Last night, while watching the news, I realized, that today is the birthday of one of the most famous Teenagers, the world has ever known. Her diary is one of the most read books in the world and her face and name are ineffaceably connected with the Holocaust and the inhumanness of National Socialism.

Today, Anne Frank would have been ninety-years old. And with her story in mind and the picture of her in my head, I write this post. Thinking about the rare moment, my maternal grandfather spoke with his family about that time. It is a very dark chapter in my families history, and will never be forgotten.

Her diary Het Achterhuis (original Dutch edition), Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (US) is part of the school education in Germany. The book has sold to date around 35 million copies and is translated into 70 languages. Over the years some different editions were published, and some legal battles took place.

Anne Frank was born into a Jewish family as Annelies Marie Frank on June 12, 1929, in Frankfurt/ Main, Germany. For her thirteen´s birthday in 1942, her father Otto Frank gave her a book that was actually an autograph book. Anne used the red-and-white checkered cloth bound book as a diary.
She kept it almost immediately from her birthday until August 1, 1944.
A few days later she was arrested in Amsterdam at the Achterhuis, now called Anne-Frank-House.

I guess I was around ten when I visited with my class the concentration camp in Dachau/ Bavaria where you can see pictures and other items that were from that time. To be clear: Dachau is NOT the camp where Anne Frank has died in 1945. That was the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen in Lower Saxony in northern Germany. But my class went to Dachau, because it was, and still is, closer to the area where I lived back then.

The pictures of Dachau are still in my head. I remember standing right in the middle of a gas chamber, walking around the area where the barracks once had been, and our teacher was monitoring us closely. The atmosphere there was weird. Everyone there behaved as if being in a church, but without the peacefulness, you usually feel while standing on holy ground.

Although Anne Frank lived mostly in the Netherlands and had lost her German citizenship in 1941, I consider her one of the good things Germany has ever originated and has ever had. Her words are as relevant as ever and we NEED to keep her legacy and the knowledge we have from the past alive and in our minds so that the cruelty people suffered from during World War II will never happen again.


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