Friday, February 13, 2009

Remembering "The Diary of a Young Girl"

From this morning's perusal of the news:

"Anne Frank called them the Helpers. They provided food, books and good cheer while she and her family hid for two years from the Nazis in a tiny attic apartment.

On Sunday, the last surviving helper, Miep Gies, celebrates her 100th birthday.

It was Gies who gathered up Anne's scattered papers and notebooks after the hiding place was raided in 1944. She locked them — unread — in a desk drawer to await the teenager's return.

Anne died of typhus in the German concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen seven months after her arrest. British and Canadian troops liberated the camp two weeks later.

Gies gave the collection to Anne's father Otto, the only survivor among the eight people who hid in the concealed attic of the canal-side warehouse. He published it in 1947, and it was released in English in 1952 as "The Diary of a Young Girl."

Who has not been moved to tears by the words of a girl trying to find her place in the world while being confined to a small attic space in the midst of war? Who has read this book and not been profoundly affected by this young woman who died soon afterward in an event we call the Holocaust? I think I was 13 the first time I read it. And went through an entire box of tissues in the process.

This book gave birth to my love of history, and in particular the history of WWII. I've since read many books, fiction and non-fiction, relating to this time period. A couple of other favorites include Winston Churchill's The Gathering Storm (first in a six-volume memoir on the Second World War) and The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.

I read The Hiding Place when I was a new Christian and the concepts of forgiveness and praying for your enemy certainly rocked my boat!

What about you? Which books have affected you most profoundly? Why?


Mari said...

I love that book! I didn't know she was still living.

Debbie said...

Have you read The Book Thief? It is marketed as a Young Adult book but it is one of the best things I have read in years. It has such touching characters - both Jews and Germans. I highly recommend it.

rita said...

THE SHACK (has nothing to do w/ WWII) I was reminded of it recently while reading Philip Yancey's Disappointment with God, also good. I read it last summer. It was the rage. What came back to me was the portrayal of God in three persons and that he is ALL about LOVING us.

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

I have never read the Diary of Ann Frank, but you've given me a wonderful idea. My DD birthday is in a few weeks and I think i will buy two copies and we can read it together.

I'm heading over to right now.