50 Books- Diary of a Young Girl

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I know I removed the timeline, but I am still working my way through the list.   These posts will continue until all books are completed!

50 Books- Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Where did I get this book and how many pages does it have?

This book was available in my local library.  There were two copies, the one I read with 283 pages, and another ‘comprehensive’ version which was over six hundred pages and included a lot of analysis.  Since I was only looking to read the story, I went for Anne’s version.

Have I read this book before?

Yes.  I want to say it was required reading in junior high, but it could have been high school.

What do I already know?

Anne Frank was a young, Jewish girl, who went into hiding during WW2 with her family in order to avoid being taken to the camps.  During her time in hiding, they had to be completely silent in order to avoid being caught.  In spite of all of their work, her family was eventually found and Anne did not live to see the end of the war.

What do I think now?

I remember studying her during when we discussed the war in school, but there is so much about her life and story I did not remember.  Most of what stuck in my mind was the need to be silent and move as quietly as possible.  There was so much more to her story that I forgotten, including the fact that they went into hiding when papers were sent for her sixteen year old sister to go away.  I forgot that they were hiding for two years in Amsterdam.  I forgot how much time was spent talking about quarrels with the other family who was hiding with them, and how much time was spent on regular teenage angst at the beginning of the diary.  Anne Frank was a normal girl, with an extraordinary talent for storytelling, and a tragic story of her own.  She wrote about her friends, and the crushes she had on boys.  Even when she was terrified, she still had hope and plans for the future.  It is hard to imagine that she wouldn’t have had an amazing life, if only she had been given a chance.

The first time I read this book I was 13, the same age Anne was when they went into hiding.  The idea of being that quiet all day seemed impossible.  Now Big One is 13, and the idea of my daughter hiding, knowing if we were not careful she would not survive is heartbreaking.  I don’t like to think about it, and yet Anne Frank lived it.

Should you read this book before you die?

When I first heard the idea of holocaust denial I was shocked.  As far as I had been taught, the events of WW2, and the horrible actions done to Jewish people were a matter of historic fact.  There is so much documentation, witnesses, and survivors, how could anyone pretend it didn’t happen?  And yet, people do.  There are those who simply refuse to believe.

During my master’s program, I took a class that discussed teaching to different cultures.  There is such a strong push in the US to never overpower a person’s belief system with the insistence of teaching facts.  (Yes, I know that statement was strongly biased, but I think teaching should be focused on truth, not opinion.)  One example of the concessions teachers may have to make that was discussed was the holocaust.  I knew there were deniers, but the class mentioned that many places in Europe do not teach almost anything regarding WW2.  Schools near me might be pretending all of these events never happened.  There were many reasons given, everything from a continued belief that the Jewish people deserved what happened, to what I hope is denial out of shame for the events they helped to happen.

I know I have strong beliefs when it comes to education.  I fully believe that science should be taught, no matter what a person wants to be true.  Science is fact, and opinions should not matter here.  I believe the same of history.  Just because we don’t like what happened doesn’t mean who should ignore the truth.  Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  Read Anne Frank’s diary, because this is a time we do not want repeated.

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