The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank’s Diary, Social Media, and How We Record History

2020 was a tumultuous year. Americans faced not only a global pandemic but a fight against police brutality and a presidential election where the results would unarguably determine what the next four years would yield. We captured this past year through Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook because, at some point, someone somewhere told us to document the year that could change the course of history. I’m sure we have all heard the phrase “history repeats itself.” A more modern take of this statement comes from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton: “History has its eyes on you.” It may seem like we are merely players in a big game where everyone is fighting and no one is winning. However, collectively we are the ones determining the fates of our future, regardless of if we get to see them. Seventy-nine years ago on this day, Anne Frank began writing in her diary because a man on the radio said he would collect eye-witness accounts of the Nazi occupation. And all Anne wanted to be was a published writer. Little did she know that her decision to write would change the world.

IMAGE VIA ANNEFRANK.ORG

For much of World War II, the Nazi Party claimed that the Allies and Jewish people were spreading vicious lies about the far-right party. They used propaganda to convince the average person that the Nazi ideals were the only way to “make Germany great again.” Ultimately, if you weren’t 100 percent with the Nazi Party, you were against them. Their intimidation tactics easily allowed them to disguise the genocide of European Jewish people as a “resettling” of those who were against the Nazi Party. Because people were afraid for their lives, Hitler and his regime could simply hide everything they were doing from the outside world.

 

 

While there were attempts to stop Hitler from the inside, it wasn’t until the war ended when Allies discovered the truth behind Nazi Germany. Even then, documents were falsified, hidden, and destroyed to cover up any evidence of what the Nazis had done. Truly, the concentration camps are the main pieces of evidence of the genocide that happened across Europe. From an outsider’s point of view, this begged the question: how did a popular political party murder six million Jewish people and countless others who were deemed “unfit” for Germany? From America’s standpoint, there are arguments that the infamous 1930s Great Depression was bigger news than what was happening in Europe at the time. There is speculation that Americans couldn’t even comprehend what genocide meant in regards to the sheer amount of people who were being murdered, and this thought is what led to the US denying entry to refugees who were lucky enough to escape the Nazis. Additionally, the US only joined the Allies in WWII after the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service attacked Pearl Harbor because until then, they didn’t want to get involved in foreign affairs.

 

 

This is where Anne Frank’s diary plays an important role in history. After she heard the call over the radio for civilian documents about Nazi occupation, she immediately turned her birthday gift into a piece appropriate for publication. She edited, added, and removed various sections to emphasize how the occupation affected her family. Following the removal of the Frank family from their hiding place, Miep, a family friend, found and retained Anne’s diary until she could return it at the end of the war. When Otto Frank, Anne’s father, became the sole survivor of the Frank family, Miep gave the diary to him as preservation of his daughter’s memory. After pouring over Anne’s entries, Frank found a publisher to replicate the diary and share the true horrors of Nazi occupation with the world. In 1947, Anne’s diary was published as The Diary of a Young Girl.

IMAGE VIA AMAZON

To this day, we rely on civilian documentation to record both inspiring and devastating world events. Most recently, Darnella Fraizer’s recording of Derek Chauvin murdering George Floyd became the critical piece of evidence that led to Chauvin’s damning conviction. It even won her an honorary Pulitzer Prize. What we may refer to as “receipts” are actually our truths behind both our private and public lives. And these are truths that hold governments and people in power accountable so that history doesn’t repeat itself. Social media can be a hell-hole, but what it has given us is a means of documentation. Anne can’t have predicted what her diary would become. But in the end, its contents changed world history. So, if you ever think that what you are writing, sharing, capturing, or recording isn’t important, you are absolutely wrong. You never know how your story will impact the world.

FEATURED IMAGE VIA ANNEFRANK.ORG

7 Popular Songs Inspired by Books

There’s more than you might think! Here are 7 popular songs inspired by books!

 

 

1. Panic! At the DIsco, “Time to Dance”

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwT83GYB7kA]

 

“Time to Dance” was inspired by Chuck Palahniuk’s Invisible Monsters. The novel follows an unnamed ex-model who has been left disfigured by a gunshot to the face, as she attempts to navigate through the new life she’s left with.

Her friend, Brandy, is a trans woman seeking a sex change operation, and her presence serves as a symbol self-love and acceptance.

Things get more complicated than this, but I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t read it.

