Friday, december 24, 1943
As I’ve written you many times before, moods have a tendency to affect us quite a bit here, and in my case it’s been getting worse lately. “Himmelhoch jauchzend, zu Tode betrübt” certainly applies to me. I’m “on top of the world” when I think of how fortunate we are and compare myself to other Jewish children, and “in the depths of despair” when, for example, Mrs. Kleiman comes by and talks about Jopie’s hockey club, canoe trips, school plays and afternoon teas with friends.
I don’t think I’m jealous of Jopie, but I long to have a really good time for once and to laugh so hard it hurts. We’re stuck in this house like lepers, especially during winter and the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Actually, I shouldn’t even be writing this, since it makes me seem so ungrateful, but I can’t keep everything to myself, so I’ll repeat what I said at the beginning: “Paper is more patient than people.”
Whenever someone comes in from outside, with the wind in their clothes and the cold on their cheeks, I feel like burying my head under the blankets to keep from thinking, “When will we be allowed to breathe fresh air again?” I can’t do that—on the contrary, I have to hold my head up high and put a bold face on things, but thethoughts keep coming anyway. Not just once, but over and over.
Believe me, if you’ve been shut up for a year and a half, it can get to be too much for you sometimes. But feelings can’t be ignored, no matter how unjust or ungrateful they seem. I long to ride a bike, dance, whistle, look at the world, feel young and know that I’m free, and yet I can’t let it show. Just imagine what would happen if all eight of us were to feel sorry for ourselves or walk around with the discontent clearly visible on our faces. Where would that get us? I sometimes wonder if anyone will ever understand what I mean, if anyone will ever overlook my ingratitude and not worry about whether or not I’m Jewish and merely see me as a teenager badly in need of some good plain fun. I don’t know, and I wouldn’t be able to talk about it with anyone, since I’m sure I’d start to cry. Crying can bring relief, as long as you don’t cry alone. Despite all my theories and efforts, I miss—every day and every hour of the day—having a mother who understands me. That’s why with everything I do and write, I imagine the kind of mom I’d like to be to my children later on. The kind of mom who doesn’t take everything people say too seriously, but who does take me seriously. I find it difficult to describe what I mean, but the word “mom” says it all. Do you know what I’ve come up with? In order to give me the feeling of calling my mother something that sounds like “Mom,” I often call her “Momsy.” Sometimes I shorten it to “Moms”: an imperfect “Mom.” I wish I could honor her by removing the “s.” It’s a good thing she doesn’t realize this, since it would only make her unhappy.
Well, that’s enough of that. My writing has raised me somewhat from “the depths of despair.”
Annelies Marie Frank; 12 June 1929 – February or March 1945, was a German-born diarist and writer. One of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust, she gained fame posthumously following the publication of her diary, The Diary of a Young Girl, which documents her life in hiding from 1942 to 1944, during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. It is one of the world’s most widely known books and has been the basis for several plays and films.
Born in Frankfurt, Germany, she lived most of her life in or near Amsterdam, Netherlands, having moved there with her family at the age of four-and-a-half when the Nazis gained control over Germany. Born a German national, Frank lost her citizenship in 1941 and thus became stateless. By May 1940, the Franks were trapped in Amsterdam by the German occupation of the Netherlands. As persecutions of the Jewish population increased in July 1942, the family went into hiding in some concealed rooms behind a bookcase in the building where Anne’s father worked. From then until the family’s arrest by the Gestapo in August 1944, Anne kept a diary she had received as a birthday present, and wrote in it regularly. Following their arrest, the Franks were transported to concentration camps. In October or November 1944, Anne and her sister, Margot, were transferred to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp from Auschwitz, where they died (probably of typhus) a few months later. They were originally estimated by the Red Cross to have died in March, with Dutch authorities setting 31 March as their official date of death, but research by the Anne Frank House in 2015 suggests they more likely died in February.
Frank’s father, Otto, the only survivor of the family, returned to Amsterdam after the war to find that her diary had been saved by one of the helpers, Miep Gies, and his efforts led to its publication in 1947. It was translated from its original Dutch version and first published in English in 1952 as The Diary of a Young Girl, and has since been translated into over 60 languages.
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