been made into an award-winning play, motion picture, and TV movie. Anne Frank’s diary is so well-written that it is believed that had she been allowed to live, she would have been one of the most talented writers of her generation. Today, her diary is in nearly every library in the United States . “The Works of Anne Frank”, which include her short stories, can be found in many libraries as well.
Anne died at the age of 15. Her father lived to the age of 91 dying in Switzerlandin August 1980. After the war, he had married a woman who was also a concentration camp survivor and whose daughter had known Anne.
Although all of the members of the Secret Annexe have now died, Anne Frank’s diary lives on as a testament to the human spirit and one girl’s unending belief in the goodness of humanity in the midst of one of history’s most tragic times.
Kathy is a social worker, graduate student, and free-lance writer. Her work has appeared in “Proclaim!”, “Devo’Zine”, “The Secret Place”, “Evangel”, “Contemporary Christian Music Magazine”, “HiCall”, “Teens Today”, “Affaire de Coeur”, “Freeway”, and “The Lutheran Witness”. Currently, she is writing a novel entitled Pretty Lady . She has had a deep interest in women’s history since she was in high school.