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Anne Frank

The Diary of a Young Girl, written by Anne Frank across a timeframe of over two years, is an incredibly unique document: it essentially expresses the experience of living as a Jew within Nazi Germany from an immediate, first-person perspective. Also, a cadence of poignancy is added to the entire work by the fact that Anne Frank died at the age of 15. That is, she really was a young girl, albeit a quite precocious one. 

Short Biography of Anne Frank

Anne Frank is a Jewish girl who was born on the 12th of June, 1929, in Germany. She was a victim of the Holocaust and died in 1945 at the age of merely 15 as a result of their experience in a Nazi concentration camp. 

Frank's family fled to Amsterdam when the Nazis rose to power in 1933, but they were ultimately trapped in the Netherlands as a result of the German occupation. 

Although Frank died with the Holocaust, her words were clearly destined to outlive that historical event. Frank had a strong desire to be an author; and her diary of her experiences within Nazi Germany miraculously survived and made its way to Frank's father.  

Anne Frank’s Literary Career

Frank is known for having written only one work: The Diary of a Young Girl. The journal begins in June 1942, with Frank's thirteenth birthday; and it documents Frank's personal experiences over the course of the next 27 months. 

The work was originally written in the Dutch language. Frank's father Otto was instrumental in getting it published. This happened with the original version in 1947 and with an English translation in 1952. It currently holds widespread international acclaim. 

The work was originally entitled The Secret Annex, in reference to the place where Frank and her family spent the time covered by the diary in hiding. 

Personal Style

One is struck by the great maturity of the writing style found in Frank's diary, which can be seen in the original Dutch version as well. In fact, this style is so remarkable for a young girl of 13 to 15 years of age that there have been disputes over whether Frank could in fact have been the real author of the diary. 

Evidence based on handwriting analyses has generally laid this question to rest. The point remains, though, the Frank's style is unusually professional and journalistic given the author's age. This is perhaps largely attributable to the fact that Frank was an avid reader: she may have integrated the styles of authors she read when producing her own diary. 

History with Nazi Germany

About a month after Frank began keeping her diary, her family moved into secret quarters hidden behind a bookshelf, in response to an increase in the intensity of the persecution of Jews in Amsterdam. This arrangement lasted until 27 months later in August 1944, when the Nazi police, acting on information from an unidentified informant, stormed the hidden annex and transported Frank and her family to concentration camps. Frank's diary does correspond fully with the time that her family spent in this living arrangement. 

Ultimately, The Diary of a Young Girl is important for both literary historical reasons. At the strictly literary level, it is a well written memoir in its own right. In addition, though, it is perhaps the most thorough and well-preserved primary document there is regarding what it was like to live as a Jew under the reign of the Nazis during the Holocaust. Among other things, Frank's work makes the historical event personal and concrete; it draws attention not to abstract statistics regarding millions of people dead, but to extremely personal experience of one single girl who died as a result of the event. This perspective is invaluable for anyone who truly wants to understand the meaning of the Holocaust.

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