On this day, in 1929, Anne Frank was born. In her short life and in the decades that followed, she became a symbol of all those persecuted for their ethnicity, religion, or personal beliefs. Today, we remember her, the 6 million victims of the Holocaust, and everyone facing oppression today.
Dan Rather writes:
“Anne Frank would be 90 years old today. We owe her, and the millions more who perished, infants to the elderly, to never forget their stories. We must teach future generations about the murderous horrors of the Holocaust and the danger of seeing fellow human beings as “others.”
It was also on this day that Anne Frank received her iconic diary. On June 12th, 1942, her parents gave her a red-and-white-checkered cloth notebook for her thirteenth birthday. She wrote in it right away: “I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.”
She was born Annelies Marie Frank in the German city of Frankfurt Am Main to Edith and Otto Frank. By the time she was four years old, Adolf Hitler had risen to power, forcing her family to flee to Amsterdam and become Dutch citizens. The Nazis invaded The Netherlands in 1940 and began their persecution of the country’s Jewish population. When the deportation of Jews to the death camps began, the Frank family went into hiding inside a secret annex in the heart of Amsterdam.
They managed to hide for more than two years before being discovered and deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Anne Frank died in early 1945 after being transported to the Bergen-Belsen camp in Germany. She was only 15.
The diary she kept while in hiding has since become legendary. Anne wrote eloquently about the troubles she faced as a persecuted Jew and her deep desire to fight for peace and justice for all people. “I must have something more,” she wrote. “Something I can devote myself too. I want to live on after my death.”
Anne’s diary lives on. It has been translated into 70 languages and now serves as a symbol of the plight persecuted people around the world. So it is that on Anne Frank’s 90th birthdate, we remember her enduring message of acceptance and love, along with the oppressed people and refugees of today. We still have a long way to go before we can live in the world that Anne Frank dreamed of. But we’ll continue to strive to make it a reality. “Despite everything,” Anne wrote. “I believe that people are really good at heart.”