Putting the best of people first
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” —Dr. Seuss
It has become one of the world’s most famous birthday gifts, a classic of war-generated literature.
It’s the red-checked diary that Anne Frank’s father, Otto, gave her on June 12, 1942, when she turned 13.
On July 6, she and her Jewish family and one other Amsterdam family went into hiding from the Nazis. Gentile friends fed and cared for them until they were discovered by the Gestapo in 1944 and shipped to Auschwitz and then Bergen-Belsen concentration camps. Anne died there at age 15, several months before the British liberated the camps.
Anne would be 93 if she were alive today.
She credited her ability to keep her sanity to journaling. She said she would “absolutely suffocate” had she not been able to write down her thoughts and feelings. She also created what she called a “Book of Beautiful Sentences,” inspirational thoughts and passages copied from books of other authors.
You might say that inhaling nourishing sentences from other writers, plus exhaling her fear, anguish and anger onto her journal pages, kept her soul alive.
This is the most famous and provocative sentence from her diary: “I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.” Critics are quick to point out that she innocently, naively wrote those words before experiencing the deprivations and horrors of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. The diary she left was, therefore, unfinished.
I want to believe that Anne stayed true to her principles, true to the core values she expressed at age 14 in these lines: “Everyone, great and small, can make their contribution to justice. You can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness!”
May Anne’s tribe increase.