The Most Famous Refugee In The World
“With a diary kept in a secret attic, she braved the Nazis and lent a searing voice to the fight of human dignity.”
-Times, 1999 (The Heroes and Icons of the 20th Century).
It’s not the credentials you’ve accumulated through the years that count after you’ve gone; it’s your contribution to life that counts when you exit the earth. It’s not the investments you’ve made in the tangibles through the years that counts; it’s the investments you’ve made in the lives of people that counts. It’s not how long you’ve lived that counts; it is how well you’ve lived that counts. It is not the length of days that count; it is the legacy of the impact that counts. Never count the years but rather let the years count.
Anne Frank received a diary as a gift for her 13th birthday on June 12, 1942. Anne Frank, her family nor the person who gave the gift could never have imagined the simple diary would shape the course of history. What made the diary extraordinary is not due to the value of the diary in itself but rather it is due to the inestimable entries of the reflections of a seemingly ordinary teenage girl who witnessed the horrors of the genocide popularly known as the “Holocaust”.
Personally, when I first read the biography of Anne Frank, I found tears rolling from my eyes not just because her life was tragic as it were, for she never grew up to become the woman she could have been but because of the brief number of her years of having lived yet the impact of her brief years transcends a lifetime to the realms of immortality.
Anne Frank was born in Frankfort, Germany, on June 12, 1929. Her family was Jewish. In 1933, the Nazi party came to power in Germany. The Nazis blamed Jews for the nation’s problems and began a campaign against the Jews. About one-third of the world’s 18 million Jews died in the Holocaust, one of history’s worst tragedy. The death of millions of Jews under Adolph Hitler is known as the Holocaust. The Frank family moved to Amsterdam in The Netherlands to escape the Nazis. But in 1940, Nazis invaded The Netherlands, and Jewish people there began to suffer under anti-Jewish policies.
Anne’s father, Otto Frank, prepared a hiding place for his family. The Frank’s hiding place at 263 Prinsengracht Street in Amsterdam was a secret three-story annex connected to the back of his office, he sealed off several rooms and he covered the entrance with a movable suitcase. In July 1942, Anne, her mother and father, her sister Margot, and four Jewish friends stepped behind the bookcase into the hidden rooms.
The Frank family and their friends remained in hiding for over two years. They were supported by brave friends who risked their lives to give them food supplies. But they were bombarded with fear and Anne decided to express herself by writing down her thoughts and feelings about the happenings within and around her, the cruel war and the indomitable human spirit and selflessness or contribution to life.
THE BIRTH OF A DAIRY:
At the age of 13 in 1942, Anne started to write. Her dairy evokes powerful emotions of hope, faith sadness, love and indeed the triumph of the human spirit all mingled together. Anne conceived the dream of becoming a writer and a journalist, “I know that I can write….whether I have real talents remains to be seen…But and that is the great question, will I ever be able to write anything great? Anne wrote on April 1944. She further states, “I shall not remain insignificant, I shall work in the world for mankind” she added, “I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people, I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death”. And she did actually live on even after her death through her dairy.
In 1944 the Frank family was discovered in their hiding place by the Gestapo (the German secret police) acting on a tip, arrested the group and they were sent to the death camp. And in March 1945, a malnourished Anne Frank died of typhus, just a few weeks short of her sixteenth birthday and a few weeks short of liberation by the Allies and the end of the war. Otto Frank, Anne’s father was the only survivor in the family after the war. He helped publish Anne Frank’s dairy in 1947.
IMPACT OF “THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK”:
The Diary of Anne Frank is one of the most translated books in the world with more than 70 translations. The books have sold over 30 million copies around the world making it one of the most sold books in the world. It is esteemed as the most famous account of life during the Holocaust. She has inspired millions of readers from children to world leaders.
LIFE’S LESSONS TO LIVE BY:
- When your greatest desire is to really make a difference in the lives of others and fulfill destiny rather than a motive of becoming famous you will find true fulfillment and you could also gain fame without craving for it.
