Words for a Wednesday: The Diary of a Young Girl

I mentioned Anne Frank and her diary as one of my four 'superbooks', but it's really hard to do such an important piece of literature justice with a few paragraphs, so I thought I'd bring back the intermittent Words for a Wednesday to tell you guys a bit more about how amazing and eye-opening this book is.

She was a German Jew living in the World War Two years, and life was tough for her and her family. When the Nazis came into power, it happened slowly, but they began to commence what Hitler believed was the 'cleansing' of the human race. Jews weren't part of his Aryan, or perfect race, and that meant they basically weren't human in the brainwashed German people's eyes. So Jews were hunted down and killed in sickeningly organised camps, making one of the most horrible acts of genocide in modern history. Anne and her family were forced to go into hiding (if you'd like more information, this might be a good place to start.)

This book itself is absolutely due for a re-read, but after looking through some quotes on Goodreads, I can't help but feel like I'm back there experiencing it for the first time. Just . . . this.
"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single second before starting to improve the world." - Anne Frank
Do you know why I love this so much? Because Anne acts the way we all wish we could when faced with extreme hardship: her hope shows one of the most amazing parts of human nature, the ability to keep your head up and keep believing in the simple power of humanity, even when it feels like most of the species has turned against you. Where many of us would descend into fear, Anne - a girl who was originally 'shallow' by her own admission - found a reserve of strength within her that I think some of us need to remember is there.

It used to make me think that she would have managed to change the world - and probably most of our minds - had she not had her life cut brutally short, but then I remembered. She already has. And to explain why, I need to give you another quote, because you're worth it and I feel like spoiling you lovely people today.

This one is from Josef Stalin, who we have to admit was not the most popular person in the world, but has a point in this case:
"A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic." - Josef Stalin
The Holocaust was a horrible, horrible thing, and it wasn't just a million deaths. Six million were gassed in those chambers, and that's only the Jews. Almost a million gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses and disabled people were killed too: it gets to the point when those numbers become so overwhelming that we can't take them in, and that's where Anne came in. She focused us on that one death, hers, and continues to remind us just what a tragedy Nazi rule was. It's people like her, stories like hers, who bring even the most horrible parts of history to life.

I believe Anne Frank has changed the world by allowing us to learn from the past.

Other people can believe other things about what she did, of course, because books are so subjective, and that's why I'd love to hear about your personal opinion. We need to talk about our histories, even the sad parts. We need to talk about them most - mostly because horrible genocide didn't stop on the 2nd September 1945. Vietnam, 1975. Rwanda, 1990. Violence in Darfur started in 2003, but it's still going on.

We need to talk about the sad parts because the human race hasn't yet learnt from its past.

In the comments: So . . . what is your opinion? And do you agree with the quote? Do we all have the power to change the world?
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