Without a doubt, my favourite author growing up was Jacqueline Wilson. Every book she wrote was adored by me and they still hold a special place in my heart now. One of the books I read was called Secrets and there were parts of it I didn’t understand. I had no idea who Anne Frank was or why one of the main characters, India, started each diary entry with ‘Dear Kitty’.
For anyone who hasn’t read The Diary of Anne Frank or heard anything about her before, Anne is a young teenage girl who starts a diary on the cusp of the Second World War. She is Jewish and living in Holland, a country her family had fled to from Germany after the Nazi’s began their takeover. Despite moving to safety, the Nazi’s spread through Europe and their lives became endangered. To prolong their safety, Anne’s father had begun organising a Secret Annexe in his workplace where they could remain until the end of the war.
My dad is a big lover of history and is probably where my love of history also comes from. I remember asking him who Anne Frank was and he ordered me the book so I could read it. I wasn’t quite a teenager when I read it the first time and I’ve just finished reading it again as an adult.
The first time I read it, I remember feeling a little uncomfortable at the tense relationship between Anne and her mother. It didn’t particularly show her in a positive way and it made me sad to think this is the way her mother would be remembered. However, now an adult and having gone through my teenage years, I know how difficult it is being a teenager, trying to be more adult than you probably should be all the while getting along with your parents. It is sad that the teenage girl and mother relationship is so brutally displayed forevermore but it is also true to real life. Not to mention being cooped up in their Secret Annexe, completely unable to get away from each other at any time. Though it isn’t confirmed, I read somewhere that Anne’s mother starved to death because she gave every single morsel of food she had to her daughter’s when in the concentration camp. This shows the strength of her love for her children, regardless of Anne’s concerns about her mother’s love.
Anne talks so passionately about becoming a published author and hopes that she can achieve it once the war is over and they no longer have to live in hiding. It is particularly jarring that her death during the Holocaust is a huge contributing factor to the book’s success. While it is sad, the publication of Anne’s diary is extremely important in educating the world in exactly what the Holocaust was like and in ensuring that it never happens again.
Anne’s account is so raw, not only because of everything she’s going through but also because she’s a regular teenage girl. There are probably only a handful of girls in the world who had a perfect relationship with their parents, particularly mothers when they were teenagers. I certainly didn’t! This highlights the fact that Anne wasn’t different in any way just because she was Jewish, she had the same thoughts and feelings as any teenage girl anywhere has.
Reading Anne Frank’s diary was as much of an eye-opener now as it was the first time I read it. The treatment of Anne and all the other Jewish people in Europe was disgraceful and I definitely recommend reading it because in some ways it’s hard to visualise what happened during the Holocaust. Anne’s diary brings the horrors to life and it’s more important than ever to remember what happened back then, so it doesn’t happen again now.