In a world where the President of the United States has called Nazi’s “Very fine people,” and anti-Semitic men and women are holding positions of power, it’s time to revisit one of the most prolific memoirs of the horrors of the Holocaust, the Diary of Anne Frank. Had Anne lived, she’d be the same age as Barbara Walters and Christopher Plummer. But she didn’t. She didn’t even make it into adulthood. She was murdered by those very fine Nazi’s Donald Trump is so fond of. Horribly – at just 15 years old. 15.
My grandmother gave me my first copy of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl for my thirteenth birthday. The same age Anne was when her father Otto gave her the now world-renowned diary. She wanted my first taste of the Holocaust to not only be seen through the eyes of someone who experienced it, but also through the eyes of someone I could relate to. Someone, who despite the vastly different worlds we lived in, was very similar to myself. She told me it would be one of the most important books I would ever read.
She was right.
I’ve read nearly every version of the diary that has been released and now, Bloomsbury Press has released Anne Frank: The Collected Works, the definitive collection of the writings of a young woman who, unlike certain people in certain elected offices, is a true and honest hero. A woman her lost her life in a war that never should’ve happened in the first place.
Authorized by the Anne Frank Foundation, the 733 page Collected Works was released to celebrate what would be Anne’s 90th birthday. Not only does it include the complete diary of Anne frank, but also letters, stories, and other writings never before published. It also includes a history of the Frank family, and photographs of Anne, her family, and the other occupants of the secret annex.
Flipping through the pages, it was easy for me to get lost again in Anne’s world. Her world was so bright and fun when she started writing. She talked about her friends at school, and how she often got herself into trouble with her teachers because she just couldn’t stop talking. Little by little though, the sadness and fear of what Hitler’s influence was doing to her country starts to seep in.
“Terrible things are happening outside… poor helpless people are being dragged out of their homes. Families are torn apart; men, women and children are separated. Children come home from school to find that their parents have disappeared.” Anne wrote the entry on January 13, 1943 – a year and a half after her first entry. Seventy-six years later, the entry is just as poignant today as it was when Anne wrote it.
The world is in a strange and very frightening place. So, in short, this release couldn’t have come at a better time. Bloomsbury should be very proud of this release. It’s fantastic. She’s still the voice of a generation three generations after her life was tragically cut short and even in the worst possible conditions, Anne still somehow managed to keep her spirit. “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
The Collected Works is a wonderful read. The additional entries and materials make Anne even more relatable. It’s deeply moving and very important piece of history and something every child should read at least once.