Anne Frank: March 20, 1944

Anne Frank is certainly the most famous teen diary writer of the Holocaust era. Millions have read her account of life in hiding from the Nazis. She combined humor and pathos to bring the daily grind of the secret annex to life. Her descriptions of her companions were vivid and larger than life. She was not always kind in her observations of others, but she also did not hesitate to criticize herself. One reason that Anne’s diary has remained popular through the years is that she revealed so much of her personality within its pages. When she was angry or upset, she didn’t try to cover it up, but revealed her feelings in full. For the most part, this is the great strength of her diary, but it also makes it possible to misunderstand her relationships. Her blunt honesty, coupled with the enormous strain of hiding, often made it seem as though she was alienated from her family.

From the 20th to the 22nd of March, Margot and Anne exchanged a series of letters that Anne recorded in her diary. The main subject was their mutual affection for Peter. There was a very real possibility that feelings of jealousy could spring up between the sisters. Even worse, they could end up in a rivalry for Peter’s attention. Under normal circumstances, they would probably have talked things out, but in the close quarters of the annex, it would not have been possible to do so with the necessary privacy.

The letters between Margot and Anne reveal a touching level of concern from the sisters for each other’s feelings and concerns. Margot wrote to Anne, “So there’s no need for you to reproach yourself because you think you’re taking something I was entitled to; nothing could be further from the truth. You and Peter have everything to gain from your friendship.” Anne replied, “Your letter was extremely kind, but I still don’t feel completely happy about the situation, and I don’t think I ever will …You know how much I admire you, and only hope that some of your goodness and Father’s goodness will rub off on me, because, in that sense, you two are a lot alike.”

The anger and frustration that Anne often vented in her diary indicated the stress of her life in hiding, not her true feelings. Anne deserves to be remembered as a person who loved and cared for her family.

You may learn more about Anne’s sister Margot through a new exhibit described here.

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