Throughout history, there have been individuals who single-handedly changed its course for the better.
Many did not even know at the time that their words and actions would strike a chord with humanity and have great impact, as they didn’t live to see it happen.
One such individual, in a time of abject suppression, sat down and wrote. In so doing, she changed the world.
This young girl opened the eyes and minds of millions to the horrors of hate.
Sadly, Anne Frank never made it out of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp alive, as she and her sister Margot succumbed to typhus in deplorable living conditions only weeks before the camp was liberated at the end of World War II.
But just prior to going into hiding, Anne had been given a diary for her 13th birthday. In this dairy she chronicled the tragedy that became her life.
“One voice speaks for six million—the voice not of a sage or a poet but of an ordinary little girl.”
After her capture, her diary was salvaged by Miep Gies, the woman who had hidden Anne’s family. The diary, along with several notes written by Anne, were returned to her father, the sole member of his family to survive the Holocaust. Gies had kept them in the hope that someday she could return them to Anne.
Anne’s father, despite the pain it induced as he read, recognized his daughter’s wish to be a writer, and had her diary published in 1947.
Since that time, it has been read by millions. Eleanor Roosevelt lauded it as “one of the wisest and most moving commentaries on war and its impact on human beings that I have ever read.”
John F. Kennedy said “Of the multitude who throughout history have spoken for human dignity in times of great suffering and loss, no voice is more compelling than that of Anne Frank.”
Soviet writer Ilya Ehrenburg said “One voice speaks for six million—the voice not of a sage or a poet but of an ordinary little girl.”
Perhaps on some level Anne knew that her writing would open the eyes of millions of people who would read her words and visit her hiding place, which is now a museum, every year. Or perhaps she had no idea.
But whichever way the truth bends, she wrote.
And, in writing, Anne showed the world that hate does not vanquish hate, only understanding can do that.
Freedom fighters and history-makers don’t always appear in a flash of light and a blare of trumpets. Sometimes they arrive as a single person who, in impossible circumstances, decided to sit down and write.