Saturday, January 27, 2007

the voice of an innocent

"I see the eight of us with our 'Secret Annexe' as if we were a little piece of blue heaven, surrounded by heavy black rain clouds. The round, clearly defined spot where we stand is still safe, but the clouds gather more closely about us and the circle which separates us from the approaching danger closes more and more tightly. Now we are so surrounded by danger and darkness that we bump against each other, as we search desperately for a means of escape. We all look down below, where people are fighting each other, we look above, where it is quiet and beautiful, and meanwhile we are cut off by the great dark mass, which will not let us go upwards, but which stands before us as an impenetrable wall; it tries to crush us, but cannot do so yet. I can only cry and implore: 'Oh, if only the black circle could recede and open the way for us!'"
- Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank

One of the most profound books I have read in my life was actually one of the very first books I ever read. It was written by a girl in the 1940's when she was the same age as I was when I read it in the 70's. Though it wasn't the only commonality in our lives, we lived worlds and times apart. A lot of what she wrote about, her questions about faith and truth, her observations of the people she lived with, I could relate to on a personal level. But the insights and descriptions of her harsh reality........her living conditions coupled with the unrelenting suffocating fear she and her family had to function in were only accessible to me because she wrote a diary. Initially she wrote for herself as an emotional and spiritual outlet. She also wrote because of her desire to pursue a career as a published author when she grew up.

"Who would ever think that so much went on in the soul of a young girl?"
Anne Frank

Anne Frank along with mother, father and sister and another family of 3 lived in a secret annex tucked away in the attic of a storefront business office. For over 2 years, they stayed quietly hidden in a very small space unable to walk freely outside, unable to communicate with anyone else except for the two people who cared for them. Waiting out the war........waiting for the Nazis to be defeated. While she waited, Anne captured her thoughts and ideas............her unrelenting curiosity.........her unfailing belief in beauty and goodness........her expressive emotional adolescence for all to learn from.

"Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy" Anne Frank

Anne's words and experiences introduced me to this horrific time in our history and generated many questions I wanted answers to. Some of these questions I still have no answers to and probably never will. Her diary opened up discussions between generations and still does. Personally, reading Anne's diary was the beginning of my desire to learn about the Holocaust. Her words pointed me down a reading and learning path, like they did for millions of others. Anne's words brought her world to my conciousness. Many books have been devoured since then in an attempt to learn about the Holocaust and the devastational scars of evil.

Prescient circumstances intervened allowing us a glimpse into the life and longings of Anne Frank. Unbeknownst to this young woman, her chronicles were found and saved and then published for the whole world to read. Anne Frank is the everlasting voice of the innocent during a War that murdered 6 million Jewish people. She died at age 14 from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp just 2 months before Germany surrenders and the war is over.

The Diary of Anne Frank has since been published in 67 languages. It has sold over 75 million copies. It continues to resonate 60+ years later. Anne Frank's deeply felt passions were captured by her passion of writing.

Her chronicled words and her innocent face provide us with a glimpse of eternal beauty. Thank God.

"How wonderful it is that nobody wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." Anne Frank

"In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can't build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death." Anne Frank.

I was inspired to write about Anne from the Sunday Scribblings prompt, "chronicles." To read others, click here...........


Ellen said...

I just read through the past posts that I've missed being over here, and this one in particular struck a cord with me. I, too, read Anne's diary at a tender age, and I also had the same questions as you. We will never have them all fully answered, but we know that the nay-sayers of the holocaust were indeed wrong. Anne's diary is living proof today of the horrors man is able to do against themselves. What part of her words does the world not understand how horrific the circumstances of war is? And yet we find new reasons to carry on holocausts as if we didn't know better.

Very well written, sweetie.... as are all your posts.

Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

Thank you for writing about a girl and a book and a time that is so important. I too remember the impact it had on me, reading her diary, at the age of 12. I remember being swept up in emotion and not really having anyone to talk about it with. Wonderful post, JP

Bongga Mom said...

