Anne Frank – reflections on a sad anniversary

“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.

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6 thoughts on “Anne Frank – reflections on a sad anniversary”

  1. It’s remarkable that her words live on, and that she can give voice to the millions that were slaughtered during the Holocaust. And I feel that we have an obligation to do whatever we can to keep that voice from being silenced.
    Thank you for reading (& for sharing)

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  2. Thanks, Kevin.Yes, it’s deeply disturbing how many people seem to choose to deny the Holocaust. I think it is critical that we keep pushing back. The US is clearly in a bad place right now, and conspiracy theorists have been coming increasingly into the mainstream, but I see it happening elsewhere also & I think that it is only by constantly pushing back – and supporting education – that we can keep them in the minority (and out of public office)

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  3. Well penned. It is amazing how one young girl who lost her life along with over six million other innocent people who were slaughtered along with Anne. Yet this child lives and will be here long after all those responsible are gone. Her words; “What is done cannot be undone, but one can prevent it happening again.” Will remain for eternity. She lives.

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  4. Saddly there are those on the extreme right of politics (neo-Nazis) who deny the existence of the extermination camps and put forward the spurious argument that Anne Frank’s Diary is a fraud. These views are dangerous as they whitewash the crimes of the Third Reich yet (sadly) there are people who believe such concoctions. Some argue that works which deny the atrocities of Nazi Germany should be prohibited. In a free society I dont think one should prohibit the expression of noxious views. We should, however expose such opinions to the full rigour of examination by historians so as to show them for what they are (the dangerous ramblings of bigotts). Kevin

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