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Knowledge of our past is our inheritance. What we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies...

Monday, August 5, 2013

Historical Tidbit: The Diary of Anne Frank

Did you know that August 4th (Yesterday, not today. Unfortunately I'm a day late!) is the anniversary of the day Anne Frank was captured? 

Anne and her family hid in a closed-off portion of an Amsterdam warehouse along with another Jewish family and a single Jewish man. They went into hiding in 1942 and received aid from Christian friends. Twenty-five months of successful hiding let them hear about the Allied landing at Normandy, and they had hopes that Holland would soon be liberated. From the time Anne was thirteen years old, she kept a meticulous diary about the day-to-day goings-on and her experiences in the warehouse.

On August 4th, 1944, given away by some unknown informant, they were discovered by the Gestapo. All were shipped off to concentration camps, and the entire family eventually made their way to Auschwitz. Anne and her sister Margot were eventually sent to another camp in Germany where they both contracted typhus and died. The camp was liberated less than two months later.

Otto, Anne's father, was the only one of the group to survive the war. When he returned home and reconnected with an old co-worker who'd helped hide him and his family all those months, she handed him his daughter's diary, which she'd found in tact after the Nazi raid. Otto later published it in it's native Dutch, but it's since been translated into more than 50 languages and is still read around the world today.

Now, I remember reading this book in junior high and find it a bit boring. It's not surprising, given that this isn't some well-plotted story. It's the whimsical musings of a teenage girl who, while in hiding, had very little to occupy her attention and even less to actually do.

However, her diary is also a rare look into what it was really like for many Jewish families hiding during this time of terror and oppression. It's tragic to know that neither Anne nor most of her family survived the war. Her diary is a rare gem and should continue to be read so that we never forget the kinds of tragedy that happen when people are oppressed for their religion.

Remember, knowledge of our past is our inheritance. What we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies.

Have you read The Diary of Anne Frank?


  1. It's a very touching book, isn't it? I also found the book, "The Green Sweater" about a Holocaust survivor who lived in the sewage pipe system underground to escape death a testimony of survival and hope.

  2. I haven't read the book, but I find those stories so inspiring. Facing evil with good.