Thank you for featuring one of the most touching chronicles that humankind knows of. And who knows how many other Anne Franks kept diaries during that awful time, only to be destroyed! Thank goodness hers survived.

Regina Clare Jane said...

Oh, how I love Anne Frank. Besides Little Women, this was probably one of the first book I remember reading as a young girl and I have been deeply aware of it throughout the rest of my adult life.
We visited the Anne Frank Huis in Amsterdam and all I could do was cry through the whole tour. She captured my heart and soul when I was young, and to be there where she was was a truly touching experience for me. Thank you so much for writing about her...

alphawoman said...

I too read the Anne Frank at a very young age. I still can feel the sadness and the horror I feel for her.

paris parfait said...

Anne's diary had a big impact on my life as well, and my daughter's. Who would not be touched by her story. Thanks for the reminder in your moving post.

Awareness said...

Amazing how Anne's diary impacted us all....! When I think about it, I realize that it was probably the first conciousness raising story...a crossing from childhood ideals to adultworld realities....I have read. Most likely for all of us.

Hi Ellen.....don't know what it will take to put a halt to mass killings and brutal wars....... it truly is senseless.
What always strikes me about Anne whenever I pick up her diary to look at it again is her spirit. And it is her spirit that will always linger with us.

Deb. I drove my mother crazy with questions until she began finding more and more books for me to read. Another that had a profound impact on me was Mila 18, by Leon Uris. It was the first time I learned of the Warsaw Ghetto and the uprising. Though it was fiction, there was enough historical fact in it for me to seek out more.

Bongga mom welcome! Thank goodness hers survived. I have yet to read Suite Francaise which came out last year.....a manuscript which had been left unread for many years, written by a woman who lived and struggled through the war. I need to get my hands on it.

regina clare jane Little Women for me as well. Loved those books. My 13 year old daughter is reading it for a book report this term. I look forward to hearing her "take" on it.
I visited the Secret Annexe as well and was moved beyond words. It was the first place I went to when I arrived in Amsterdam for a back packing trip through Europe years ago. I went right from the airport to Anne Frank Huis......

Did you know the tree she wrote inspirationally about it diseased now and not able to be saved? Sad.

alphawoman........her story will always resonate with me as well.

Tara....hi. I introduced Anne's diary to my daughter last year. She too was impacted by it. In fact, wrote a speech on Anne Frank which she delivered to her entire school. The diary has definately affected Martha.....and has impacted her choice of reading and her outlook.......

Layla said...

Oh, I loved her book too, must have worn my copy out over the years. I'm sure you've probably read Corrie Ten Boom as well. Amazing women that survived and endured more than most of us will every even get a small glimpse of.

Anna said...

Great post.

My daughter will be reading Anne's diary soon. She is 13 and we are studying the World Wars. What a vital piece of history from such a tender age.

Mardougrrl said...

You know, I've never read the whole diary...I think I was too haunted by the circumstances in which she lived and died. But this post has made me want to look at the book again, so I'll be reading it soon.

Thanks for that. I really liked this post.

Janie Hickok Siess, Esq. said...

A perfect example of an individual who has touched millions and millions of lives . . . but never knew the impact she would have on people.

Layla said...

You inspired me to learn more about my Acadian background and I posted a little memory about my childhood that relates to it. :)

GoGo said...

She was a profound author. I remember reading her words at a young age, holding my breath.

Thank you.

Mr. Althouse said...

Like you, this was one of the first books I ever read. It was a required book in one of my elementary school grades - maybe forth? I don't remember. I know that I read the Hobbit by JRRT in fifth grade.

It was a powerful book. I wonder if grade school kids still read it?


I like my eggs sunny side up said...

I remember reading Anne's diary in grade 9 and feeling very overwhelmed with sadness. It was a shame that a girl, the same as me, had to endure such hardship. It has always entrigued me ever since.
I also read Mila 18 by chance in high school. My friend Sara lent it to me and I've thought about it often in the past few years. I have been searching for a copy hoping to re-read it again. I loved that book. It was amazing! Truly amazing!!!