I am not related to Anne Frank, but her story is one that, while I cannot relate to personally, nevertheless touches me deeply. Anne, like another woman who I have long respected, Corrie ten Boom, went through some of the deepest forms of hatred there can possibly exist in this world. Anne was a Jewish girl, just turning 13 on this day, June 12, 1942, and Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch Christian woman who helped as many Jewish people as she could during the ugliness that was Hitler’s reign, and that would eventually take Anne’s life. The two women never met in person, to my knowledge, but while Anne may never have heard of Corrie, I’m certain that Corrie heard of Anne. The plight of the Jewish people touched Corrie ten Boom deeply too…deeply enough that she and her family risked their lives trying to hide the Jewish people from Hitler’s men, and act that eventually precipitated their capture and imprisonment, because it was against the law to help the Jewish people.
Hitler hated the Jewish people, and in reality, was probably afraid of them…hence his need to rid himself of them. Hitler was insane. During the time that Hitler was taking the Jewish people prisoner, and killing them, a young girl named Anne Frank was turning 13, and was given a diary for her birthday. Having been a young girl with a diary, I can relate to the excitement of getting a diary in which to record your deepest thoughts, hopes, dreams, and secrets. I can also say that at that time, I felt like my life was relatively boring, and so writing in my diary quickly became a chore, and was soon forgotten. I have to wonder if Anne’s diary might have suffered the same fate…had things been different. Most kids get pretty bored with writing down their thoughts everyday, but Anne’s life was about to change forever. She was about to spend the next two years in hiding in a secret room in her father’s office, along with four other families, dependent on loving Christians for their every need.
The Nazis were coming, and they were determined to kill every Jewish person they could. Anne and her family had to go into hiding. And so it was, that a young girl trapped behind a wall that led to a secret room, where silence was essential for survival, began to write down her thoughts and experiences in what would become the most read diary in history. Anne would not live to become an adult, to marry, or to have children, and yet, she would go on to become one of the most well known children in history. My great aunt, Bertha Schumacher Hallgren said that anyone could become a famous writer, if they just wrote about the events of their life, and colored it with some information about the time in history in which they lived. That is exactly what Anne Frank did. I have to think that she assumed that no one would care about her little life spent in hiding, much less about how a 13 year old girl felt about it, but after she died of Typhus in a prison camp called Bergen-Belsen, just one month before the end of the war, they did care. The Christian friends found her diary after their capture, and kept it in the hope of giving it back to her. Her father lived through that horrible time, and the diary was returned to him. He had it published in her honor in 1947. The book was called “The Diary of a Young Girl,” and has been made into a movie too, because in the end, it told the world about a very ugly time in history.