“I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.”
Annelies Marie ‘Anne’ Frank wrote these words to her imaginary friend, Kitty, in a red checkered diary on 12th of June, in the year 1942. The diary was a gift from her parents Edith and Otto Frank on her thirteenth birthday. Little did she know that day, that the diary would make her live forever, comfort and support all the little girls struggling to pick their lives up and go on with a smile on their faces.
Born in the age that saw dramatic changes in the German society in the outskirts of Frankfurt, Anne Frank saw her family struggle in a society that wished for Jewish blood. Anne recalls in her diary that her father immigrated to Holland in 1933 and later in 1934, her family moved to Amsterdam to start afresh.
The happy and harmony in the society changed and fear started settling in, in every family that had immigrated to Amsterdam, Netherlands when the Nazi army invaded Netherlands after defeating the Dutch army in May 1940. The world turned upside-down for the Frank family when Anne’s older sister, Margot Frank was sent summons to report to a Nazi work camp in Germany.
Otto Frank worked in a company that produced pectin, which was used in jams. A small empty space, known famously as the ‘Secret Annex’, behind a movable book shelf carefully hid the Frank family along with Otto Frank’s business partner, Hermann van Pels, his wife Auguste and son, Peter. Kleiman, Kugler, Jan, Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl, who were Otto’s employees stood as windows and doors to the outside world, smuggling food and information to Anne and her company.
Things remained the same for two years, Franks and van Pels still lived like rats hidden in a dark-damp place, scared of the big trampling Nazi feet.
August 4, 1944 turned out to be Anne Frank’s most unfortunate day when four Dutch and one German Nazi stormed the Secret Annex and shipped the residents to a concentration camp, Camp Westerbork in northeastern Netherlands.The Franks were then transferred to the Auschwitz death camp where Otto Frank was separated from his wife Edith and two daughters, Margot and Anne, but even then, Anne’s woes seemed to have no end. Anne and Margot were transferred to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where both the sisters died of Typhus, separated from both their parents.
Anne was a tender fifteen year old girl, when she died. But her writings in the diary showed a strong, bright woman who had the courage, nothing short of a lioness.All through her tough times, Anne had her diary and the imaginary friend who lived in the diary to provide her a safe space to express herself.
Otto Frank, who was the only one among the Franks’ immediate family who survived the concentration camps, published the Dutch version of the diary in the year 1947. In the year 1952, the diary was published in English language under the name, ‘The diary of a young girl’. The book received a lot of criticism and popularity. In 1955, the book was adapted into a play and then in 1959, a movie. Every version of young Anne Frank’s diary has resonated with the souls of the world till date.
Anne Frank’s house, her life, her diary stand tall even today, speaking about exploitation, fighting against Semitism and holding on to a twig of courage in the flood of insanity.
Anne stands as a force of holding back on to the true spirit of strength in times of extreme darkness, still guiding young minds out of despair and helping them to move on, speak up, think and have opinions about everything that is happening around them.
“People can tell you to shut up, but they can’t keep you from having an opinion”