I see the eight of us with our ‘Secret Annexe’ as if we were a little piece of blue heaven, surrounded by heavy black rain clouds. The round, clearly defined spot where we stand is still safe, but the clouds gather more closely about us and the circle which separates us from the approaching danger closes more and more tightly. Now we are so surrounded by danger and darkness that we bump against each other, as we search desperately for a means of escape. We all look down below, where people are fighting each other, we look above, where it is quiet and beautiful, and meanwhile we are cut off by the great dark mass, which will not let us go upwards, but which stands before us as an impenetrable wall; it tries to crush us, but cannot do so yet. I can only cry and implore: ‘Oh, if only the black circle could recede and open the way for us!’
I shall not remain insignificant, I shall work in the world for mankind….I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living, even after my death.
Topics: Greatness, Purpose
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. 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, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.
Topics: People, Attitude, Character, Peace, Hope, Ideal, Goodness, Idealism, Ideals, Believe
Is discord going to show itself while we are still fighting, is the Jew once again worth less than another? Oh, it is sad, very sad, that once more, for the umpteenth time, the old truth is confirmed: What one Christian does is his own responsibility, what one Jew does is thrown back at all Jews.”
They mustn’t know my despair, I can’t let them see the wounds which they have caused, I couldn’t bear their sympathy and their kind-hearted jokes, it would only make me want to scream all the more. If I talk, everyone thinks I’m showing off; when I’m silent they think I’m ridiculous; rude if I answer, sly if I get a good idea, lazy if I’m tired, selfish if I eat a mouthful more than I should, stupid, cowardly, crafty, etc. etc.
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.
Topics: Confidence, Advice, Character, Self-reliance, Parents
Because paper has more patience than people.
I have often been downcast, but never in despair; I regard our hiding as a dangerous adventure, romantic and interesting at the same time. In my diary I treat all the privations as amusing. I have made up my mind now to lead a different life from other girls and, later on, different from ordinary housewives. My start has been so very full of interest, and that is the sole reason why I have to laugh at the humorous side of the most dangerous moments.
I don’t believe that the big men, the politicians and the capitalists alone are guilty of the war. Oh, no, the little man is just as keen, otherwise the people of the world would have risen in revolt long ago! There is an urge and rage in people to destroy, to kill, to murder, and until all mankind, without exception, undergoes a great change, wars will be waged, everything that has been built up, cultivated and grown, will be destroyed and disfigured, after which mankind will have to begin all over again.
Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!
Topics: Potential, Doing Your Best, Accomplishment
The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.
Topics: Unhappiness, Nature, Loneliness
Happiness…that’s something you can’t achieve by taking the easy way out. Earning happiness means doing good and working, not speculating and being lazy. Laziness may look inviting, but only work gives you true satisfaction.
Mrs. Van Daan’s grizzling is absolutely unbearable; now she can’t any longer drive us crazy over the invasion, she nags us the whole day long about the bad weather. It really would be nice to dump her in a bucket of cold water and put her up in the loft.
I don’t believe the war is simply the work of politicians and capitalists. Oh no, the common man is every bit as guilty; otherwise, people and nations would have rebelled long ago! There’s a destructive urge in people, the urge to rage, murder, and kill. And until all of humanity, without exception, undergoes a metamorphosis, wars will continue to be waged, and everything that has been carefully built up, cultivated and grown will be cut down and destroyed, only to start all over again!
In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.
And finally I twist my heart round again, so that the bad is on the outside and the good is on the inside, and keep on trying to find a way of becoming what I would so like to be, and could be, if there weren’t any other people living in the world.
Topics: People, Goodness
- Etty Hillesum Dutch Diarist
- Erich Fromm German Psychologist
- Friedrich Nietzsche German Philosopher, Scholar
- Adolf Hitler German Fascist Dictator
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe German Poet
- Hannah Arendt German Political Theorist
- Berthold Auerbach German Jewish Poet
- Moses Mendelssohn German Jewish Philosopher
- