It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. 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.

Anne writes this on July 15, 1944, less than one month before the Nazis arrest her and her family, sending them all to the concentration camps. This is perhaps the most well-known quotation from Anne’s diary because it is a brazen expression of optimism in the face of imminent and incomprehensible cruelty. The passage also provides a brief glimpse into Anne’s mind during her last days in the annex and demonstrates how much she has changed from when her family first went into hiding. At the beginning of her diary, Anne would likely never have had the self-insight to make such a sweeping statement. After two years of growth while living in extremely difficult circumstances, however, she is able to find within herself a core of hope and optimism. This passage is an example of Anne’s occasional and brilliant glimpses of lucidity and insight into her horrific situation.