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A name that is associated with the Holocaust, WWII, and unquenchable thirst for life is Annelies Marie Frank, whose personal diary turned the world upside down and shocked people by its purity, her wide introspective, and a little girl’s unshaken optimism in the direst times. 

Anne’s story is known and regarded as a beacon of free will and the power of life. So compelling and moving her diary became to the world that, to this day, the pages of her journal are alive in films and plays. 

In this review, we will focus on the “Diary of Anne Frank” summary in order to highlight the most moving themes in her memoirs. 

The Girl in Hiding

From critics to book lovers, the praise for this masterpiece was and is still heard everywhere. However, Anne Frank’s diary is not just a book. By the rules of a good memoir, it is the real story of a young Jewish girl named Anne. 

She wrote in her diary for two years, from 1942 to 1944. Received as a birthday gift for her thirteenth birthday, a little girl wrote:

“I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone . . .”

Anne amiably found the gift and used it to describe her daily life and ordinary events. However, even through such simple narration, readers can discern the sharpness of her mind and the wit of the young author. 

The major theme of Anne’s diary is dedicated to her and her family’s survival journey. She was hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam (Holland) because they were hurting Jewish people. Anne, her family, and some others stayed in a secret part of an old warehouse. From this moment her diary is filled with stories, thoughts, and observations of life in the Annex. 

Diary of Anne Frank

The main theme is human nature: “How do human instincts see the light in trying times?”, “What is good and bad, and how to distinguish it?”, “How to preserve good nature and thoughts in the world of cruelty?”. Surprisingly enough, against all the laws of challenges, Anne who still was a teenager, managed to see good in people. 

Anne’s diary was not only an escape from reality, but a place where she wrote about her dreams and plans for the future. She fantasized about becoming a journalist, experiencing love, attending grand parties, and traveling globally. Eagerly, she wished for a typical teenage life, holding onto the hope that she might soon return to her old life, even during her years of confinement. 

Anne Frank’s Diary summary underscores the idea of learning how to deal with isolation and loneliness. The message of hiding secrets is central to her narrative, both in a literal and figurative sense. Anne and her family, hidden in the Secret Annex adjacent to the Dutch Opekta Company, are forced to live a concealed life, away from the prying eyes of Nazi occupation. This physical hiding parallels Anne’s internal struggle, where she grapples with concealing parts of her identity from those around her.

In her diary, Anne Frank frequently contemplates the nature of identity and the reasons people hide their true selves. 

“Can you tell me why people go to such lengths to hide their real selves? Or why I always behave differently when I’m in the company of others?”

This introspection reveals her acute awareness of the dichotomy within her: the outward Anne, who is vivacious, talkative, and energetic, versus the inner Anne, who is thoughtful, sensitive, and dreams of a future beyond her current circumstances.

Anne Frank's Diary

Throughout her diary entries, Anne observes and often critiques the appearances and behaviors of others, as if trying to peel back their external layers to understand their true essence. Her evolving relationship with Peter van Daan is a prime example. Initially perceiving Peter as dull and uninteresting, Anne eventually discovers his depth, recognizing that he, like her, harbors dreams and complex emotions beneath his awkward exterior.

Anne’s diary also reflects her personal journey through different phases of her life. She contrasts her pre-war existence as a popular, carefree middle-class girl with her life during the war, where she becomes more contemplative and mature. There is Anne in love, and the Anne she aspires to be: a journalist who makes a difference in the world. In her final diary entry, Anne contemplates revealing her more serious and thoughtful side more often, acknowledging the challenge of doing so in a world filled with other people’s expectations and judgments.

The wartime context further complicates the notion of public and private selves. Jews in hiding, like Anne’s family, and their supporters must navigate a treacherous landscape of trust and deception. To survive, they present different personas to different groups: a facade of normalcy to the outside world, including Nazi officials, while revealing their true selves only within the safety of their hidden sanctuary. The Franks, for instance, devise elaborate schemes to obscure their disappearance, while their helpers, like Miep and Bep, maintain a veneer of normality to avoid suspicion of harboring Jews.

Anne Frank’s diary, thus, becomes more than just a personal account; it is a profound exploration of identity, the multifaceted nature of humans, and the struggle to remain true to oneself in the face of overwhelming adversity.

The Diary of Anne Frank

Final Thoughts

This summary of Anne Frank’s Diary highlights its central theme: the struggle to maintain one’s identity and hope in the face of adversity. Anne’s reflections on hiding, both physically and emotionally, during WWII offer profound insights into human nature and the resilience of the human spirit.

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