The Story of Anne Frank
Learning about the Holocaust can be extremely difficult due to the massive amount of information it entails. In addition, the Holocaust was a tragic event on so massive a scale it is hard to emotionally comprehend. Comparison is a common way of better understanding and exploring unknown topics. One further step is to bring the topic to a personal level, so one can actually relate known concepts and individual ideas to any new aspects. In other words, an individual in today’s society will receive a deeper and more thorough understanding of the Holocaust if able to compare with an individual living during the Holocaust. One individual who has made it possible to learn more about the Holocaust on a personal level is Anne Frank.
This young Jewish girl preserved everyday events during the Holocaust in a diary she kept. For two years Anne was hiding from Nazis, and while imprisoned she used her diary for an escape mentally and emotionally. A quote from Eleanor Roosevelt describes her diary the best. "This is a remarkable book. Written by a young girl-and the young are not afraid of telling truth-it is one of the wisest and most moving commentaries on war and its impact on human beings that I have ever read." 1 This diary in every sense of the word is a "gift" given by Anne Frank, to all those who pursue learning of the Holocaust and to those who still await peace and satisfaction within their own hearts.
Anne and her family moved from Germany to Holland even before World War II began. Anne’s father felt it was just as well to turn one’s back on Hitler’s Germany and be secure and protected by their adopted homeland, Holland. 2 Anne was only four when she was introduced to her new home. During the period of time that Anne was four up to her thirteenth birthday numerous outbreaks of public humiliation were cast over many Jews. In one incident Jews had been made to clean out public toilets and to scrub the streets in an orgy of Nazi depravity. 3
On June 12, 1942, Anne’s thirteenth birthday, her parents gave her a small red-and-white plaid diary. Anne recorded her innermost feelings in her diary, which she named "Kitty." Less than a month after receiving her diary, on July 6, 1942, Anne and her family were forced to go into hiding. 4 Impossible for Anne to have any concept of what lie ahead, a very naive, immature child entered the "Secret Annexe" that sixth of July in 1942. The "Secret Annexe" is an English simplification of the Jewish word Het Achterhuis. "Achter means "behind" or "in back of" and huis is Dutch for "house." 5 This is the place that served as shelter for Anne, her sister, Margot, her mother and father, and another family of three for two years.
Anne asked no questions, and obeyed her parents diligently when told she must go into hiding. Parents of this day and age do not receive that kind of unquestioning obedience. As a teenager in America today, one would have to go to great lengths to imagine...