She Inspires Me | Anne Frank

Slide31She Inspires Me is a Nonprofitunity original series that provides a digital intersection of philanthropy and amazing girls and women in history. Welcome to the debut volume dedicated to the sweet memory of my best friend from high school, Stacey Barton Johnson, whose 43rd birthday would have been today.

Anne Frank, 1929 – 1945 | Overview

The Diary of Anne Frank (also know as The Diary of a Young Girl) is the true story of a Jewish teenage girl with a literary gift who died in a concentration camp during World War II. In her diary, she describes her life and deep thoughts while she and her family lived in a Secret Annex hidden behind a bookcase. She left us a timeless message of courage, hope and respect.

Uploaded on YouTube April 2, 2011, this excellent video highlights the life of Anneliese Marie Frank, born in Frankfurt, Germany on June 12, 1929 to Otto and Edith Frank:

On her 13th birthday in 1942, Anne chose a red and white checkered autograph book with a small lock on the cover as her birthday present. This otherwise ordinary book would become her world-famous diary.

By 1944, aspiring writer Frank had found her voice, penning words that continue to inspire people of all ages:

“I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift… When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived!” – Anne Frank, April 5, 1944

“I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart… that peace and tranquility will return once more…” – Anne Frank, July 15, 1944

Her last journal entry was dated August 1, 1944. Three days later, Anne and the others hiding in the Secret Annex were arrested and taken to Auschwitz. Not long after, Anne and her older sister Margot were taken to the Bergen Belsen camp. Both Anne and Margot contracted typhus, and it is believed they died just a few days apart in early March 1945.

In her father Otto Franks’ memoir, he shares his post-war revelations about his daughter’s writings: “I had no idea of the depth of her thoughts and feelings… She had kept all these feelings to herself. ” Inspired by her desire to become a writer, he pursued having her works published. Anne Frank’s diary was first published in 1947. About sharing her diary he once said: “To build up a future you have to know the past.” In his own words:

The diary is on permanent exhibition in the “Diary room” at the Anne Frank House in Berlin.

Anne Frank would have turned 84 this year.

Charitable Herstory

Anne Frank’s legacy moves forward through a variety of charitable, educational and cultural efforts.

Her story was literally brought to life with a Broadway production in 1955 that led to a Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize, as well as a film in 1959 that received three Academy Awards. Over the years there have been plays, movies and musicals based on Anne Frank across the country and around the globe.

In 1957, a dedicated community group rallied to save the Frank family hiding place in Amsterdam by establishing the Anne Frank House museum.

AnneBy 1960, the Anne Frank House was opened with a top priority of preserving the hiding place. In 1963, Otto Frank established the Anne Frank Fonds (Foundation) (AFF) in Basle, Switzerland to promote charitable work and to play a social and cultural role in keeping the spirit of Anne Frank alive forever. According to their website, it was a particular wish of Otto Frank that the Foundation contributes to “better understanding between different religions, promoting peace between people and to encourage global interactions between the young.”

Today, the AFF advocates the fight against antisemitism and studies the activities of present day racists, providing significant impact that honors Anne Frank’s true wish to increase tolerance for others. Highlights include:

  • the care of children in crisis situations
  • Sri Lankan school where poor children receive education, care, food and clothing
  • Annual “Peace Days” in Bergen, organized on Anne Frank’s birthday for young people from around the globe
  • Support for the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam
  • Programs and services for the care and rehabilitation of refugees and victims of torture whose human rights have been seriously violated
  • Annual medical funding for non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews from Nazi extermination

The Anne Frank Center USA (AFC) was founded in 1977 in partnership with the Anne’s father and the Anne Frank House. The mission of the Center is:

“to use the diary and spirit of Anne Frank as unique tools to advance her legacy, to educate young people and communities in the U.S. and Canada about the dangers of intolerance, antisemitism, racism and discrimination, and to inspire the next generation to build a world based on equal rights and mutual respect.”

The AFC fulfills its mission through:

  • the North American Traveling Exhibition Program
  • the Exhibition and Education Center in New York City
  • the 15th Annual Spirit of Anne Frank Awards: In honor of the anniversary of Anne Frank’s birthday, the Anne Frank Center honors Anne’s effort to improve the world with awards to those who have demonstrated outstanding commitments to take a stand against discrimination of all kinds
  • the development of educational materials and programs for teachers and students

Screen Shot 2013-07-20 at 11.11.15 PM

“The faces of Anne Frank” is an original series of paintings by Myra Roberts [].

The Anne Frank House located in Washington, D.C. was established in 1987 as a community service project of Adas Israel Congregation. Originally established as a single home providing housing and services exclusively for women, today the organization provides permanent housing to homeless men and women with chronic mental illnesses within Washington, DC.

The Frank family’s former apartment in Amsterdam where Anne Frank spent her childhood was renovated in 1997 and is available free of charge to writers, poets or journalists threatened or persecuted in their own country because of their writings. In 2004 the Anne Frank Foundation bought the apartment and partners with the Amsterdam Refugee Town Foundation to coordinate arrangements for guest writers. Masresha Mammo is the 2013 guest writer currently living in the former Frank apartment.

On May 2, 2011, Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, the Anne Frank Memorial was dedicated in the Forest of the Martyrs in the Jerusalem hills among six million trees – one for every Jew who was killed. This tribute was made possible by a gift from the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund.

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God…As long as this exists…I know that there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”  -Anne Frank, February 23, 1944

Thirteen-year old’s certainly change the world, and Anne Frank’s legacy continues to inspire another generation of teenagers. Case in point: the Thirteen in 13 writing campaign asking the young people of Britain to tell the Prime Minister what would make a better future for them. Highlights from some of the entries are found in ‘s article “Anne Frank’s legacy: British teenage girls call for David Cameron to lower the voting age” and include bullying, body image and lowering the voting age. Stay up to date on the Thirteen in 13 Facebook page.

Screen Shot 2013-07-20 at 10.43.07 AMAnother recent initiative inspired by Anne Frank is The Sapling Project. The Anne Frank Center USA launched the initiative in 2009 and announced earlier this year the eleven sites chosen to receive a sapling in addition to a national educational component: Confronting Intolerance Today: Lessons from Anne Frank. The program is designed  to promote “justice and tolerance in American,” along with a speaker series and temporary exhibits. Learn more about Confronting Intolerance Today and get involved at Speak up.

The newest endeavor of the Anne Frank Fonds is the establishment of the Frank Family Centre in Frankfurt, German:

From their website: “The planned new permanent exhibition in the Jewish Museum of Frankfurt will present the story of the Stern, Frank and Elias families in the context of a German-Jewish history that spanned centuries and ended abruptly with the extermination of Jews in the Holocaust. The Frank-Elias family association goes back a long way in the history of Frankfurt. The first documents stem from the 16th and 17th centuries. The oldest portrait of a Frankfurt Jew, painted in 1671, is of Süsskind Stern, a direct ancestor of Anne Frank’s family.”

Uploaded on YouTube November 18, 2009, this moving instrumental “A Song for Anne Frank,” is available on iTunes and Amazon. It was written in 2001 and first recorded in 2005 by Bauer and Bentle:

I invite you to learn more about Anne Frank and her philanthropic legacy. The links below may lead you to a better understanding on why She Inspires Me. Does she inspire you? If so, please take a few minutes to share with us in the comments thread.

Deeper digital content [last updated: July 23, 2013]




The English translation of The Diary of Anne Frank was updated and published in 1995 with content previously omitted.




Interested in collaborating and contributing content to She Inspires Me? Please drop me a line!


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