“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.”
Anne Frank could have easily become another victim of the Holocaust if not for her diary, which gave people new insights on life during the Nazi occupation.
Anne Frank was born on 12 June 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany. Her family subsequently moved to Holland, where her father ran a successful business.
Anne and her family went into hiding in some concealed rooms when the Nazis occupied the Netherlands. Her diary was a present to her for her 13th birthday and it dictates her life until 1 August 1944. It tells of the difficulties of living in the secret rooms, her optimism and positive attitude towards life.
For example, her family was joined by Fritz Pfeffer, a German dentist, whom she felt to be insufferable after sharing a room with him. She also grew closer and more understanding towards her own family members. Previously, she felt ‘contempt’ for her mother. Later, she realised that their differences resulted from misunderstandings that her as much her fault as her mother’s. She henceforth began to treat her mother with respect. Anne also became more mature and wrote of more abstract things such as how she defined human nature.
However, following a tip from an anonymous person, the concealed rooms were stormed by a group of German uniformed police. The families hidden there were taken to be interrogated. A few days later, they were transported to a camp for hard labour before being separated from Otto Frank, Anne’s father.
While Anne was in the labour camp, she still displayed a confident and caring nature. When she saw children being led to the gas chambers, she became withdrawn and tearful. She managed to obtain extra bread rations for her family. Later, she and her sister Margot contracted scabies. Her mother stopped eating, saving every morsel of food and passed it to them through a hole at the infirmary wall. Anne lived, and was relocated to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp with Margot. Sadly, a few days after her Margot’s death, Anne died, possibly from an outbreak of typhoid fever.
After the war, Otto Frank, who survived, discovered Anne’s diary in their secret hideout. Her diary was officially published in the United Kingdom, 1952.
Anne’s story about the lives of people during the Holocaust taught us about the destructive forces of war and Anne’s extraordinary courage and strength in the face of so many struggles.
Whenever we are facing any setbacks or struggles in life, we should always remember The Diary of Anne Frank and its inspirational author.
[Anne Frank, May 1942]
By: Soh Wen Shuen, 2W (1W 2013)