Brendon Urie and Ryan Ross (a former member of Panic! At the Disco), are both big fans of Palahniuk’s work, and many song titles off the album A Fever you Can’t Sweat Out can be linked back to the author’s body of work.

“Well, she’s not bleeding on the ballroom floor/Just for the attention/’Cause that’s just ridiculously odd/Well, she sure is gonna get it/Here’s the setting: Fashion magazines line the walls/Now, the walls line the bullet holes”

 

 

2. David Bowie, “1984”

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2xfpMMQIJ8]

 

You’ll never guess what this ones about.

1984 is a George Orwell classic about a dystopian future where all of Europe has been combined into Oceania, a country ruled by their totalitarian government. Citizens of Oceania are hunted down by the Thought Police, who punish those who show signs of individuality or independent thinking.

David Bowie initially intended to write a musical based on the novel, though it was never finished, and several of the musical’s songs were instead included on Bowie’s eighth album Diamond Dogs.

“Someday they won’t let you, now you must agree/The times are a-telling and the changing isn’t free/You’ve read it in the tea leaves, and the tracks are on TV/Beware the savage jaw of 1984”

 

3. Bruce Springsteen, “The Ghost of Tom Joad”

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qi0kWe2ixzU]

 

“The Ghost of Tom Joad” is a folk song about the character of the same name from John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wratha novel set in the Great Depression. The plot focuses on Tom and his family as they travel from Oklahoma to California in search of work after their farm has been repossessed. Once in California, Tom realizes that the state is flooded with people all looking for jobs, and that actual positions are both scarce and brutal work.

Much of Bruce Springsteen’s music, including “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” is centered around what it’s like to be working class under American capitalism, which is the primary theme in The Grapes of Wrath.

“You got a one-way ticket to promised land/You got a hole in your belly and a gun in your hand/Sleeping on a pillow of solid rock/Bathing in the city’s aqueduct”

 

4. Led Zeppelin, “Ramble On”

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oWfHcl94k4]

 

“Ramble On” takes a lot of inspiration from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings series. The song describes the pain of having the girl you love taken from you, and the journey one has to go on to find their one true love. Robert Plant equates the feeling to the journey Sam and Frodo take to find and destroy the One Ring in the fantasy epic.

The title “Ramble On” refers to the fact that in both Lord of The Rings and in real life, the only option is to persevere towards that finish line despite how emotionally taxing the journey may be.

“‘Twas in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair/But Gollum, and the evil one/Crept up and slipped away with her, her, her, yeah/Ah, there’s nothing I can do now/I guess I’ll keep on ramblin'”

 

 

5. Neutral Milk Hotel, “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea”

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hD6_QXwKesU]

 

This connection isn’t totally confirmed, but many fans believe that “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea” is about Anne Frank’s The Diary of A Young Girl. Jeff Mangum, the lead singer of Neutral Milk Hotel, has spoken about the emotional impact that Frank’s diary has had on him several times.

In this track specifically Mangum describes a connection he feels to Frank’s writing, and meditates on how wonderful it is to be born on the same earth as someone who has had such a positive impact on the world.

“What a curious life/We have found here tonight/There is music that sounds from the street/There are lights in the clouds/Anna’s ghost all around/Hear her voice as it’s rolling and ringing through me”

 

6. Nirvana, “Scentless Apprentice”

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ppZcWfmKCc]

 

“Scentless Apprentice” is based on the novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind, one of Kurt Cobain’s favorite books. The novel follows a man named Jean-Baptiste Grenouille who was born with an incredible sense of smell, though his own body possesses no smell of it’s own. While walking through Paris, Grenouille smells something unlike anything he’s experienced before, and discovers that it’s the scent of a young and beautiful girl. Grenouille strangles the girl to death, and stays beside her body until all traces of it’s scent are gone. This leads Grenouille to commit a string of several murders in an attempt to bottle the scent of the women he kills.

One of the main themes in this novel is the idea of being born different, and being ostracized because of it before you ever have the chance to prove yourself worthy of acceptance, and theme that “Scentless Apprentice” focuses on.

“Every wet nurse refused to feed him/Electrolytes smell like semen/I promise not to sell your perfumed secrets/There are countless formulas for pressing flowers”

 

 

7. Lana Del Rey, “Body Electric”

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hFCZ1tzWR0]

 

Lana Del Rey’s “Body Electric” was heavily inspired by Walt Whitman’s I Sing the Body Electric. Whitman’s poem focuses on the idea that all bodies are beautiful and important, as beautiful and important as the human soul.

