“That's the difficulty in these times: ideals, dreams, and cherished hopes rise within us, only to meet the horrible truth and be shattered. It's really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet, I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
Anne Frank (1929 - 1945)
When I was 10 years old, I read my mum’s copy of The Diary of Anne Frank. At that time, I read the book with the mind of a young girl, reading about this other young girl obliged to live a part of her life hidden and secretly in an annex in Amsterdam, during the years of the Second World War. It was when I referred to the Second World War as a time when all Germans were bad people, the Netherlands were occupied by the Germans, Jews were hiding and murdered, there were some very brave people who secretly helped people in danger, and my grandfather had to hide too, to avoid working in Germany.
Fifteen years later, I came across a copy of her book in a Dutch shop, bought it and read her book again. In the meantime, I had gained a lot more knowledge on and interest in the Second World War, visited Auschwitz and Buchenwald and could put Anne Frank’s life in a historical perspective, yet knowing that stories like Anne’s can unfortunately still be written today. This time, I was impressed by the ideas, the sentences, the words she wrote down in her diary. I was impressed by the views on the world and mankind she developed when she was only 14-15 years old. An age, in which most girls are not ready yet to think beyond a brand of shoes, boys and going out. She however, was thinking about ideals and what she wanted to accomplish in life, and yet, had to deal with growing up hidden in an annex, not being able to go outside or breathing in fresh air in a garden. I was struck by her thoughts and dreams, and her way of writing. She gave the world a piece of her wisdom, gave the world advice, and gave the world hope, and that all in a diary she kept in wartime.
This quote of Anne Frank is one of my favourite quotes. Not only because of her insight, but also because, in the mid of cruelty, war, and a hopeless situation, she is still able to show her hope in mankind, believe that people have hearts, and can do good. Every time I read it, situations in my life, (health) problems or worries loose their importance, and simultaneously, both this quote and thinking back of Anne Frank’s story, give inspiration to do make the best out of life.
It’s incredible that Anne Frank believes in good hearts of people in wartime, which motivates me to believe in good hearts of people in the current peaceful, yet insecure times.
Ideals might be absurd and dreams might never come true, but the world needs people to follow and cherish both, as the reality of our world is already painful and disgraceful enough. Anne Frank, only 15 years old when she died in a concentration camp, gave us a book filled with her hopes and views on the world. Her life was too short, but she will always be remembered with a dream of a better world.