- “I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death.” -Anne Frank.
The manifestation of greatness is not a product of craving to be great but rather greatness is a product of following your instinct and acting accordingly.
- “Terrible things are happening outside. At any time of night and day, poor helpless people are being dragged out of their homes…families are torn apart; men, women, and children are separated.” -Anne Frank.
You never fulfill destiny by being engrossed with self and your problems, you must forget about yourself long enough to be interested and care about the welfare of other people.
- “If I don’t have the talent to write books or newspaper articles, I can always write for myself. But I want to achieve more than that.” -Anne Frank.
Discover your life’s work and give your heart to it and you will gain the satisfaction of having lived.
- “I’ve been taking down notes from all the biographies and history books that I read: I even copy out many passages of history.” -Anne Frank.
The extent of the value you create in the world is defined by the extent to which you grow your mind.
- “Beauty remains even in misfortune. If you just look for it, you discover more and more happiness and regain your balance. A person who’s happy will make others happy, a person who has courage and faith will never die in misery”. -Anne Frank.
Learn to live independently of circumstances by choosing a positive response rather than living in reaction and becoming a victim of circumstances.
- “Without God, I should long ago collapse. I know I am not safe, I am afraid of prison cells and concentration camps, but I feel I’ve grown more courageous and that I am in God’s hands.” -Anne Frank.
Develop an intimate personal relationship with God; that is your unshakeable anchor through life.
- “We’re so selfish that we talk about after the war and look forward to new clothes and shoes when actually we should be saving every penny to help others when the war is over to salvage whatever we can.” -Anne Frank.
True greatness flows out of a selfless heart of love.
- “I know my various faults and shortcomings better than anyone else”. She wrote, ‘But there’s one difference I also know that I want to change, will change and already have changed greatly! I can’t imagine how anyone could say, I’m weak and then stay that way,’ She also wrote, ‘If you know that about yourself, why not fight it, why not develop your character.” -Anne Frank.
You never grow to manifest true greatness until you live in self-awareness and examine yourself in order to develop the strength of character which sustains great destiny.
- “The world’s been turned upside down. The most decent people are being sent to concentration camps, prisons, and lonely cells, while the lowest of the low rule.” Anne Frank.
Rising to the position of power does not make one rise to the responsibility of a noble disposition.
- You never know that “little” acts of kindness and the courage to act to help another in whatever way you can produce a rippling effect that could change the course of history and transform the world. Miep Gies one out of two surviving persons that helped Otto Frank’s family with the provision in hiding, states, “To my great and abiding sorrow, I was not able to save Anne’s life. But I was able to help her live two years longer. In those two years, she wrote the diary that gives hope to people all over the world and calls for understanding and tolerance.”
- “It’s difficult in times like this, ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe in spite of everything that people are truly good at heart.” -Anne Frank.
Never let the wickedness that rules the hearts of many make your love for others grow cold but rather believe the best of others. It is only through a large heart of love can we triumph in our lives and make a difference in the lives of others.
- “The Diary of Anne Frank, “A publisher from New York writes, “I do not believe that there will be sufficient interest in this country to be able to sell enough books to make publication here profitable.”
Never conform your life and your dreams to the bigoted opinions of others. Ten publishers initially turned down the manuscript of Anne Frank’s Diary before it was eventually accepted for publication.
THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU
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About the Author
Udeme Archibong is a prolific writer, an astute communicator and a model of excellence. Her writings have made profound impact on thousands of lives around the world through her blog: successrecipeblog.com, which has followings in over 70 countries in continents of the world.
She is a Self-Development Expert, who passionately works towards helping people maximize their destinies.
At some point, she was a motivational columnist, writing Success Recipe and Destiny Catalyst, for two Nigerian national newspapers, Vanguard and ThisDay, respectively. She is the initiator of the Revolution Series Seminars