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The Diary of a Young Girl

by Anne Frank

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Life in Germany had become difficult by 1929, when Anne Frank was born to a Jewish family. Poverty, unemployment, and dissatisfaction with the government caused increased numbers to join the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, commonly known as the Nazi Party. Its leader, Adolf Hitler, believed in the superiority of the German race and blamed Jews for the country’s problems. By 1933, democracy in Germany had ceased to exist and a campaign of anti-Semitism had begun. Otto Frank decided to move his family to the Netherlands, a country of religious tolerance. Germany invaded the Netherlands in May, 1940.

In June, 1942, Anne celebrated her thirteenth birthday and received a diary, the perfect outlet for her active mind. This diary eventually allowed readers an insight into the cultural and personal identity of a perceptive adolescent who recorded factual accounts, feelings, and fears. Less than a month later, the Franks were forced to go into hiding, and Anne’s writings continued in the secret annex behind Otto Frank’s offices.

Eventually, four more people joined the Franks in the hiding place. It was difficult, as privacy was lacking, fear of discovery constant, and nerves always on edge. Anne was still a typical adolescent; she studied, read, and struggled. The struggle involved maturing, acquiring self-confidence, and wrestling with depression. Additionally she was confused, unable to comprehend the emotional suffering of everyone in hiding. Anxiety plagued her and the sensitivity of a thirteen-year-old was sharpened. She wrote: “Sometimes I believe that God wants to try me, both now and later on; I must become good through my own efforts.”

Anne’s writing consoled and comforted her, recording the changing emotions of an adolescent. Trying to be positive, she states, “[S]o the radio with its miraculous voice helps us to keep our morale and to say again ‘Chins up, stick it out, better times will come!’” As time progressed, she became more philosophical. Remembering her life before persecution, she felt as if another person lived it, imploring: “Oh, if only the black circle could recede and open the way for us!” Then in March, 1944: “When shall I finally untangle my thoughts, when shall I find peace and rest within myself again?”

Anne Frank was deprived of a normal life and of the opportunity to become the journalist she aspired to be. She believed that the suffering of the Jews would help them emerge stronger. The occupants of the secret annex were found by German police. In March, 1945, two months before the liberation of Holland, Anne Frank died in the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen.

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