I can remember the first time I read it. I was 13, the same age she started writing her now famous diary. Thirteen years old are the same., no matter if the year is 1942 or 1987. I always felt alone. I never felt I had “real friends”. I did not understand my mother at times. I adored my father.
There were some major differences between me and Anne: I was not being persecuted for my faith. I was not told that I did not see members of my family murdered.
When I first read her diary, I knew nothing of the Holocaust. I had no idea who Hitler and the Nazis were. I had no idea what a concentration camp was. My little worldview were everyone was always treated well was shattered.
In its place, something else grew.
The want to help others. The need to speak out. Something else happened also. Something no one could ever expect or imagine: a love of the Jewish people and their faith.
Since that time, I have admired, and been in awe of that beautiful group of people whose faith survived that horrible time (and every other time of persecution in their long history). The beautiful Jewish faith has comforted me in times of sorrow and has given me some of the happiest times in my life in the ensuing years. I have been accepted by those who were raised Jewish and treated as one of their own.
I am convinced this is why Judaism survives: LOVE. The love that they have for their fellow mankind is amazing considering their history.