Started writing just at the young age of 13 years, in the year 1942, 'The Diary Of A Young Girl', Anne Frank describes typical girlhood experiences in the beginning of her diary entry. Writing about her friendship with other girls, her crushes on boys and her performance in school was what she talked about in her diary. She and her older sister Margot attended the Jewish school in Amsterdam because Anti- Semantic laws forced Jews into different schools.
Her family had migrated from Germany to the Netherlands leading up to the World War II. But when the Germans invaded Netherlands in the year 1940 her family was forced into hiding. Her family with another family, the Van Daans and an acquaintance, Mr Russell all moved into the secret annex above her father's office. Here, they stockpiled food and supplies and were protected by her father's employees.
In hiding, the entries slowly start revolving around the war and some bits of news heard by young Anne on the radio also makes its way into her diary, providing a vivid account of those times and how they were perceived by a young girl. The adults who were hiding in the secret annex working making bets about when the war will end or how their mood would be severely affected by German advances.
Anne also talks about her feelings towards the people living with her in the annex. According to Anne, her mother isn't as affectionate towards her as much as she is towards her sister Margot. She adores her father but is often criticized by Mr. and Mrs Van Daan and Mr. Dussel.
As time passes, her accounts become more detailed in nature. She talks about the basic activities, about humanity, how she is as a person. She also questions why the Jews are being singled out. She also feels confused as she considers herself to be a German but her German citizenship has been revoked. She calls Holland her home but the Dutch have turned against the Jews too. She finds herself associated with the Jews being persecuted but at the same time, she wants to be seen as an individual rather than members of such a group.
While she was writing Anne was confronted with deprivation, confinement and the identity crisis. All these subjects, difficult to be perceived by a young teen under the circumstances of the Holocaust. Her entries show readers a struggle of survival, unsure whether this meal would be their last one or whether the sun is rising for the last time. Her diary which starts on 12th June 1942 ends abruptly on a normal day on 1st August 1944.
Her father Otto Frank was the sole survivor and when he recovers her daughter's diary from Miep, he decides to fulfill his daughter's wish by publishing the diary. Her diary becomes a stark reminder against the cruelty of humans, the horror that Jews had to face and the actions of Germans are widely condemned throughout the world.
However, why is 'The Diary of a Young Girl' relevant in today's time? It is the importance of her story and the message that the book aims to give. The book is not just a historical account, but it is also a book about character. All over the world, we are seeing hatred and anger towards immigrants, towards the minority groups. People are vehemently opposing those not from their religion or those who do not share their beliefs.
We are moving towards a future where intolerance, lack of understanding, freedom of expression and love for each other is disappearing. As adults we are setting examples for our children to be narrow-minded, not to raise our voices when something wrong happens, to be a bigot. But most of all, we are showing that love has no place in this beautiful world created by God himself. Perhaps that is the reason books like 'The Diary of a Young Girl' are so important in today's time.
The book ends with an exhortation for the masses, helping others. A very simple but beautiful message, something we all can adopt in our lives.
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