Anne Frank was born on June 12, 1929. She and her family, Jews living in Amsterdam, went into hiding on July 6, 1942. They were discovered and arrested on August 4, 1944. Anne died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in February or March 1945.
In what would have been Anne Frank's 87th year, we take a look at important lessons we've learned from this icon of WWII history, using excerpts from "The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition."
The importance of perspective
In spite of poor living conditions, Anne was aware that her family's situation was better than some others.
Tuesday, Sept. 29, 1942
"When I think about our lives here, I usually come to the conclusion that we live in a paradise compared to the Jews who aren't in hiding."
Why records are important
Anne's detailed diary gave us insights into what life was like for Jews who were in hiding.
Friday, June 12, 1942
"I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope that you will be a great source of comfort and support."
Why bluntness can be good
Anne often spoke her feelings and told things as they really were.
March 25, 1944
"...I'm honest and tell people right to their faces what I think, even when it's not very flattering. I want to be honest; I think it gets you further and also makes you feel better about yourself."
How to find the silver lining
Perhaps Anne was thinking of the Hebrew phrase "'tikkun olam," translated as heal or repair the world, when she penned the following:
April 11, 1944
"Who has inflicted this on us? Who has set us apart from all the rest? Who has put us through such suffering? It's God who has made us the way we are, but it's also God who will lift us up again. In the eyes of the world, we're doomed, but if, after all this suffering, there are still Jews left, the Jewish people will be held up as an example. Who knows, maybe our religion will teach the world and all the people in it about goodness, and that's the reason, the only reason, we have to suffer. We can never be just Dutch, or just English, or whatever, we will always be Jews as well. And we'll have to keep on being Jews, but then, we'll want to be."
Anne reflected on where she needed to improve, after finding out a letter she wrote to her father was hurtful to him.
May 7, 1944
"Well, Anne, you still have a lot to learn. It's time you made a beginning, instead of looking down at other people and always blaming them. … What's done can't be undone, but at least you can keep it from happening again."
The healing power of nature
While cooped in the Secret Annex — where the Franks, the Van Pels and Fritz Pfeffer spent years in hiding — Anne developed a love for nature
June 13, 1944
"Is it because I haven't been outdoors for so long that I've become so smitten with nature? I remember a time when a magnificent blue sky, chirping birds, moonlight and budding blossoms wouldn't have captivated me. … It's not just my imagination — looking at the sky, the clouds, the moon and the stars really does make me feel calm and hopeful. … Nature makes me feel humble and ready to face every blow with courage!"
Anne and her family live on through the memories preserved in her journal, in museums and in the hearts and lives of those who try to help those who are oppressed and give relief to those who are suffering.
July 15, 1944
"It's utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too will end, that peace and tranquility will return once more."
For more information, visit annefrank.org