Guest Author - Nicole Pickens
Most of us recall our introduction to Anne Frank while attending school as young children. Her diary was and remains a required read for middle school students. She unwittingly recorded one of the most horrible historical episodes of the twentieth century in a diary she received on her thirteenth birthday for 25 months. It gave an intimate account of her family’s victimization while she continued to grow up and wrestle with her teenage years.
She was born in Germany in 1929 as Annelies Marie Frank, of Jewish ancestry. Adolf Hitler established power with the Nazi Regime that led to her family fleeing to the Netherlands for their safety when Anne was three years old. They didn’t think their country of refuge would be invaded, forcing them into hiding. Anne and her family were captured and placed in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in northern Germany, where Anne died at age sixteen. The only family member to survive was her father Otto Frank.
Otto Frank gave permission to publish the diary in 1947 to honor the memory of Anne’s optimism and short life. The book was originally titled, “Diary of a Young Girl” and was later adapted into a play. It was part of a collection of works that circulated to honor the victims that started in the Netherlands and continued to expose the horrific realities of Nazi Germany.
History is recorded by the use of many forms and mediums. This creates a fuller picture to look at or study. Yet, it is very easy to believe in the inaccuracies of history books whom are sometimes accused of exaggeration. Nazi Germany was no exception. Many people challenged the validity of Hitler’s activities because his propaganda camouflaged the truth of his movement.
Anne Frank’s diary gave the public validation of the Holocaust and helped to shed light on how the horror developed. We see her world as she saw it, as she hide and grew up in the shadow of unprecedented cruelty. The diary is not necessarily a short work of non-fiction. It is a reflection of a very short life.
The diary of Anne Frank has undergone a revision. The new edition ignited a controversy because it inserted previously eliminated language that didn’t illustrate Anne’s teenage rebellion, feminine development or her strong opinions of her family members and roommates. This was done by her father Otto to preserve her girlish memory. The revised version adds emphasis to her puberty with its ebbs and flows, how she awakened as a normal teen in an abnormal environment.
Anne Frank’s diary revealed the intimacy of the Holocaust to readers around the globe. Through her we mourn and voice our outrage for others like her. She has been immortalized as a courageous victim, a scribe and a teenager.