Anne Frank received her now-famous diary on this day in 1942, her 13th birthday. “I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support,” she wrote 71 years ago.
What she couldn’t have known then was just how fervently her teenage words would live on. Though Frank died in 1945 at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, before she turned 16, the diary she received on her 13th birthday remains her enduring legacy.
From the Anne Frank House:
The red checked diary was not really a surprise. Anne had chosen it the day before, together with her father, in the bookshop around the corner from their house on the Merwedeplein square. Anne began the diary with her life story, and with profiles of her classmates. A few weeks after her thirteenth birthday, on 6 July 1942, Anne went into hiding in the ‘secret annexe’ at her father’s business on the Prinsengracht canal. Her diary was the first thing she packed. It became her best friend, and would remain so for over two years.
Today would have been Frank’s 84th birthday.
Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.