This June marks 90 years since the birth of Anne Frank, going on to become an emblem of the suffering of millions of Jews at the hands of the Nazis. Anne died at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp only a few weeks before liberation by British soldiers on 15 April 1945.
She was only fifteen. It’s worth reminding ourselves and remembering how young Anne Frank actually was when her life was cut short in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Reading her words, it’s easy to forget. Her wisdom, recorded in her diary, is eternally ageless. It defies her age.
After being rejected by several publishers, Anne Frank’s Diary was finally published in the UK in 1952. Fellow Holocaust writer Primo Levi summed up the everlasting power of Anne Frank’s legacy when he mused:
‘One single Anne Frank moves us more than the countless others who suffered just as she did but whose faces have remained in the shadows. Perhaps it is better that way; if we were capable of taking in all the suffering of all those people, we would not be able to live.’
For all who read Anne Frank’s Diary, the pages overflow with such horror. And yet, such hope. As Anne herself wrote, ‘where there’s hope, there’s life’.
Now published in over 60 languages with over 30 million copies sold, the legacy of Anne Frank has become integral to our understanding of the quietly personal suffering of a collective atrocity.
Anne’s greatest wish was to ‘go on living even after my death’. Made stateless from 1941, Anne Frank now belongs to us all: a stateless and timeless reminder of an unimaginable horror. What’s more, her wish has been granted: she goes on living.
In memory of Anne, we take a look at just 10 of her most inspirational quotes…
1. ‘Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.’
2. ‘In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death.’
3. ‘Women should be respected as well! Generally speaking, men are held in great esteem in all parts of the world, so why shouldn’t women have their share? Soldiers and war heroes are honored and commemorated, explorers are granted immortal fame, martyrs are revered, but how many people look upon women too as soldiers?…Women, who struggle and suffer pain to ensure the continuation of the human race, make much tougher and more courageous soldiers than all those big-mouthed freedom-fighting heroes put together!’
4. ‘Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!’
5. ‘I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.’
6. ‘How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.’
7. ‘What is done cannot be undone, but one can prevent it happening again.’
8. ‘I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn’
9. ‘Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.’
10. ‘I know what I want, I have a goal, an opinion, I have a religion and love. Let me be myself and then I am satisfied. I know that I’m a woman, a woman with inward strength and plenty of courage.’