The Diary of a Young Girl, published in 1947, was originally a diary written by a German/Dutch Jewish teenage girl named Anne Frank between 1942 and august 1944 – when she and her family were captured and taken to a concentration camp. She died a few months later, supposedly from typhus.
I first heard about the book in 2013, I guess. I wasn’t really interested in it at the time, so I let the name come and go on my mnemonic bookshelf. Then my sister read it and couldn’t stop talking about it. Curious as I am, I peeked at a few pages, but lost interest (again) right away. The style and the problems exposed in the first entries, when she is free and spends her days with friends and boyfriends, were way too irrelevant.
It was only after I went to Berlin, July of 2015, that my interest about the book spiked again. Being immersed under so much World War II culture from those few days in the German capital, I decided to give it a second try. It was not such a long book, after all, and if it was that terrible, I would never think about it again.
Instead, it blew my mind. As the reading progresses, the style becomes more readable (or you get used to it), even beautiful, and the thoughts develop into a more mature tone. Anne Frank’s tales made me laugh, made me cry and made me suffer. Through her words I saw a young, hopeful and brave human being, optimistic even when things were terrible.
There was one reflexive passage on the book that I can surely say that made a great impact on me. She says, about the Jews in the Second World War: “Who has inflicted this upon us? Who has made us Jews different from all other people? Who has allowed us to suffer so terribly up until now?” This was like a fist in the gut for me. I mean, alright, I wasn’t alive during the war, but others were. Who allowed human beings to cause this scope of pain and suffering upon other human beings?
It made me think about now, about how we can’t just look at the problems, we have to find the solutions. We have to participate in the fight so the change is universal. We can’t say that this or that doesn’t concern us because it does. It directly affects us all.
Such a simple and innocent book, and yet it brought in me the desire and the ambition to find an effective way to help the world, to bring change and to take a stand. I’m sure that if Anne Frank had lived, she would’ve changed the world even more than she did when she was just a girl. I’m no Anne Frank, but I hope to be able to do something in my life that makes the lives of others more comfortable and enjoyable.
That’s her impact on me. She made me want to be a better person in all possible aspects. That alone is more than reason enough to read a book, don’t you think?
PS: If you want to know more about Anne Frank, go to http://www.annefrank.org.