‘The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition’ is a book that was written by Anne Frank. She was a Jewish teenage girl who was living in a very difficult time in which Jews were victims of the Nazi laws and persecution during World War II. She received the diary as a birthday present. She wrote on it the most important events toward the war and her everyday life, until three days before all the residents of the Secret Annex were arrested. Anne Frank`s diary has been one of the most important books that provide descriptions about the genocide in which millions of Jews were killed. For that reason, in this book review, I am going to give a brief description of three different stages of Anne’s life: prior hiding life, living in the Secret Annex with other residents and the arrest of all the residents of the Secret Annex.
In the first part, Anne described her life before living in the hiding place. She received the diary on June 12, 1942, as a birthday present. She started describing the activities she did in her everyday life. She wrote that she did not have a true friend to talk with. So, Anne decided to name her diary ‘Kitty’. In Kitty she wrote what was happening after the arrival of the Germans; the Jews' freedom was restricted by the anti- Jewish decrees. According to Professor Gregory Stanton, the first stages of genocide are: classification, symbolization, and dehumanization in which people`s differences are not respected, people are excluded from certain activities, names or symbols are given to those who are different and human rights and personal dignity are taken away.
According to what Anne wrote, those German`s anti-Jewish decrees forbidden almost everything to Jewish people. Jews could not use cars, only use bicycles and walk. They were required to wear David`s yellow star, buy only during certain hours a day or not assist to some places. It was until July 8, 1942, when Anne`s father received a call- up notice from the SS. The call was directed to her sister Margot. Then was when the idea of moving into a hiding place became true. Anne left the house, only with many layers of clothes, and her most important belongings into her schoolbag in direction to the unknown, early in the morning of the next day.
The second part is about Anne Living in the Secret Annex with the other seven people. It took place on July 9, 1942, until August 1, 1944. The Secret Annex was located in her father`s office building. Just some people were informed and those people helped them with everything they could. While being there, they had to be completely quiet during the time in which employees were working, to not be discovered because of any kind of noise that could be heard. Mr. Van Daan was a very good friend of Otto Frank. His family went to live there a few days after and then Mr. Dussel.
In the beginning, everything was very difficult. Anne had many problems with most of the residents of the secret annex including her mother. The complex and multiple personality threats of the residents, the tension, and loneliness, the fight for food and to be afraid of being discovered made those years very difficult to stand. Also, it was during this time when she was very aware of her body and personality changes. She fell in love with Peter and shared her first kiss with him. She was curious about her sexuality and acquired a different point of view of everything. It was during this stage in Anne`s life when we can have more information about her personality, fears, desires, and ambitions.
Also, it was during this stage when Anne wrote that people in concentration camps were killed in many ways and died because they did not have food or clothes. She was horrified about being arrested and be taken to her death. She wanted to keep her hope and think about her future after the war ends. She was thankful for being living in hiding in the secret Annex instead of being outside with the Jews who were arrested and killed. Although, most of the time her life was at risk.
The third and last part began on the morning of August 4, 1944. When Anne and the other seven people who lived in the secret Annex were discovered and arrested by an SS sergeant and three members of the Dutch security police. The same happened with their helpers. Anne and Margot died in Bergen Belsen concentration camp because of the Typhus just a few months before the concentration camp was liberated in April, 1945. The only one who survived was Anne`s father. He was the one who shared Anne`s diary respecting her beliefs and desire to share the diary with the world.
I think ‘The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition’ is a very well written book. It provides descriptions of real-life situations that connect people thanks to the vivid descriptions that the writer provided about her life and the events that were taking place during those years. The richness of vocabulary and cultural background helps language learners to have access to an enormous source of knowledge and makes them to look further and find out how related were the events in the book with history.