Understanding Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents

Understanding Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents

Understanding Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents

Understanding Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents

Synopsis

Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl is the most widely read text about the Holocaust, yet it reveals only one example of the tragic consequences of the Nazi policy to eliminate the Jews. This casebook enriches Anne Frank's remarkable personal account with a variety of historical documents that illuminate the political and social context of anti-Semitism in Germany and the Holocaust. It includes an account of the Frank family's life in Germany before emigrating to Holland; first-person accounts of Anne's last seven months in deportation and concentration camps; other Holocaust narratives in the form of memoirs, letters, and children's diaries; an excerpt from Zlata's Diary, the story of a young girl caught in the war in Bosnia which has been compared to Anne Frank's; official Nazi pronouncements on "The Final Solution" to the Jews; and newspaper reports and editorials of the horrific events occurring between 1939 and 1945. All of these materials will help the student to better understand the historical context of Anne's experience, and the teacher to select appropriate materials to sensitize students to this period in history.

Excerpt

On March 25, 1944, a young girl wrote in her diary: "I don't want to have lived for nothing like most people. I want to be useful or give pleasure to the people around me yet who don't really know me, I want to go on living even after my death! And therefore I am grateful to God for giving me this gift, this possibility of developing myself and of writing, of expressing all that is in me!" This entry could have been written by countless adolescents who are filled with the idealism and optimism of youth, who dream of future lives rich with meaning, and who wish to "go on living even after . . . death." What makes this heartfelt declaration unbearably poignant is that it was written by Anne Frank, a Jewish Dutch girl whose death in 1945 in Bergen-Belsen, a Nazi concentration camp, ended her possibilities and her dreams. Ironically, it was also her death that transformed her diary from the private expression of a young girl in hiding with her family into a text that has been read, discussed, and taught around the world for more than forty years.

Anne Frank's wish has been fulfilled millions of times in the hearts and minds of her readers, who are both appalled and fascinated by the circumstances under which Anne wrote her "letters" to Kitty. They are moved by her ability to write openly about her feelings, her fears, and her desires; but most of all, readers are inspired by her passion for life despite the inexorable sense that . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.