Anne Frank a History for Today

Anne Frank’s diary more than just the musings of a thirteen-year-old school girl

Anne Frank’s diary, Kitty, begins in June 1942.

“Writing in a diary is a really strange experience for someone like me. Not only because I’ve never written anything before, but also because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year old school girl.”   

Anne was wrong. Hers were not the musing of a thirteen-year old girl, but the powerful words of a writer, a writer with a strong style. Anne was well aware of the grim world around her – she heard the approaching thunder – yet, she still clung to the hope that peace and tranquility would return once more.

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” 

“It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart. It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death.

“I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness. I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.”

“In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.” 

“Women should be respected as well! Generally speaking, men are held in great esteem in all parts of the world, so why shouldn’t women have their share?”

“Women, who struggle and suffer pain to ensure the continuation of the human race, make much tougher and more courageous soldiers than all those big-mouthed, freedom-fighting heroes put together!” 

“People can tell you to keep your mouth shut, but it doesn’t stop you having your own opinion. Even if people are still very young, they shouldn’t be prevented from saying what they think.” 

“We, who fill our stomachs with nothing but boiled lettuce, raw lettuce, spinach, spinach and more spinach. Maybe we’ll end up being as strong as Popeye, though so far I’ve seen no sign of it!” 

Anne’s diary ends on the morning of August 1. On August 4, Anne, her family and the others hiding in the attic behind Prinsengracht 263 were betrayed to the Gestapo and the Dutch police. Anne was murdered in Bergen-Belsen some time in February 1945. She was 15.

“Nearly every morning, I go to the attic to blow the stuffy air out of my lungs. From my favorite spot on the floor, I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver, and at the seagulls and other birds as they glide on the wind. As long as this exists, this sunshine, the cloudless skies, while this lasts I cannot be unhappy.”

“Our chestnut tree is in full bloom. It is covered with leaves and is even more beautiful than last year.”

More than 2,300 students from the Toronto District School Board’s 86 schools had an opportunity to experience Anne Frank: A History for Today, a replica of Anne Frank’s diary, photos and a video, describing the events in Germany, Europe, the Second World War and the Holocaust.

The program – part of Jewish Heritage Month – was on display in May at John Polanyi Collegiate and open to the public May 10 and 28.

“We remember the chestnut tree that Anne talked about in her diary. She could see it but she couldn’t go out and touch it,” says Shari Schwartz-Maltz, the Toronto District School Board’s media relations manager and chair of the Jewish Heritage Committee.

“Anne is filled with inspiration and hope for us because, despite her circumstances she always had hope,” says Schwartz-Maltz.”

Part of the display is a green and brown cardboard replica of Anne’s chestnut tree.

Schwartz-Maltz says “Once the kids have time to reflect, we ask the kids to write a leaf with their feelings. The messages are very powerful and heart felt. Their messages give me a lot of hope too.”

“We come from all walks of life and we should love and appreciate one another always.”

“Someone of Anne’s age should not have had to experience that kind of evil. It’s hard to believe she stayed so strong during her time in that secret annex.”

“Anne was such a brave girl. We can all learn from her story.”

“If you make a difference in the world, the world can make a difference for you.”

 “Accept everyone.”

“There’s always hope in humanity.”

 “We hope for world peace.”

“Keep the peace. Stop fighting.”

“Love. Don’t hate. Stand up for what is right.”

 “Always have hope.”

 For more information about the program, visit and

 With files from