When it comes to narrating personal horrors during the time of the holocaust, Anne Frank’s diary provides a different view point in response to the anti-Semitic fervor that had shocked the nation during that time. It recounts two years of a 13 year old girl’s life when she was forced into hiding with two families which included her own as well. The hiding place commonly known as Secret Annexe was originally known as Het Achterbuis which simply meant the house behind referring to the back of the office building where her father, Otto Frank used to work.
On her 13th birthday, Anne Frank was gifted a diary by her parents and the diary which she fondly referred to as Dear Kitty became her constant companion throughout the two years spent in Het Achterbuis.
Funnily enough even though I knew what the title of the book was, I was still expecting something different. I didn’t realize that I would be, in fact, just actually reading someone else’s diary. It was like having a secret key to a lock that grants you private access to someone else’s thoughts. You are forgiven to read about her feelings and her intimate moments; you are permitted to eavesdrop on her opinions and judgments passed on about the people living with her.
The book was written with such simplicity yet with a commanding usage of words for a thirteen year old which manages to grip you even if all Anne is doing is describing the doorway entrance. While reading the book, you start to picture yourself living in your own little Secret Annexe and wondering how did a group of eight Jews manage to survive over 24 months without so much so as a trickle of news from the world outside. But then again, if the world outside isn’t so friendly; I guess you don’t have another option.
For the first time in my life, I cried after finishing a book. I cried like a baby. I cried because it hurt so much to see how the life of the young girl finally ended, shy of sixteen. I cried because she had become someone I knew personally and it pained me to find out her devastating end.
Her last entry was simple; you don’t see it coming because neither does she. She had to abandon her diary abruptly because two years later, Secret Annexe wasn’t a secret anymore. She was taken away and forced to leave behind her Dear Kitty. After her death, her memories lived on through her diary and her wish to continue living after death was ultimately fulfilled.
“Out of the millions that were silenced, this voice no louder than a child’s whisper has outlasted the shouts of the murderers and has soared above the voices of time” – Ernst Schnabel
Grab this book and read it intently because a young girl once captured her soul into it. If not a bucketful of tears, I can guarantee you that she will find a place in your heart.