On this date in 1942, a German girl by the name of Anne Frank received an autograph book for her 13th birthday. "Writing in a diary is a really strange experience for someone like me. Not only because I've never written anything before, but also because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl," she wrote shortly thereafter. Little did she know that the diary she started would one day be a literary legend—a haunting behind-the-scenes account of what it was really like to hide from the Nazis during World War II.
Since Anne's premature death in a concentration camp at the age of 15, her diary—which she kept from 1942 until her family's arrest in 1944—has become a literary legend—a beacon of courage and strength for people of all ages. To date, more than 30 million copies of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl have been sold worldwide, and the text translated into 67 languages.
Despite the controversy that surrounds Anne Frank's diary and the claims that the book should be banned from schools due to inappropriate content, the young writer's voice continues to resonate years after her death. Her work is, albeit perhaps unknowingly, a call for tolerance and peace that cannot be ignored. In honor of what would have been her 85th birthday, we've rounded up a few of the Anne Frank quotations we find to be the most poignant—words that I find I turn to when I need a jolt of courage or to have a given situation put into perspective.
- "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."
- “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
- "Riches, prestige, everything can be lost. But the happiness in your own heart can only be dimmed; it will always be there, as long as you live, to make you happy again."
- "To be honest, I can't imagine how anyone could say "I'm weak" and then stay that way. If you know that about yourself, why not fight it, why not develop your character?"
- "I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart."
How has Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl touched your life? The Anne Frank House is encouraging folks to share what Anne Frank means to them using #annefrank2014.