Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".
“Although I’m only fourteen, I know quite well what I want, I know who is right and who is wrong. I have my opinions, my own ideas and principles, and although it may sound pretty mad from an adolescent, I feel more of a person than a child, I feel quite independent of anyone.”
Hiding in an office annex in Amsterdam, Anne Frank poured her heart out in a diary that millions of children have grown up reading. What the little girl wrote in her diary tells us that we lost an extraordinarily talented and gifted young writer, who brought out the best from a world that was slowly crashing down upon her.
After Adolf Hilter and the Nazis came to power, the rest is history. Anne, her parents and older sister moved to the Netherlands from Germany. They went into hiding in a secret apartment located behind her father’s business in German-occupied Amsterdam.
Otto Frank, Anne’s father, the sole survivor of the family that was taken away to concentration camps, found her diary, which became an iconic contribution to English literature.
However, while we thought Anne Frank’s diary was all that she left behind, there is actually more to it than we knew. A lot of her tales remained untold until now.
10-year-old Anne Frank in Amsterdam sent a postcard to her pen pal in Iowa in 1940, a few months before Hitler ordered Jews in Germany to wear yellow stars.
In the post card, the writer, who had no idea about the future that awaited her, wrote, “This picture shows one of the many old canals of Amsterdam. But this is only one of the old city. There are also big canals and over all those canals are bridges. There are about 340 bridges within the city.”
This postcard has now become a part of ‘Anne Frank: The Collected Works’, a new 733-page historical volume that contains everything that Anne wrote before they were caught hiding.
The iconic diary is, of course, a part of the volume. But besides the diary, the book also contains other drafts that were not previously published for the general audience, including snippets that Otto Frank had edited out.
This is not all. There are hundreds of letters, fables and short stories that show us the world through the eyes of a young girl who saw it in a way none of us ever can.
Previously unpublished letters that she had written to her grandmother, Alice Frank, paint a picture of a happy little girl struggling to hold on to her childhood.
“I’m now taking figure-skating lessons, where you learn to waltz, jump and everything else that goes with figure skating,” Anne Frank wrote in a letter to her grandmother and cousins.
She wrote another letter to her grandmother that spring, in 1941. “I wish I could start ice skating again, but I’ll just have to have a little more patience until the war is over,” she wrote. “If Papa can still afford it I’ll get figure-skating lessons again, and when I can skate really well Papa has promised me a trip to Switzerland, to see all of you.”
Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. In the summer of 1942, Anne wrote a postcard to her grandmother, saying, “The weather is glorious and we’re out on an excursion, and because there are such nice postcards we thought of you.”
This was the last one she wrote. There were no other postcards and letters after this.
“All the best,” she wrote. “Anne.”
In a matter of weeks, Anne and her family went into hiding. They never got to taste freedom again.
“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again,” Anne wrote in her diary, while in hiding.
All these years later, her words are still heartbreaking.
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