In this song Lana is mourning the loss of a romantic relationship, and trying desperately to enjoy life as she normally would. However, the joy she once found in dancing with strangers is now gone. She can no longer see the beauty in herself, or those around her now that she’s lost the person she found to be more beautiful than any other.

“Elvis is my daddy/Marilyn’s my mother/Jesus is my bestest friend/We don’t need nobody/’Cause we got each other/Or at least I pretend”

 

 

 

 

Featured images via The Sun, Dazed, and Buzzfeed

Friends of Anne Frank Throw Her 90th Birthday Party in Her Apartment

Birthdays never stop being special; even when we grow tired of them, the people in our lives do not. Someone almost always shows up with a gift—socks, shirts, Doritos (thanks mom). It’s the thought that counts right? Pleasant reminders that we are not in the world alone. But, let’s be honest, sometimes the best gifts are the ones we personally pick out ahead of time. This was most definitely the case for young Anne Frank.

 

Image Via Mentalfloss.com

On June 11th, 1942, a day before her thirteenth birthday, Frank chose a gift. While browsing through a bookstore with her father, Anne Frank laid claim to a blank, red and checkered autograph book—Anne called this book “maybe one of my nicest presents [ever].” And it was. This book, which Anne famously used as a diary, would  become (arguably) the most important book—no, the most important object—of the entire twentieth century.

The day after that fateful browse, many of Anne’s friends attended a birthday party at her family’s modest apartment. It was a gleeful day courtesy of a seemingly endless supply of cookies (not so much) and black and white movies. A day that accomplished the gargantuan feat of distracting Amsterdam youth from the grim reality of World War II. Unfortunately, Anne would never experience a birthday like that again. Three weeks later her family was forced into hiding…and three years after that, in a Nazi concentration camp, Anne died.

Anne’s father Otto, was the only family member to survive the war and went on to publish Anne’s diary. The Diary of a Young Girl is among the best-known books in the world.  One of the most monstrous and discriminatory periods of human history documented through the eyes of a young girl—Anne Frank. Today, Anne is not only remembered by the billions of people who cherish the MANY translations of her diary, but also by the surviving attendants of her thirteenth birthday party. In her diary’s introduction, Anne expressed a desire to acquire a  “truest friend” with whom she could confide her innermost thoughts and feelings; she names Jacque Van Maarsen as a potential candidate.

 

Image Via Amazon.com

 

Jacqueline van Maarsen is now ninety-years-old. On Wednesday, Van Maarsen, along with Albert Gomes de Mesquita (who went to school with Frank), threw Anne a ninetieth birthday party. In the same tiny apartment (now restored), with a familiar looking autograph book and the same seemingly endless supply of cookies.

 

Jacqueline van Maarsen, center left, and Albert Gomes de Mesquita, center right, school friends of Anne Frank, pose for a photo with students from the International School of Amsterdam during an event to mark what would have been Anne Frank's 90th birthday, in Amsterdam on Wednesday, June 12, 2019.
Image Via Time.com

Also in attendance were students from the International School of Amsterdam. Elbow to elbow, Van Maarsen and Gomes de Mesquita did their best to answer as many questions as they could. The pair were asked about everything from survival to general advise. How does one proceed in an unforgiving world?

 “I think you have to learn things from what happens. I’ve been helped by so many different people and they were Roman Catholic, Protestant, atheist, communist, rich, poor,” said Gomes de Mesquita. I’ve slept in twelve different places during hiding and my lesson is: Good people can be found everywhere.”

One student was particularly moved when Van Maarsen talked about how other people who endured the same hardships as Anne aren’t given the same amount of attention or appreciation.

“It was really incredible to meet them, not only as Anne’s friends but as survivors of the war,” said thirteen-year-old Sietse Munting. “I really tried to think about that and tried to think; ‘it’s not only Anne,’ he said. “Sure, we remember Anne because she’s very important — and we should remember her — but there were also many, many others who also faced this time.”

Although Anne Frank’s life may not have been long, what she was able to accomplish in her fifteen years of life, changed the world. Memoirs like hers make it impossible for us to ignore bigotry and violence. In a bittersweet way, the “truest friend” Anne desired came in the form of a gift she had chosen for herself. A gift that she shared her inner most thoughts and feelings with, and in doing so, confided in all of us.

 

Forever reminding us that we are not alone as long as we have a book.

 

 

Featured Image Via Time.com