Truth be told, something urged me to write this piece.
I’ll wait until the month of June, around what would have been Anne Frank’s 92nd birthday, I initially told myself. It will be a tribute to her life—one that was so brutally and horrifically stolen from her, long before she truly had a chance to make her mark, due to the senseless hatred and rabid anti-Semitism that ensued during her time here on Earth.
The impulse kept knocking. I could not ignore or put it off any longer. The compulsion only grew larger, nearly consuming me.
Three months ago, back in December, I felt called to reread Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Once again, I could not explain why I felt so called to do this.
Then, during the beginning of Hanukkah week, I typed her name into the search engine and discovered that the Anne Frank Memorial in Boise, Idaho had been vandalized and tagged only a day earlier with nine swastika stickers. On these stickers included the words: “We are everywhere.” As I read this news, my stomach churned, and my face flushed with rage.
How could anyone do this? Haven’t people learned from former events in history?
With the rise in white supremacist attitudes in the era of Trump, it is clear that anti-Semitism remains, to this day, alive and intact.
To those of us who live and breathe only love and acceptance for all of humankind, reveling in and cherishing the diversity on this planet, it is our moral responsibility to rise above these atrocities and to use our voices to speak for those whom, for whatever reason, cannot speak for themselves.
So, I am here to voice my discontent with anti-Semitism and bring to life one of six million of its victims. In doing this, I hope to highlight the remarkable spirit of this young girl who was so far advanced above and beyond her tender years.
Annelise Marie Frank (June 12, 1929-February or March 1945) is perhaps the most well-known and commonly discussed victim of the Holocaust. She was born the second daughter and youngest child of Otto and Edith Hollander Frank in Frankfurt, Germany.
On July 6, 1942, she and her family went into hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam for approximately two years and 35 days. Together, they lived with another family in an attic apartment, in constant fear that, at any given point in time, they would be discovered and subsequently captured. Her elder sister, Margot, received a letter ordering her to report to work in a labor camp that summer.
While they were living in the attic apartment, the families were forbidden to venture outside and were also urged, in an attempt to be discreet, to remain quiet during all hours in the daytime.
Anne had received a diary from her father on her 13th birthday in June of that year and survived those long, dark, and anxiety-ridden days writing in it. With an insight and awareness that so far exceeded her chronological age, she described, in vivid detail, their daily life in hiding, the political climate of her time, and of course, her innermost thoughts, her hopes, and her dreams.
She aspired to become a journalist and then, after that, a famous writer. She was described by those who knew her as a bright, articulate, and outspoken child with an impeccable talent for the written word. She was 13 years old when she and her family went into hiding.
Not too many of us could easily tolerate living in an attic, in tight quarters, day after day after day, trapped and unable to go outside, even just to feel the warmth of the sun on our backs or take in some fresh, clean air.
Anne Frank’s famous diary inscription reads:
“I hope I will be able to confide everything to you as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.”
Later in her diary, Anne also expressed that she didn’t think she nor anyone else would be interested in the musings of a 13-year-old schoolgirl.
Oh, how wrong she was!
To this day, Anne’s words continue to touch the hearts and minds of so many others like me.
Anne Frank is and should be an inspiration to us all. She is an example of miraculous innocence and courage in the face of adversity and persecution.
She was only one of six million, and her life was so ruthlessly snatched from her simply because she was Jewish.
She committed no crime, and yet like countless others, was thrown into a concentration camp, where many people were either gassed or died of starvation or infection due to the deplorable conditions to which they were subjected.
Her body was thoughtlessly thrown into a mass grave, and all of her hopes, dreams, and potential were buried right along with her.
In these concentration camps, numerous children’s lives and families were destroyed, all because they were Jewish.
Anne Frank’s legacy, via her words in her diary, continues to inspire me and never ceases to tug at my emotional heartstrings.
Here are 13 excerpts that, time and time again, simultaneously inspire me as well as bring tears to my eyes each time I read them:
1. “It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them because, in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
2. How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
3. “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
4. “I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.”
5. “Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.”
6. “No one has ever become poor by giving.”
7. “Whoever is happy will make others happy.”
8. “We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.”
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 don’t want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death!”
11. “Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness. People are just people, and all people have flaws and shortcomings, but all of us are born with a basic goodness.”
12. “Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The 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!”
13. “In the long-run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.”