Happy Birthday to Anne Frank and her Diary

On June 12, 1942, 68 years ago today, Otto Frank gave his daughter, Anne, a diary for her 13th birthday.

Anne began a chronicle of her life that day and wrote most of her diary in hiding at the Secret Annex, a tiny hidden compartment behind a bookcase at her father’s office, where her family and four others were forced into hiding from the Nazis.

Anne wrote about the difficulties of living with eight people in such a confined and secret space. She shared her fears of being discovered by the Nazis.  And she wrote about her life as any 13 year old girl would, the excitement and confusion, the hopes and disappointments.

Anne’s dairy ended on August 1, 1944.  Three days later, the German Security Police followed an anonymous tip and raided the Secret Annex arresting everyone there.  Anne, her sister Margot, and their mother Edith were eventually sent to Auschwitz along with one thousand other women.  Half were sent directly to the gas chambers.  Anne, Margot, Edith, and the remaining 500 were forced to strip and be disinfected, have their heads shaved and their arms tattooed with an identifying number.

Edith died at Auschwitz after Anne and Margo were moved to Bergen-Belson.  Seven months later, Anne watched her sister die of typhus.  She died one week later, just a few weeks before the camp was liberated by British troops on April 15, 1945.  Only Anne’s father survived.

The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank’s diary, has been translated into 67 languages and is one of the most widely read books in the world.

Its importance is noted in its inclusion on these lists:

Anne’s work speaks for itself.  It puts a human face, a young girl’s face, on the unimaginable suffering of the Holocaust.  We are graced by it because Anne Frank put her words on paper.