Friday, June 12, 2020
June 12, 1929
Happy birthday, Anne Frank. She received a fabric-covered diary for her 13th birthday. At that time, she was a young girl who enjoyed knitting, still missed her grandma (who died the year before) rode her bike to get around, and had an indefatigable interest in boys.
The following month, the Frank family went into hiding. They were joined by the Van Pel family and Franz Pfeffer. Eight people in all, living in the now-famous Secret Annex above the warehouse. During the day they had to be careful to be as quiet as possible, lest the workers hear them. At times, flushing the toilet or even coughing could be dangerous. They ate provisions left for them by helpers, the few Christians that they could trust with their secret existence.
Anne believed that they would "outlast" the Nazis. Of course, they did not. In the summer of 1944, they were discovered and arrested. This brave little woman died at age 15 in a concentration camp.
But her words live on. Anne's diary has been published in more than 60 languages.
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
“I know what I want, I have a goal, an opinion, I have a religion and love. Let me be myself and then I am satisfied. I know that I’m a woman, a woman with inward strength and plenty of courage.”
“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!”
“What is done cannot be undone, but one can prevent it happening again.”
Let's not insult her memory. Next time you hear someone complain of being "oppressed" because they're asked to wait to get a hair cut or wear a mask in public to protect their neighbors from a virus, think about this face. Know that she lived the last two years of her young life estranged from the outside world, afraid of torture and death. Think about her bottomless dark eyes and how hard she fought to stay positive when faced with terror. Remember what "oppression" really is.