As Carly stated yesterday, this year for Hanukah, we’re celebrating contemporary Jewish authors. As I continue the celebration, I’m focusing on an author who only ever had one book published, and not even in her lifetime. That author was Anne Frank. Now, you’re probably asking yourself how this can continue to be a celebration, or how I consider her an author? Read on, and I will enLIGHTen you. #HanukahPun
The Holocaust is not a happy topic. However, from it, some beautiful art was born. In my time as a Hebrew school student and Hebrew school teacher, I have read poems written by children freed from concentration camps. I have seen films such as Life is Beautiful, finding the love amid all the hate and anger. The Diary of a Young Girl is one such piece of art.
Anne Frank was thirteen years old when she was gifted a blank diary. When she went into hiding, she used the diary to tell her story, but to herself. It wasn’t until she realized it could one day be a historical document that she intended to publish it. Anne edited her diary, until she was happy with the way her tale went. She expanded scenes for greater detail, cut bits, and created the consistent “Dear Kitty” format. Her father, Otto Frank, was the only survivor out of the Frank family. After he returned from the camps, he was given Anne’s diary by one of the women who had helped them hide, and he carried out Anne’s wishes.
There’s no denying that Frank, with her father’s help, was a good writer. At thirteen and fourteen years old, she was asking questions that most adults haven’t even begun to consider. Then there’s the fact that her true story got turned into a play and a movie several times over. She filled her story with excitement, drama, and romance. Plus, she loved cats. Anne Frank received the fame she wanted and deserved.
I also realize that while Frank’s story is incredibly sad, the book, along with Frank, should be celebrated, especially on Hanukah. Anne was often the light when the two families in hiding could only see darkness. Anne Frank saw the best in people, was super optimistic, and never gave up hope. I never had to read The Diary of a Young Girl for school, so as a teenager, I sought it out. Reading it voluntarily, it was difficult to finish because whenever Anne wrote about what would happen after the war, I would choke up.
Though Anne Frank didn’t see the war’s end, she will live on in the hearts of Jewish people across the world. Especially in this time of political bigotry, I ask you to think about Anne’s words as you light your candles tonight.