She was only 15 when she died, but Anne Frank earned posthumous fame and renown for her diary, published in 1947 as a haunting memoir of the Holocaust. “Diary Of A Young Girl” is still read in schools today, and the profound words of young Frank, a German-Jewish girl forced into hiding during the Holocaust, continue to resonate with readers of all ages all over the world. On Friday, Frank would have turned 86, and so in honor of her birthday, here are a few of the ideas, in her own words, for which she is remembered.
The Frank family lived in hiding in an attic in Amsterdam for two years, but was eventually betrayed by someone who remains unknown to this day. They were arrested Aug. 4, 1944, and Anne Frank died seven months later of typhus in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Of the eight people who went into hiding in that secret Amsterdam attic, including the Frank family, only Otto Frank, Anne’s father, survived.
Despite the suffering and persecution she and her family endured, Frank somehow remained compassionate and hopeful. She was also at times prescient about what her diary might one day become. But above all, she displayed astonishing maturity and grace for a young girl forced into hiding during the Holocaust.
1. "It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart. It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death.”
2. “I’ve found that there is always some beauty left – in nature, sunshine, freedom, in yourself; these all can help.”
3. “In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.”
4. “But feelings can't be ignored, no matter how unjust or ungrateful they seem.”
5. “People can tell you to keep your mouth shut, but that doesn't stop you from having your own opinion.”
6. “Women should be respected as well! Generally speaking, men are held in great esteem in all parts of the world, so why shouldn't women have their share?...Women, who struggle and suffer pain to ensure the continuation of the human race, make much tougher and more courageous soldiers than all those big-mouthed freedom-fighting heroes put together!”
7. "Mr. Bolkestein, the Cabinet Minister, speaking on the Dutch broadcast from London, said that after the war a collection would be made of diaries and letters dealing with the war. Of course, everyone pounced on my diary."
8. “I wish to go on living even after my death.”