Happy Birthday, Anne Frank

The story should have ended differently.

There should have been more entries in the diary.

There should be pages recounting joyous family reunions — outside — in the streets of Amsterdam.

There should be tellings of the end of the war within the diary’s bindings, tales of life after hostilities, stories of peace in Europe and throughout the world.

Instead, hate and the Holocaust robbed the world of millions of lives. Within those lives were millions of stories cut short.

One of those stories was not buried after the life it radiated from ended — thanks to the diary.

If she were alive today, Anne Frank could celebrate her 85th birthday.

Her wartime diary would probably have letters, addressed to “Kitty,” documenting the liberation of concentration camps, the surrender and the end of Nazi Germany.

The last diary entry is dated August 1, 1944. The Frank family and others hiding in secret rooms behind the bookcase of an office building were arrested just three days later.

The first entry was written in 1942 and bears today’s date. Anne received the diary on the day she turned 13, and began what would become one of history’s most well-known documentations of life during World War II.

For more than two years, Anne filled its pages with vivid accounts of a life lived inside the walls of their hiding place.

Some of Anne’s entries provided reports on the progress of the war, some gave a glimpse of morale inside the Amsterdam office in which they hid and others exuded the unrelenting optimism she possessed.

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” 

― Anne Frank

Anne’s diary is also, in part, a coming-of-age story. It contains her desires for love and fame. It contains the words of an extraordinary person who — at times — longed to live an ordinary life beyond the walls which closed in around her.

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.”

— Anne Frank

I remember reading Anne’s diary in school. It was not until I read it again after college I began to realize her unique talent for the written word.

Like her life, Anne’s writing is short. Like her life, Anne’s writing is remarkable.

She made such an indelible mark on the world, and she said so much in so little time.

It is amazing and inspiring how, even under some of the worst circumstances I can imagine, Anne’s positivity remained.

“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

— Anne Frank

It is vastly evident in her diary what  prolific writer Anne Frank was.

It is easy to imagine the literary heights she could have reached had she survived the horrors of the Holocaust, and, at the same time,  sad to think of what the world lost because she didn’t.

Somewhere inside the diary Anne received for her birthday, which is now a gift to the world, she expressed her wish to live after she died.

Anne’s life was one of the millions cut short by the horrendous atrocity of the Holocaust, but thankfully her story did not die. It remains, 85 years later, and it still resonates a message of unyielding strength amid unimaginable strife.

“Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.”

— Anne Frank

Through her words, written in a simple diary, Anne Frank’s legacy of hope will continue to live.

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