We need to talk about Anne Frank.
Look, I know what you’re thinking. But Ely, we’re aware that your personality is 95% Anne Frank nerd. We know that Inge has earned 800 friend points for reading the diary. We saw you retweet that post by Lara five times. We get it. You love Anne Frank.
I’m glad you’ve realised all that, but unless you’ve read The Diary of a Young Girl then we’re going to have a problem. I get it, not everyone is interested in non-fiction, and I am absolutely one of those people, but when it comes to Anne Frank, you’re wrong.
Some of you might think I’m being a little over the top here, but I wanted to share with you two things that have happened to me.
I was getting ready to travel to Europe in May last year. I was doing an exchange through University, so I had to go to a meeting/lecture. At the start, we did one of those ice-breaker games in the group of about fifty of so. We had to talk to people about who we were, what we studied and when we were going on exchange. At one point, I was talking to this girl about where we wanted to visit in Europe. We both agreed that we wanted to go to Amsterdam, and I mentioned that the Anne Frank House was an absolute must for me. Before I tell you her response, I want you to know that this girl was going to study in The Netherlands, and she seemed pretty intelligent. Then she said to me ‘Who’s Anne Frank?’
Flash forward to December. My dad and I went on a coach tour through Europe together when he flew over to see me at Christmas. The first night was spent in Amsterdam (maybe my favourite night of the trip). Included in the trip was a canal dinner cruise. Two of my favourite things in this world are boats and foods…not necessarily together, and I have no idea why but I’m a boat person. Anyway, I was pretty excited. I was also really gutted that we wouldn’t have time to go to the Anne Frank museum, and even more upset by the fact I physically couldn’t have made it up to the Annexe. Imagine my excitement when our boat passing by the Anne Frank House. Across the table, the two lovely fellow Aussies that dad and I had attached ourselves too earlier hear the Dutch tour guide point out the house, and they turn to each other and say ‘Do you know Anne Frank?’ My dad, without even turning to see my shocked face, says ‘It’s your time to shine, Google’.
That’s why we need to talk about Anne Frank. Because no one should ever have to ask who she is. In my opinion, her diary is one of the most important pieces of literature ever written, and more than that, there is so much people could learn from her. She’s not perfect but any means, but she is a thirteen year old girl hidden away from the world just for being Jewish. She has so much to share about what that was like, and so much more about live in general. Among others, she helped give the victims of the Holocaust a voice.
I read the diary for the first time when I was fifteen. At school, we were studying the Holocaust in both History and French class. I waited weeks with baited breath for even the smallest mention of Anne, just so I could share my feelings. I can’t even begin to explain how big of a deal that is for me—I never spoke in class. Here I was, desperate to talk about this book, desperate to make my voice heard. I never got the chance.
I think it says a lot about the power of this book, if it made the ‘mute’ girl (as I was often called to my face) want to speak. I could go on for hours about the hellish experience I had a school, both at the hands of teachers, students and the education system, but I won’t. I just want to focus on the fact that this book impacted me so much that for the first time, I felt confident enough to speak about something. A thirteen year old girl in 1942 made me feel stronger in myself than anyone in real life ever did, or has since. Maybe now you can start understand why she means so much to me.
If you think that you would never enjoy reading this book, then I should tell you that you’re wrong. If you’re a human being, I don’t see how you could not at least respect Anne. You should know who she is. You should know what happened to her. You shouldn’t stop there. You should know what happened to the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust, and its countless other victims. You shouldn’t let them be forgotten.
I don’t want to live in a world where Anne Frank has been forgotten.
You shouldn’t either.