Anne Frank:  November 8, 1943

Anne Frank interacted with her diary as she would have a friend. She even gave it a name – “Kitty” – and confided to it her most personal thoughts. She revealed her hopes and fears without hesitation and was often very critical of herself over her perceived weaknesses. Perhaps she could be so candid because she was unburdening herself to a friend who would never betray her secrets. For this reason, reading Anne’s diary can feel awkward – as if you’ve just overheard a conversation that was meant to be private. On the other hand, this quality allows her writing to reveal the emotional intensity with which she experienced life in hiding.

One of the most difficult aspects of life in hiding was the constant fear. It was not enough for people to find a hiding place. They also had to STAY hidden. The danger of discovery was new every day and success yesterday was no guarantee of safety today. To make matters worse, people in hiding could not deal with fear in the normal physical way; by fighting or fleeing. Instead, they had to endure it in stillness. Undoubtedly, the unrelenting stress had long-term impact. On November 8, 1943 Anne perfectly described the waking nightmare of fear when she wrote, “At night in bed I see myself alone in a dungeon, without Father and Mother. Or I’m roaming the streets, or the Annex is on fire, or they come in the middle of the night to take us away and I crawl under my bed in desperation. I see everything as if it were actually taking place. And to think it all might happen soon!” The end result of this ongoing stress was loss of hope. Anne also wrote, “I simply can’t imagine that the world will ever be normal again for us. I do talk about ‘after the war,’ but it’s as if I were talking about a castle in the air, something that can never come true.”

Anne Frank’s diary leads the reader through the full range of her emotional states. Often she writes with infectious humor in a light-hearted style that is easy to enjoy. It should not be forgotten, though, that the backdrop is always one of pervasive fear. This was Anne’s reality and it accurately foreshadowed her fate.

You may explore Anne Frank’s life and her famous diary in great detail here.

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