Diary of a Young Girl

by: Anne Frank

War

1

If it’s that bad in Holland, what must it be like in those faraway and uncivilized places where the Germans are sending them? We assume that most of them are being murdered. The English radio says they’re being gassed. Perhaps that’s the quickest way to die.

After Anne learns of how Jewish people in Amsterdam are being mistreated, she wonders how bad the conditions are for the Jewish people in Germany. Even though Anne and her family are, at this point, safely protected from the war and all the dangers that other people on the outside face, her casual mention of gassing as “the quickest way to die” reveals how the war permeates their lives, to the point where a thirteen-year-old girl seems almost unfazed by the war’s horrors.

2

I could spend hours telling you about the suffering the war has brought, but I’d only make myself more miserable. All we can do is wait, as calmly as possible, for it to end. Jews and Christians alike are waiting, the whole world is waiting, and many are waiting for death.

As Anne writes about the suffering of the Jewish people who are not in hiding, she stops herself from going on because reminding herself of their situation and the reality they face only makes her sad. She acknowledges here that Jews are not the only people wishing for the end of the war. In addition to being horrified by what is happening to people in the concentration camps, she almost seems indifferent to how the war will end and only wishes that the situation will end soon. Her attitude shows how living through the war has destroyed her innocence.

3

We’ve been told of children searching forlornly in the smoldering ruins for their dead parents. It still makes me shiver to think of the dull, distant drone that signified the approaching destruction.

This excerpt comes from a very short passage in Anne’s diary the day after a bombing in North Amsterdam. Although Anne and the others in the Annex are safe from this type of danger, they are close enough to hear the drone before the attack, showing how close they live to real danger and how precarious their situation is. Anne’s description of children searching for their parents’ corpses shows that while the war has taken her innocence and former life from her, she understands that she could lose so much more.

4

I don’t believe the war is simply the work of politicians and capitalists. Oh no, the common man is every bit as guilty; otherwise, people and nations would have rebelled long ago! There’s a destructive urge in people, the urge to rage, murder and kill. And until all of humanity, without exception, undergoes a metamorphosis, wars will continue to be waged, and everything that has been carefully built up, cultivated and grown will be cut down and destroyed, only to start all over again!

After Anne writes about how everyone around her questions what the point of the war is, she seems exasperated by people’s inability to understand that a real answer to this question doesn’t exist. Here she states that violence and hatred are innate qualities in human beings and that, as such, this sort of war was inevitable. This line of thinking seems extreme for a fourteen-year-old, but, as Anne is living through the worst human massacre in history, readers may easily understand how she would come to feel this way.