Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dear Anne Frank

“It’s an odd idea for someone like me to keep a diary; not only because I have never done so before, but because it seems to me that neither I—nor for that matter anyone else—will be interested in the unbosomings of a thirteen-year-old school-girl.” ~ Anne Frank

Anne Frank at 12 years old
Dear Anne Frank,
You have always intrigued me.

Library Mouse (the Italian translation of "bookworm") that I am, I remember devouring her autobiography in 4th grade and being utterly amazed by her life. Her diary chronicled the seemingly insignificant musings of a thirteen-year-old girl over the two years she spent in hiding from the Nazis. She often wrote about the courtyard garden she could see from her window and commented on the majestic tree that grew hardy and strong just past the glass. The 4th grade girl inside me mourned when I learned that her beloved chestnut tree (check out the online tree monument!) died this past summer... 

Perhaps this is what triggered my life-long interest in WW2-era history and culture; seeing the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam is even on my Bucket List. So yesterday, on one of my resale shopping adventures (yes, I am a resale junkie) to build up my teacher library, I was thrilled to unearth a picture book of the little Dutch authoress. It's easy to relate to the teenage mindset of being horrified at the thought of someone reading your diary...and at the same time yearning for everyone to know your "profound" thoughts on life. 

As I flipped through the photographs in the book, I realized that now that I am older, the more intriguing aspect of her life is the courage of those around her. Otto Frank's employees risked their lives to keep the families in the Annex safe. A striking testament to Christ-like charity.

The Franks were sent to Auschwitz. Here the soil on which they walked was still damp with the blood of the martyred priest, St. Maximilian Kolbe. What an edifying reminder of the countless courageous people that lived during World War II like Miep Gies, Corrie ten Boom, and Edith Stein (just to name a few).

Tragically, Anne and her sister Margot (whose own diary was lost) died just weeks before Auschwitz was liberated, but her diary allows us to pass her story and teach young people the importance of doing corporal works of mercy...and of the importance of the "unbosomings of a thirteen-year-old school-girl."

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