Anne Frank 70 Years On: Our Vigil.

Last night, as part of a global tribute to mark the 70th anniversary of Anne Frank’s death, we lit candles and read passages from her diary out loud and recorded them to post on the official Facebook page.

My husband and son take part in our vigil to honour the life of Anne Frank.

My husband and son take part in our vigil to honour the life of Anne Frank.

I don’t know if anyone else in the family really appreciated its significance or what it meant to me personally but they went along with, no doubt what they thought was another one of Mum’s crazy ideas, somehow sensing that there was some import somewhere.

This is one of the passages we read out. I chose this one because although Anne Frank suffered, she also saw the good and had a real joie de vivre, even while being imprisoned and in hiding in the Secret Annexe.

‘As long as this exists’, I thought, ‘this sunshine and this cloudless sky, and as long as I can enjoy it, how can I be sad?’
The best remedy for those who are frightened, lonely or unhappy is to go outside; somewhere they can be alone, alone with the sky, nature and God. For then and only then can you feel that everything is as it should be and that God wants people to be happy amid nature’s beauty and simplicity.
As long as this exists, and that should be for ever, I know that there will be solace for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances. I firmly believe that nature can bring comfort to all who suffer.
Oh, who knows, perhaps it won’t be long before I can share this overwhelming feeling of happiness with someone who feels the same as I do.”

– Anne Frank: ‘Diary of A Young Girl, 23rd February, 1944.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve spoken to the kids about Anne Frank and or the horrors that she endured due to Nazi anti-Semitism and no doubt it’s going to take a few more attempts for the penny to finally drop and that one or both of them might also see the value in journalling as well, which I would love.

Our tribgute to Anne Frank at Sydney's Palm Beach. We lit a glowing circle of tea lights.

Our tribgute to Anne Frank at Sydney’s Palm Beach. We lit a glowing circle of tea lights.

The way I see it, the kids are like piggy banks. One coin might not seem like much and rattles around feeling lonely inside piggy’s empty belly. However, one by one, those gold coins start adding up and pretty soon that piggy is getting heavy and seriously worth breaking into. You have loot! You can go and blow all those savings on that much desired “something”!! (Sorry, I’m a spender not a saver. If you want investment advice, you came to the wrong blog…make that the very wrong blog!!)

When I was growing up, girls weren't supposed to even surf. There are so, so many things my daughter rightfully takes for granted!

When I was growing up, girls weren’t supposed to even surf. There are so, so many things my daughter rightfully takes for granted!

So, hopefully after last night, a few more gold coins have gone into their precious heads and they will appreciate and not take for granted the freedoms they have. The ability to say what they think without being put in gaol, although it may land them in time out! To appreciate that being able to walk along the beach, is a blessing and not something to take for granted because for us it is always there. I hope they will also appreciate that although alot of kids and teens feel their parents may not understand them and that some level of conflict with your parents is almost a right of passage through the teenage years, that they are very much loved and all any of us really can do is try and do our best. We are all mortal with feet of clay.

It has taken me the best part of a life time to appreciate that in my own parents. Even now, I’m now ashamed to admit that I’m their harshest critic. Mum and Dad, I am incredibly sorry for that and commit to change. It’s all very well to champion the Golden Rule but it’s also something I need to implement myself. As I somehow commit to change, I’ll just add that I’m not alone in this. Aren’t we all guilty of judging harshly and being so incredibly demanding of those who brought us into the world? They were no doubt young and naive like the rest of us and didn’t quite realise what they’d taken onboard. That parenting is a lifelong journey. That birth was only the beginning.

Although I’ve posted this link to an interview with Otto Frank, Anne’s father, before it’s worth repeating. He speaks such wisdom and like the rest of the world, we wish he could have had his family back. I could imagine the horrors he has endured!!

Here’s the link:

Like so many I cherish the memory of Anne Frank and send her our love and this quote I love from The Little Prince by St Exupery:

“You – you alone will have the stars as no one else has them…In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night…You – only you – will have stars that can laugh.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Love & blessings to you all and may we all know and appreciate what it means to live  in the free world and the joy of being able to step outside the four walls we call home!


11 thoughts on “Anne Frank 70 Years On: Our Vigil.

  1. amommasview

    Very well said. I like the piggy bank idea 😉 It makes a lot of sense and as long as we teach our children about the past and the wrong doing, they hopefully will pick up on it and make sure things like this will not repeat themselves…

  2. Gale Peta

    Loved your idea to celebrate Ann Frank’s life Rowena, your blog gave us goosebumps, great writing Gale & Peta

  3. TanGental

    Lovely post. Here’s my fav Mark Twain quote ‘When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.’ I think that applies to everyone going through their teenaged years.

  4. roweeee Post author

    Thanks very much. I stumbled across that when I was writing a comment to someone and developed it further. I must admit that it often feels like the coins are falling straight through the bottom but then they’ll say something and completely knock the socks off me and they’ve joined the dots together and have actually put some thought into it.
    You’re right. We do need to educate up coming generations about the horrors of the past so history doesn’t repeat.

  5. roweeee Post author

    Thanks so much for putting me onto that quote, Geoff. I think I’ve read it before but too long ago to be sure. Must share it with the kids. Get them thinking before they hit the teenage years. Need to give us parents a bit of a head start on the PR front.

  6. roweeee Post author

    Thank so much, Peta and Gale. The Easter party at Scouts inspired doing it with the candles and being down here without a hard copy of her diary or a printer, ended up having her photo up on the laptop, which was pretty high tech given Anne Frank probably wrote in ink and typewriters were technologically advanced.
    I thought I’d add the photo of Amelia teaching herself how to surf. My friend’s Dad and brother have always surfed and she surfed for a bit growing up but it really was so socially unacceptable that she stopped. It’s so easy to forget how far we’ve come, even though there’s still a long way to go! xx Ro

  7. MistressoftheInk

    Reading Anne Frank’s diary was a great source of inspiration for me growing up, and was also one of the reasons why I so diligently wrote in my journal. I didn’t know there were global tributes for her like the one you shared here, but I’m happy to learn it. Thank you for writing this post. 🙂

  8. Rowena Post author

    You’re welcome. I was stoked to find out about it. I also realised that she was born a month after my great aunt was born, which put her life into a different context..especially with us living in Australia and my great aunt grew up free and about to explore and be herself…such a contrast to Anne Frank.

  9. Rowena Post author

    You’re welcome. I only realised that coincidence when I was looking into that anniversary and writing for the blog. It certainly made me appreciate what Anne went through in a different light.

  10. Pingback: Beyond Anne Frank…Her Father’s Gift to the World. | beyondtheflow

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