Every morning I get a This Day in History notice in my inbox. Some events I really care about. And to be honest, others don't interest me so much.
Today's notice produced one of those gut wrenching moments you have when you realize something terrible just happened.
On this day in history Anne Frank was captured and taken to a Nazi concentration camp.
Which means of course that yesterday in history someone else was captured and taken to a concentration camp. And tomorrow in history? The same thing.
Every day is the anniversary of some tragic event. Not only in Holocaust history but just in general. The terrible beauty of Anne's simple, deeply touching diary is that this one account commemorates the stories of millions of Jewish lives devastated by the Holocaust. And I think I see it as a symbol of heartbreak in general. Lives interrupted. Longings expressed. Life hanging on...
I'm not sure how old I was when I first read Diary of a Young Girl. But I know it changed the course of my personal history. I didn't live in a fairy tale world before that. I'd experienced a few hard times. I knew about travesties that can happen to people.
But Anne's story took me more deeply than ever into the world's sorrow. I sat with her on the stairway and experienced all the hope, fear and irritations of life in the Secret Annexe. My heart beat faster when she fell in love with Peter. It faltered when she expressed fear of capture, and then eventually, it stopped when I turned the page and read that on August 4, 1944 the Gestapo broke in and carried her away.
And that her diary was found on the floor.
I'm sure Anne Frank is why I write history. And I suppose she is also why I write blue.
Just glancing through her diary again this morning, I saw how her spirit served as an example to a younger me. And I hope, that although I do write about hard topics, my stories will always reflect the sort of hope that Anne Frank expressed.
"I have often been downcast but never in despair; I regard our hiding as a dangerous adventure , romantic and interesting at the same time... I have been given a lot,a happy nature, a great deal of cheerfulness and strength. Every day I feel that I am devloping inwardly, that the liberation is drawing nearer and how beautiful nature is, how good people are about me, how interesting this adventure is! Why then, should I be in despair?"
Anne could have chosen depression or anger or resentment. Instead she embraced the narrow life of her confinement and enlarged it with her spirit.
She is my hero and I hope to live half as well as she did.