Now, more than ever, I am finding myself thinking back to the words and ideas of Anne Frank in The Diary of a Young Girl. During World War II, Anne Frank kept a diary while in hiding, which her father later published and released as a book. Anne Frank’s Diary is not a novel or a tale of the imagination. It is the diary kept by a young Jewish girl for the two years she was forced to remain in hiding by the Nazi persecution of the Jews of Europe. Between June 1942 and August 1944, from Anne’s thirteenth birthday until shortly after her fifteenth birthday, Anne Frank recorded her feelings, her emotions, and her thoughts, as well as the events that happened to her, in the diary which her father had given her as a birthday present.
The Diary is many things at one and the same time. It is an amusing, enlightening, and often moving account of the process of adolescence, as Anne describes her thoughts and feelings about herself and the people around her, the world at large, and life in general. It is an accurate record of the way a young girl grows up and matures, in the very special circumstances in which Anne found herself throughout the two years during which she was in hiding. And it is also a vividly terrifying description of what it was like to be a Jew — and in hiding — at a time when the Nazis sought to kill all the Jews of Europe.
While it would be ignorant to try and equate our experiences and circumstances to hers, reading this book offers the opportunity to reflect on our lives and hers, and to find the aspects of human experience that link us all together. Besides the commonalities illustrated by this book, it also highlights our privilege and the differences between our situation and hers. To read The Diary of a Young Girl is to disappear into another world completely and to live a life vicariously, making it a book that will allow you to escape our own.