Quote: First published in 1947 and since translated into about 70 languages and selling around 100,000,000 copies worldwide The Diary Of Anne Frank has been praised for its literary merits.
As Anne Frank's stature as both a writer and humanist has grown, she has been discussed specifically as a symbol of the Holocaust and more broadly as a representative of persecution.
Commenting on Anne Frank's writing style, the dramatist Meyer Levin commended Frank for "Sustaining the tension of a well constructed novel" and was so impressed by the quality of her work that he collaborated with Otto Frank on a dramatization of the diary shortly after its publication. Meyer became obsessed with Anne Frank, which he wrote about in his autobiography The Obsession.
The poet John Berryman called the book a unique depiction, not merely of adolescence but of the "Conversion of a child into a person as it is happening in a precise, confident, economical style stunning in its honesty."
In her introduction to the diary's first American edition, Eleanor Roosevelt described it as "One of the wisest and most moving commentaries on war and its impact on human beings that I have ever read."
John F. Kennedy discussed Anne Frank in a 1961 speech, and said, "Of all the multitudes who throughout history have spoken for human dignity in times of great suffering and loss, no voice is more compelling than that of Anne Frank."
In the same year, the Soviet writer Ilya Ehrenburg wrote of her: "One voice speaks for six million the voice not of a sage or a poet but of an ordinary little girl."
Hillary Rodham Clinton, in her acceptance speech for an Elie Wiesel Humanitarian Award in 1994, read from Anne Frank's diary and spoke of her "Awakening us to the folly of indifference and the terrible toll it takes on our young,"
After receiving a humanitarian award from the Anne Frank Foundation in 1994, Nelson Mandela addressed a crowd in Johannesburg, saying he had read Anne Frank's diary while in prison and "Derived much encouragement from it." He likened her struggle against Nazism to his struggle against apartheid, drawing a parallel between the two philosophies: "Because these beliefs are patently false, and because they were, and will always be, challenged by the likes of Anne Frank, they are bound to fail."
Primo Levi suggested Anne Frank is frequently identified as a single representative of the millions of people who suffered and died as she did because "One single Anne Frank moves us more than the countless others who suffered just as she did but whose faces have remained in the shadows. Perhaps it is better that way; if we were capable of taking in all the suffering of all those people, we would not be able to live."
In her closing message in Müller's biography of Anne Frank, Miep Gies expressed a similar thought, though she attempted to dispel what she felt was a growing misconception that "Anne symbolizes the six million victims of the Holocaust", writing: "Anne's life and death were her own individual fate, an individual fate that happened six million times over. Anne cannot, and should not, stand for the many individuals whom the Nazis robbed of their lives, But her fate helps us grasp the immense loss the world suffered because of the Holocaust."
In June 1999 Time magazine published a special edition titled "Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century". Anne Frank was selected as one of the "Heroes & Icons", and the writer, Roger Rosenblatt, described her legacy with the comment, "The passions the book ignites suggest that everyone owns Anne Frank, that she has risen above the Holocaust, Judaism, girlhood and even goodness and become a totemic figure of the modern world the moral individual mind beset by the machinery of destruction, insisting on the right to live and question and hope for the future of human beings."
Simon Wiesenthal expressed a similar sentiment when he said that the diary had raised more widespread awareness of the Holocaust than had been achieved during the Nuremberg Trials, because "People identified with this child. This was the impact of the Holocaust, this was a family like my family, like your family and so you could understand this."
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