One of the most Courageous women in history, Anne Frank will be an Inspiration for us women within the pages of history --- for as long as we have the “History Book.”
Born in the German city, Frankfurt am Main, in 1929, this beautiful little girl was named Annelies Marie = “Anne.” At 4 years of age, living in Amsterdam (Netherlands), the Nazis gained control over Germany. As the whole family were Jewish, they lost their citizenship in 1941 and became stateless. Persecution towards the Jews increased in 1942, and the family went in hiding.
The concealed rooms were behind a bookcase in the building where Anne’s father worked. From 1942 until 1944, the whole family hid in these rooms. In August, 1944, the Frank family were arrested by the Gestapo, when they were then transported to concentration camps, Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, where Anne and her sister and mother died.
It is her time in hiding which Anne wrote down in her diary ( a birthday present) and which we can read today, finding Courage and Inspiration within these pages.
The Diary of Anne Frank
Anne “didn’t just keep a diary!” She wrote tales in it and planned to publish the diary about her time in the ‘Secret Annex.’ Otto Frank, her father, made sure his daughter’s wish came true.
Anne addressed many of her “letters” to: “Dear Kitty.” Who was “Dear Kitty”? Kitty made her first appearance in Anne’s diary on 22nd September, 1942. The family had been in hiding for 2 months in the Secret Annex. Life in hiding was extremely difficult but, eventually, a routine developed and for Anne, writing in her diary became a very important part of that routine.
Anne wanted to ‘correspond’ with someone, no doubt missing her childhood friends, so invented several fictional characters (Kitty, Pop, Phien, Conny, Lou, Marjon, Jettje and Emmy). In Anne’s mind, these ‘characters’ formed a circle of friends. The ‘friends’ were very real to Anne and Kitty soon became her favourite: “Dear Kitty --- I like writing to you most.”
Anne fantasied about skating and playing in a film with Kitty in neutral Switzerland (this was in October 1942). Kitty was described as ‘a nice 14-year-old girl’ and said that they were becoming ‘close friends.’ Kitty slowly but surely emerged as Anne’s best friend.
It seemed that Anne’s imagination kept her sane during a very difficult time in her life.
Anne was given a diary for her 13th birthday (it was something that she really wanted) and her parents let her pick out the diary she wanted. Anne started writing in this diary on 14th June, 1942. She writes mainly in Dutch in her diary, but also used German and English words. This diary was one of the first things that Anne packed when she and her family went into hiding. The last entry in this diary was on 5th December, 1942, after having been in hiding for 5 months.
What Was In The Diary?
The diary was an autograph book which was bound with red-and-white checkered cloth, with a small lock on the front.
On 20th June, 1942, Anne lists many of the restrictions placed upon Dutch Jews at the time.
Anne writes about her relationships with member of her family. She considered herself close to her father. Anne was fairly close to her sister, Margot and wrote: “Margot’s much nice --- she’s not nearly so catty these days and is becoming a real friend. She no longer thinks of me as a little baby.”
Anne often wrote about her mother and the difficult relationship they had. She is very ‘frank’ in her diary, writing at one time: “She’s not a mother to me” but then feeling ashamed of her feelings later: “Anne, it is really you who mentioned hate, Oh Anne, how could you?” In time, Anne understood the differences between herself and her mother, and began to treat her mother with more respect.
Hoping to one day to be able to return to school, Anne and Margot carried on with their studies in hiding. Anne spent a lot of her time in reading, studying and writing in her diary. As well as writing down events, Anne also explained about how she felt, her beliefs and dreams and ambitions.
Anne Never Gave Up!
A passage from Anne’s diary: “I finally realized that I must do my schoolwork to keep from being ignorant, because that’s what I want! I know I can write --- but it remains to be seen whether I really have talent ---.”
Today, we know that Anne had real talent.
“I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met.”
“When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that’s a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer?”
The Arrest and Concentration Camps
The Franks were arrested on 4th August, 1944, and were interrogated. They were sent to the Punishment Barracks for hard labour --- because they had been in hiding, the Frank family were considered to be ‘criminals.’
In September, 1944, they were deported to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, where they were split apart as a family. Anne, along with the other women, was stripped naked, disinfected, had her head shaved and was tattooed with a number. Anne was forced into hard labour during the day and forced into tiny, overcrowded barracks, during the night.
Anne and Margot became ill and were sent to the rat-infested infirmary. On 28th October, 1944, Anne, with many others, were sent to Bergen-Belsen. Her mother, Edith, was one of the few left behind and starved to death. Anne and Margot died during a typhus epidemic at the camp.
Only Otto, the father, survived.
Even whilst in the concentration camps, Anne showed courage and love, finding and hiding food to give to others, and always trying to find hope.
If you want to read about and find Inspiration, read “Anne Frank’s Diary.” At such a young age, Anne faced death --- head on --- and never let such evil ‘taint’ her beautiful personality.
As Anne herself wrote: “I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
(I got most of this information from Wikipedia and “Anne Frank’s House")