I first learned about Anne Frank in third grade. My class had to do a book report on the biography of a famous person, and when I was at a loss for a topic, my mom brought me a variety of library books from the biography section. The one that caught my interest? Anne Frank. Her story absolutely captivated Little Third Grade Me, and I enthusiastically decided that she would be my topic. In eighth grade, we studied the Holocaust and World War II, and we all had to write an essay and do a presentation on a topic that tied in with either the Holocaust and WWII, and explain its significance. The topic I picked? Anne Frank. Her life, her diary, everything about her has always been extraordinarily interesting to me. And I'm talking about her today because today (or, yesterday? I don't know...I'm writing this post at midnight between August 4th and August 5th...) is/was/not sure the 70th anniversary of the day she was arrested. And I tend to hear people as in person or on the internet this single question: "why was she important?"
She played no actual role in the war, she did not save the lives of hundreds during the Holocaust, nor did she survive. However, Anne Frank's importance in not only the time period in which she lived, but also human history, is still there.
Through her diary entries that spanned her entire time in hiding, she documents what life was like as a Jewish person living in a nation occupied by Nazis. Through her descriptions of the passions, hopes, and fears of herself and those she went into hiding with, she is one of the many people that brought a human face to the victims of the Holocaust --people who at the time were being treated as anything but human. Anne Frank's life story depicts the resilience of humanity in that she refused to give up hope for the future, despite being stuffed into an attic for years with the lives of her family, her friends, and herself at risk, losing the opportunity to have a normal adolescence. She is a reminder that the Holocaust (or any genocide for that matter) must never happen again.
But I think she's also important because she was a teenage girl when she wrote her journal. She goes through a lot of the same stuff as teenage girls today have to deal with. Anne Frank got her period, argued with and distanced herself from her parents, thought about sex, had crushes on boys, etc. Her diary shows that --regardless of the fact that Anne lived in the midst of a genocide in the 1940s-- she went through the exact things that I go through, that you or someone you know are going through, which feels really crazy, doesn't it?
Anyway, my point is, Anne Frank is still relevant today. Yes, she is significant because she provided a firsthand account of the Holocaust. Her story is one of humanity, passion, and hope during one of the absolute darkest periods in human history. However, the importance of Anne Frank does not end there. She's important because teenage readers can relate to her. She reminds teenage girls that they are not alone in the things they experience, and that adolescence was the same bittersweet time of weirdness and confusion and the occasional bits of wonderfulness back then as it is now. And I think that's almost as important as her historical legacy.
Okay. I'm not really sure if anything I read made much sense. I'm just gonna publish this post and hope for the best. Too tired to read it over and proofread. I need my sleep.