Anne Frank: Her Legacy of Courage During Dangerous Times

                        Anne Frank

By now, almost everybody knows the story of Anne Frank, the girl who gave the world a stirring account of the horror living under Nazi’s rule.

Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl lets us to go back to the period of dread under the notorious army of Hitler and his evil plan to wipe all the Jews in Europe during World War II.

For people who did not know Anne Frank, here’s a background of her life:

She was a Jewish girl born on June 12, 1929 at Frankfurt, Germany to Edith Hollander, an heiress to a thriving industrial business, and Otto Frank, a rich German-Jewish businessman. She had an older sister, Margot.

Otto Frank was conscripted into the military during World War I in service of Imperial Germany, and fought in the Western Front. Before the war ended in 1918 he was promoted a lieutenant.

After the World War I, Otto Frank became a financier in a bank ran by his father, later he ran his own business which saw an expansion in some parts of Germany and The Netherlands.

However, in 1933, Nazi Germany under Hitler began persecuting Jews. Otto Frank had to evacuate his family to The Netherlands for safety.

Seeing things becoming worse for Jews in Europe, Frank planned to bring his family to the United States. He applied for visa and was granted in 1941.

But 10 days later, Germany and Italy declared war against the United States, the US visa was eventually cancelled by authorities.

In 1942, Gestapo, the Nazi police, began the crackdown of Jews to be sent to a labor camp, Frank decided to hide his family into a safety in a three-story building that had a secret attic. Anne Frank called it "Secret Annex" in her diary.

They were joined by other jews later and Otto Frank's non-Jewish helpers and friends sheltered them from Gestapo, supplying them food.

It was in this period that Anne began keeping a diary, recording their daily struggle in the attic, the mental and emotional battle they needed to endure, the support they showed to each other to boost morale during the dangerous time of hiding, her hopes for a better world, her wish to go back to school after the war, and what she thought about the world in general.
But Anne didn't live long to see Europe liberated from Hitler. In August 1944, an informant tipped Gestapo that several Jews were hiding in a secret building. Anne Frank's world was shattered.

They were arrested and were put in a windowless train with other captured Jews and brought to a Dutch camp then to Auschwitz, a Nazi concentration camp in Poland were many Jews perished, either died from malnutrition, hard labor or were gassed in the extermination chamber, during the Nazi holocaust.

            Margot and Anne Frank

In September that year, the Nazi forcibly separated men from women. The sick and weak were directly sent to extermination chamber and killed. Those able, including Otto Frank, were sent to  a different labor camp where atmosphere was almost smelled like death.

Towards October, several women were moved to Bergen-Belsen, another concentration camp in Germany, for hard labor. Margot and Anne were among the selected. Their mother was left behind due to illness, and she died weeks later from starvation.

Anne and Margot suffered malnutrition, illness and exhaustion in the labor camp but still compelled to work.
                   The Frank family

In February 1945, a typus epidemic swept through the concentration camp, more than 17,000 had died including Margot.

Due to lack of healthcare service in the labor camp, Anne died from the epidemic weeks later, just two months before Europe was liberated by the Allies. Anne was 15.

Otto Frank survived the holocaust. In June 1945, he went back to The Netherlands with high hopes that his daughters were among the survivors. He learned of his wife's death when he was still in Poland.

                            Otto Frank

He began his search of his missing daughters but after weeks of getting information from survivors and authorities, Otto Frank learned of their deaths in Belsen.

Anne's diary was discovered by a Dutch friend who helped sheltered the Frank family. She handed it over to Otto Frank in July 1945. He later gave it to a historian for safe keeping.

In 1950, the diary was published and began its journey to a worldwide success. Otto Frank lived long enough to witness the diary published in several languages and became popular throughout the world.

He became his daughter's legacy custodian until his death in 1980 at the age of 91.

The Diary of a Young Girl

The entry of Anne’s diary ended on the night before they were betrayed to the Gestapo. Her father intended it to be kept as a memorial to his family, but one college professor urged him to publish it as a remembrance and stirring account of the innocent life of a young girl trapped in the sadistic world of Nazi.

What I love about this book is how Anne remained hopeful for a better life despite the horror of war and the danger of times.

The positive mindset she had. How she harbored hopes that someday the world will be brighter again, and that  they still could go back to normal,  she still could go back to school.

She was full of life despite adversities. She had faith that despite the terror of the world they lived, people are still good at heart.

This book is very inspirational especially during difficult times. It is filled with hopes of a better life, of a beautiful tomorrow amidst uncertainties.

It also offers beautiful insights how to survive a difficult moment when trapped in extreme isolation. How to find happiness in small things in the darkest hours of our lives.

Anne and her family and her father's friends hid in the attic for two years without stepping outside, facing the constant danger of being discovered by Hitler's notorious army.

In the end it was fate that ultimately decided the course of this young girl's life in the most terrible way. But we can learn from the message of courage, hope and positivism that Anne Frank wanted to convey to the world through her innocence.

That despite the madness of the society and the cruelty of the circumstances, we can still hope for a better world and a beautiful life. That people are still good at heart.

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