Is Anne Frank's diary a commentary on war and its terrible impact on human life?

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brodertj eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl tells the story of a Jewish family and their neighbors attempting to hide from the Nazis in occupied Amsterdam. By itself, the diary is not a commentary on war's terrible impact on human life. Yet when studied alongside the history of World War II and the Holocaust, the diary presents a clear picture of how these two events destroyed the lives of millions.

The reason that the diary, by itself, is not a good commentary on war is due to its limited point of view. Hiding in the secret annex, Anne is rarely able to learn about the progress of the war and/or what has happened to their Jewish friends and neighbors deported by the Nazis. Though Anne makes it a point to record important information, such as the family's joy when hearing about D-Day, the reader does not learn much about the war or its horrors through the diary alone.

When reading the diary as part of studying the Holocaust, though, the book takes on new meaning. Anne Frank's own death just two weeks before the British liberated the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp adds to the diary's emotional impact. Also, the diary has taken on special significance as it is one of the few records of its type from the Holocaust. Anne Frank may have been only one of millions of Jews who died in the Holocaust, but her kindness, wit, and humanity lead the reader to realize that every person killed by the Nazis was just as devastating a loss as the death of this one girl.

Read the study guide:
The Diary of a Young Girl

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