Our school was named in honor of Anne Frank on March 23, 1987. Since 1945, the diary of Anne Frank has become internationally renowned and acclaimed. The diary, found by her father after the war and later published, served to fulfill Anne’s greatest wish, to be a writer. Although she never lived to enjoy the honors bestowed upon her, the numerous awards her work received attest to her great contribution: Antoinette Perry, Critics’ Circle and Pulitzer Prize awards. The story of Anne and the seven others who lived in hiding for two years in a warehouse attic in Amsterdam has also been dramatized on stage and screen.
The diary describes the lives of Anne, her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank, her sister Margot, Mr. and Mrs. Van Daan and Peter, and Mr. Dussel during the two years they lived in hiding. It also sheds important insight in their fears and concerns. Begun in 1942 when Anne was thirteen, the diary was continued throughout her two years in the attic. In it she clearly describes the sufferings experienced by the group: the inability to go outdoors, to speak or move about for ten hours at a time when strangers worked in the warehouse downstairs, to stand by a window during daylight to discard rubbish that might betray them, to draw water or flush the toilet when anyone else was in the building, to do anything that might indicate that the attic was anything except an abandoned storehouse. Also described are the sufferings resulting from the many arguments among the eight persons living in close quarters, from being hungry as a result of meager food supplies, and from living in fear. Moments of happiness are likewise recorded: observance of holidays, exchange of small gifts, and sharing of good news—such as the movement of Allied armies. Yet, fear, boredom, and hunger at all times outweighed the brief moments of happiness.
Despite the many sufferings, Anne’s diary reveals her belief that she and the others would survive, that this madness would pass that she would have a happy life, and that one day she would be a writer. One of the last additions to the diary before being arrested by the Gestapo in 1944 was: “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
In 1945, when Anne’s father, Mr. Frank, the only survivor of the family returned to the attic, he discovered the loose leaf diary that was to bring to the world both the story of people in hiding as well as an important message: to believe in the future, to believe that evil will pass, and to believe that “people are really good at heart.” Certainly, had not some “good” people sacrificed to save the Franks and other victims of the Holocaust, additional thousands would have perished. Had not some “good” people sacrificed to save the Franks (Mr. Kraler and Miep), Anne’s diary could not have been written. Anne’s optimism and hope in the future, which has served to touch many throughout the world, could not have been recorded for posterity.
Anne Frank will not be forgotten, for she has touched each of us. She is the symbol of hope and faith for generations yet unborn.