Published by Bantam on January 1st 1970
Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank's remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.
In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the "Secret Annexe" of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death.
In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.
And so our Read-a-long Diaries come to an end. We didn’t have many participants, but I, at least, have really enjoyed myself. Thank you to Ely for pushing me to read this book, because it’s grand.
I thought I knew the story of Anne Frank.
I knew the story of how she went into hiding with her family for a few years and wrote everything down in a journal. I knew of the fact that she was captured right at the end of the war, when hope was high and peace was nigh, only to die of typhus a mere few weeks before her concentration camp would be liberated. All of this, I knew, I’d been told many a time in history class.
As it turns out, Anne’s story goes so much deeper than that; I’d only grazed the bare surface. Anne’s story is a revelation, and I was surprised by how much I could relate to her. Anne was and sounded very young at the beginning of her diary, but over time she grows so intelligent and self-evaluating and she was so very wise way beyond her years at the mere age of fifteen. I marvelled at how snarky she was; I loved that she wanted to be a writer as well; I related far too strongly with her at times.
“This week I’ve been reading a lot and doing little work. That’s the way things ought to be.”
I have agoraphobia, and when I was at my worst, I could barely leave the house for two minutes. On top of that, I was living in this tiny dorm in Antwerp, and oftentimes I thought I would go mad; felt like I could run up the walls. So I recognised a lot of myself in Anne’s anxiety and depression at being cooped up like a bird in a cage. I could feel her fear seeping through the pages, could feel the monotony addling her brain, found my own thoughts echoed in her words. I definitely needed to take breaks while reading, because sometimes it became far too real.
“Ordinary people don’t know how much books can mean to someone who’s cooped up.”
At one point in the book, Anne wishes to live on, even beyond her death. How she would laugh if only she knew that her diary had been read by so many people, that the Achterhuis/Secret Annexe in Amsterdam gets a million visits a year, that she’s practically the most famous child of the twentieth century.
I am so incredibly moved that words can hardly express what I’m feeling. It’s a deep and powerful feeling, an emotional one, and I think that Anne will remain with me for a long time to come.