Tag Archives: veronica leigh

Anne Frank: An Inspirational Life

On December 30th, 1998, I turned twelve years old. Like every twelve-year-old, I had a party. Family and friends came over to celebrate and showered me with presents. One stood out among the others and continues to stand out to this day. My aunt’s gift was a girl’s diary. I peeled back the wrapping paper, read the title aloud, and looked to her for an explanation. I had never heard of Anne Frank. It interested me, though, since I was a bookworm.

The following day, I found an inscription inside. Veronica: Anne Frank was just a year older than you when she began this diary. It became her personal refuge when she and her family were forced into hiding from the Nazis. She died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the age of 15 and was probably buried in a mass grave, but her thoughts live on. This book has meant a great deal to me since I first read it at age 12. I hope it does to you, as well.—Aunt Barbara.

This intrigued me. Who was Anne? Why was her diary published? Who were the Nazis? I read. Though I liked the girl the diary entries introduced me to, it confused me. Why was she persecuted for being Jewish? What was going on in Europe during the 1940s? At that time in my life, I knew next to nothing about WWII. This was sad since my grandfather had been in the Airborne and fought in the ETO.

annefrank002Through added research, I soon learned Anne Frank was a girl after my own heart. A deep, abiding love for her developed. Born in Germany, she and her family fled the Fatherland when the Nazis came to power. As Jews, the Nazis would have targeted and killed them if they remained. Anne, her parents, and sister Margot settled in the Netherlands. They lived carefree lives until Germany invaded in 1940. This time the Frank family could not escape. They made plans to go into hiding. Her father, Otto, worked with his friends and employees to prepare for his family’s “disappearance” and their subsequent stay in his office building’s attic. The Frank’s would hide with another family and one other.

On Anne’s thirteenth birthday, she received a gift that changed her life: a diary. In it she recorded all her thoughts and feelings. It became a witness of the suffering she and the other Jews experienced under the thumbs of the Nazis. When it was time for her family to go into hiding, Anne brought her diary with her. For two years, the Frank’s, the van Pel’s family, and Fritz Pfeffer hid in the annex. They hoped one day the war would end and they could be free. Under their noses, Anne blossomed into a wise, strong, independent girl. On hearing a radio broadcast asking for people to save their diaries and letters for post-war publication, she rewrote her diary. Anne intended to publish it someday.

The fateful day came when the Nazis arrested Anne, her family, and friends and sent them to Auschwitz. Only Otto survived. On learning of his daughters’ deaths, one of the helpers gave him Anne’s diary. He published it and spent the rest of his life sharing her story.

They say there is a book that changes your life forever. For me, that was The Diary of Anne Frank. It has influenced me as much as the Bible. My life has never been the same since I met Anne Frank. I’ve spent years studying the Holocaust and have written almost as many years writing about it. Anne taught me to persevere, to believe in the good of humanity, to never give up my faith. In 2015, I fulfilled my dream of visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau, where Anne, her family and friends, and over a million others perished. Maybe someday I will visit the Frank family’s hiding place. No matter how much studying I do on the Holocaust, I know the next time I open Anne Frank’s diary, I will fall in love with her all over again.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Veronica Leigh has been published in several anthologies and her work has appeared on GoWorldTravel.com and the Artist Unleashed, and she has published a couple of fictional stories. She makes her home in Indiana with her family and her furbabies. To learn more about her, visit her blog.

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Pride, Prejudice, & Deceit

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the love triangle trope is as popular now as it was when it was first invented. No matter how many versions, how many different settings, and situations—it never grows old. We like it when the heroine feels torn between two different men and must make a heart-wrenching decision. Jane Austen was perhaps the queen of the love triangle since it featured so often in her novels. My favorite of hers is in Pride and Prejudice, because the Lizzy, Darcy, and Wickham are so closely linked. The introductions of Darcy and Wickham propels Lizzy’s story forward, and it’s a catalyst for Lizzy’s prejudice against Darcy and preference for Wickham. Continue reading

The Lion, The Witch, & the Wardrobe

My Dear Lucy,

I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result, you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still…

Your affectionate Godfather,

CS Lewis Continue reading

Frances Burney

While now known through Jane Austen aficionados as one of Austen’s favorite novelists, for a while the world largely forgot Frances “Fanny” Burney. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Fanny’s social satires and comedy of manners were the books to read. Young Jane Austen subscribed to a circulating library to read Fanny’s latest novel. It influenced her enough she borrowed from said works and incorporated them in her own canon. The wealthy man’s pursuit of a social inferior, the buffoonish suitor, vulgar relatives, the name Willoughby, the phrase “Pride and Prejudice” itself—all originated with Fanny Burney. Continue reading

Forever Trapped

NOV/ DEC 2017: BY VERONICA LEIGH

A day is 24 hours long, but we often feel that isn’t enough. We try to manage our minutes wisely, to accomplish as much as possible every day. I fall short. More than once I have wished to have more time or I could somehow do something different, to change the course of events. Continue reading

The Brontë Sisters

HALLOWEEN 2017: VERONICA LEIGH

Emily was in an uproar. Known for her volatile temper, she was furious when her older sister Charlotte discovered her private poetry and dared to read it. Her younger sister Anne offered some of her own poetry to read, to keep the peace, which led to a wild suggestion. They could try to publish their work together in a volume, to see if they could turn a profit. They needed money; they needed to find some way to provide for themselves. Continue reading

Queen Esther

SEPT / OCT 2017: BY VERONICA LEIGH

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14.

Queen Esther was born as Hadassah, in 5th century B.C.E., to a Hebrew family. Her family descended from the Tribe of Benjamin, her ancestors were among the Jewish people taken in the remnant exiled to Babylon. After seventy years of exile, some of the Jews returned to Israel, while Hadassah’s branch and many others remained in what became Persia. No one knows what became of Hadassah’s parents, but her cousin Mordecai took her under his wing and raised her. While she and Mordecai lived in a pagan land and associated with unbelievers, we can probably assume that Hadassah had a typical, observant upbringing. Neither she nor Mordecai could have known what lay ahead of her… or their people. Continue reading