“What is done cannot be undone, but one can prevent it happening again.”
— Anne Frank
April 14th has the unhappy distinction of being the anniversary of Anne Frank’s death in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.
I’d always been moved by Frank’s insight, and by her overwhelming normal-ness in such an abnormal time.
I’ve always liked this quote, in particular, because the idealist in me wants to believe it.
Growing up in the post-war baby boom, WWII was still too raw a nerve in my youth – it wasn’t yet left to the history books. I read Diary of a Young Girl when I was young, and just wished that there could have been a different ending. Anne Frank and my mother were born only two months, and an entire world, apart, so there always seemed something a bit surreal to me when I was younger. In later years, it became easier to see the diary for what it was – not so different from ramblings that I sporadically made in my own attempts at diaries in my adolescence. Attempts to process the day, a way to vent about things that frustrated me, a place to record my hopes. It is also clear that she was precocious for her age and time – and now I find that I also wonder, as I look at my own daughters, what could have been for her. What might have been had she been born in a different time, a different place, a different religion.
And so, on this day, take nothing for granted – it all might have been very different for any one of us.