30 Sep,2016 By Jagabond
Anne Frank was an accomplished author, and a survivor of the Nazi onslaught of her homeland. She endured to inspire millions with her words, and to expose the horrors of fascism. For decades she made the rounds speaking at universities all over the world, reminding a new generation of young adults that their ideals and actions could help prevent future genocides.
I very much wish this were true – but it didn’t happen. September is the month that Anne was taken to Auschwitz, and thus began the man-made final chapter of her life.
She became an enduring example of the evils of Nazism, for what was taken from the world. While the Nazis were pursuing their sadistic final solution, Anne and her family confined themselves to a house in Amsterdam. Given the diary by her father, she documented their years of hiding as the Nazis infested the Netherlands and the rest of Europe searching for Jews. When her father found the writings after the war, he was shocked at what his daughter wrote, particularly the level of detail in discussing her feelings. Knowing that Anne always wanted to become an author, he worked to get it published. Over the years, ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ has become one of the mostly widely known books in the world.
During her family’s isolation she had a keen awareness of her situation. She knew the enemy, and she knew the plan. Germans were going after Jews, just like what had happened throughout history. I never understood why, but history doesn’t lie. Even when going back to BC times, there are stories of the Jewish people facing adversity. She was able to turn this into a positive, emphasizing the strength of her people as they faced these threats.
I try to imagine what it was like to stay trapped in a house for as long as she was. She was a lover of nature, as she felt it brought her closer to her spirituality. I think her imagination and memories of this, coupled with a longing to venture outdoors again one day, helped keep her going.
I wouldn’t have blamed her if she lost some faith in humanity, witnessing all that was going on around her. I’ve met Israelis who have endured attacks for decades, and they sometimes lose a bit of their empathy. In the face of her grim reality, she still kept a positive view of humans, which I’m not sure I could’ve done.
Hope is a powerful thing, as it can keep people believing when all seems lost. This is also what the Nazis tried to destroy, with their death camps that either killed the person physically, or murdered their spirit.
Maintaining a positive outlook can often be the difference in making a happy life, and somehow she was able to not lose this quality. Again, no one would’ve blamed her for focusing on the negative, or the ‘misery’ as she put it. The fact she resisted pessimism and found a reason to keep moving forward is what makes her story so special.
In some alternate timeline, I’m sure Anne went on to be a prolific writer, with millennials still ordering her books from Amazon. At Auschwitz, Anne’s head was shaved and she was given the standard brand indicating her ‘number’, and after months of labor, she perished from disease along with her sister. She once wrote that “I wish to go on living even after my death”. Through her words that continue to inspire, she has. Rest in peace, and we will remember to never forget.