Large Print Reviews
The Diary of a Young Girl
By Anne Frank
Read by Julie Harris
Diary of a Young Girl
By Anne Frank
Read by Julie Harris
The Audio Partners Publishing Corp., (1973)
An Abridged Recording on Two Cassettes
Genre: Memoir - Holocaust
Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - March 7, 2003
Anne Frank was Jewish. She was born in Frankfurt, Germany on June 12, 1929. In 1933 her family moved to Amsterdam to escape the rising tide of Nazi persecution. The Netherlands welcomed the Franks and thousands of other Jews who fled before the onslaught of German Anti-Semitism. Life in Amsterdam was good for them; that is until everything changed in 1940.
On May 10th, 1940, the Netherlands was invaded by the Germans. In short order, the horrors that the Franks had fled from in Germany began to materialize in Amsterdam. Faced with the prospect of being murdered outright or consigned to forced (slave) labor camps, or worse, Nazi death camps, Otto Frank, Anne's father, devised a scheme to hide the family. In 1942, the Frank family went into hiding.
For just over two years, Anne, her sister Margot, her mother Edith, her father, and several family friends managed to hide-out in a small annex behind Otto's business offices. During this period, Anne kept a diary, to which she confided her hopes and fears. Her diary ends abruptly. An informant revealed their location to the Nazis, and the family was captured and eventually deported to Auschwitz. Anne and her sister Margot were later transferred to the Bergen-Belsen Concentration camp.
Margot died of typhus around the beginning or middle of March of 1945, Anne died about a week later, ostensibly of the same disease. However, their illness was exacerbated by ill treatment, unsanitary and cramped 'living' conditions, lack of food, and unmitigated horror. Anne Frank was fifteen years old at the time of her death. Two weeks after she died, the camp was liberated by Allied forces.
On June 12, 1942, Anne received a diary as a present on the occasion of her thirteenth birthday. She began writing in it almost immediately, and she maintained the dairy through the long months she spent in hiding. Anne and her family went into hiding on July 5, 1942. They were betrayed on August 4, 1944. Anne confided everything to her diary, from her hopes for the future and her anger at being forced into hiding, to her growing interest in boys and her fights with her mother. Anne's diary gives the reader an intimate look into a young girl's life during harrowing circumstances and provides a look at one family's attempt, and failure, to avoid being consumed by the Nazi killing machine.
After Anne and her family where deported, Miep Gies, a family friend who had helped hide the Frank family, found Anne's diary. She hid the diary until after the war, when she returned it to Otto Frank. Otto was the only member of the Frank family to survive the Holocaust, which took the lives of over six million of European Jews. Otto had Anne's diary published. Had he not done so, Anne would have been consigned to the pages of history as one of the countless unnamed dead who lie buried in mass, unmarked graves as a legacy of Nazi atrocities.
The publication of Anne's diary ensured that she would be remembered, and that future generations would be able to personalize and hopefully better understand a period of time that is so utterly unimaginable in its cruelty. This abridged audio edition of The Diary of a Young Girl joins a long list of published versions of Anne's diary, which has been published in over 55 languages. It is an acknowledged classic of Holocaust literature.
This edition is read by the dramatic actress Julie Harris. Her reading of the diary is lively and poignant, matching the highs and low of Anne's narrative. The text of this edition of Anne's diary is only slightly abridged, and it fully captures Anne's vitality, her love of life, and her faith in the innate goodness of all people. It also explicitly examines the difficulties she encountered while living in the annex. Anne also takes a candid look at the interpersonal problems that emerged among the people forced to live in the close environment of the annex, and the stresses that they endured.
The Diary of a Young Girl does not touch upon the horrific incidents that the Frank family endured after they were betrayed. As such it is an 'easy' read, in so far that it does not describe the atrocities perpetrated against the Franks after they fell into the hands of the Nazis. However, it does offer a poignant and telling glimpse at the life of a young girl whose life was taken from her simply because she happened to be Jewish. The vigor of Anne's writing, and her obvious joy in life offers readers a harsh lesson when juxtaposed against the evil and barbarity of the Nazi regime and the Nazi's systematic slaughter of European Jewry.
To learn more about Anne Frank and her family, visit the following websites:
For information on the Holocaust, visit:
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- Anne Frank's Story: Her Life Retold for Children, by Carol Ann Lee.
A concise biography of Anne Frank, written especially for children. This work covers Anne's life from her birth, until her untimely death at the age of fifteen. It provides intimate details about her early life and education, the years the family spent in hiding after the Nazi's invaded Holland, and the circumstances surrounding Anne's death in the Bergen-Belsen Concentration camp. (Audio)
- All But My Life, by Gerda Weissmann Klein.
This is Gerda Weissmann's memoir of the six years she spent under Nazi tyranny, during which she spent three years in Nazi forced labor camp. This story also recounts her liberation and her meeting with Kurt Klein, the young man who was to become her husband. All But My Life is a horrific and heart wrenching story, yet it is also surprising uplifting. It is a classic of Holocaust literature. (Audio)
- The Holocaust, by Martin Gilbert.
In this classic work of Holocaust literature, Martin Gilbert chronicles the near destruction of European Jewry at the hands of the Nazi death machine. Following a chronologically driven format, Gilbert deftly interweaves mind numbing statistics with eyewitness accounts to tell the story of what happened during the Holocaust, and how and why these events occurred. (Audio)
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