On her birthday, June 12, read the most powerful Anne Frank quotes.
On Anne Frank’s 13th birthday, she received a red-and-white-checkered autograph book that she almost immediately began using as a diary. Less than a month later, Frank and her family went into hiding in the “Secret Annex” located in the office building of her father, Otto Frank. His most trusted employees, Victor Kugler, Johannes Kleiman, Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl, along with Gies’ husband, Jan Gies, and Voskuijl’s father, Johannes Voskuijl, risked their lives to aid the family by supplying them with food and other necessities.
Frank could pack only a precious few items, and her diary (which she named Kitty) was one of them. For the next two years, Frank recorded the details of life in the annex. One might expect that the subject matter of The Diary of a Young Girl would be inaccessible to young readers due to Frank’s extraordinary circumstances — but she wrote at length about the universal struggles of teenage girls, ranging from a complicated mother-daughter relationship to confusion about her developing body.
The young diarist never expected anyone to read her work, and that’s why so many Anne Frank quotes are incredibly stirring to read. With no ulterior motives, Frank penned her reflections on everything from hope to her belief in the inherent goodness of humans. The purity and vulnerability of her words are both heartbreaking and inspiring.
In August 1944 Frank, her family and the four other individuals hiding in the Secret Annex — Hermann, Auguste and Peter van Pels, and Fritz Pfeffer — were arrested by German police and sent to concentration camps.
Shortly after the arrests, Miep Gies returned to the Annex, where she found the pages of Frank’s now-iconic diary. Gies collected them with the intention of returning the diary to Frank when she came home. Instead, the diary was given to Otto Frank when he returned to Amsterdam as the sole survivor of the eight people who hid in the Annex.
Gies didn’t read Frank’s diary until after its publication, and this decision changed the course of how Holocaust history is taught all over the world. She explained that if she knew its contents before Liberation, she would’ve been forced to destroy the diary because it implicated the individuals who concealed and aided the Franks, van Pels and Pfeffer — a crime punishable by death.
In honor of the young writer whose words have changed the world, read some of the most powerful Anne Frank quotes that display her astounding resilience and optimism amid one of the most horrific atrocities in history.
On Finding Hope in the Darkest Times
1. “Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.”
2. “Those who have courage and faith shall never perish in misery.”
3. “I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness. I hear the ever-approaching thunder, which will destroy us too. I can feel the sufferings of millions, and yet if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right.”
4. “I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”
5. “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”
6. “Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.”
On the Strength of Women
7. “I know what I want, I have a goal, an opinion, I have a religion and love. Let me be myself and then I am satisfied. I know that I’m a woman, a woman with inward strength and plenty of courage.”
8. “Women should be respected as well! Generally speaking, men are held in great esteem in all parts of the world, so why shouldn’t women have their share?”
On Human Nature
9. “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. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death.”
10. “Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness. People are just people, and all people have faults and shortcomings, but all of us are born with a basic goodness.”
On Making a Difference & Speaking Up
11. “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
12. “Give and you shall receive, much more than you would have ever thought possible. Give, give again and again, don’t lose courage, keep it up and go on giving. No one has ever become poor from giving. If you do this, then in a few generations no one will need to pity the beggar children anymore, because they will not exist.”
13. “What is done cannot be undone, but one can prevent it happening again.”
14. “Whoever is happy will make others happy too.”
15. “People can tell you to keep your mouth shut, but it doesn’t stop you having your own opinions. Even if people are still very young, they shouldn’t be prevented from saying what they think.”
On Kindness & Character
16.“In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.”
17. “You can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness.”
18. “Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
On the Power of the Written Word
19. “If I’m engrossed in a book, I have to rearrange my thoughts before I can mingle with other people, because otherwise they might think I was strange.”
20. “Ordinary people don’t know how much books can mean to someone who’s cooped up.”
21. “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
22. “I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart.”
On the Legacy She Hoped to Leave Behind
When reading Anne Frank quotes, it’s fitting to conclude with her desire to live on through her writing.
23. “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, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me.”
Frank, who dreamed of becoming a journalist when she grew up, never imagined diary entries from her early teens would be turned into one of the most influential books in history. Since its publication in 1947, The Diary of a Young Girl has been translated into 70 languages, and over 30 million copies have been sold. The Secret Annex in Amsterdam is now The Anne Frank House, attracting approximately one million visitors per year.
Her life was tragically cut short, and Frank never even had the chance to reach her full potential. But she left behind a legacy that has inspired millions of readers to educate themselves further about the Holocaust, which is crucial if we want to prevent history from repeating itself. And as these Anne Frank quotes prove, even when faced with the most inhumane circumstances imaginable, it’s possible to find hope and look for the best in humanity.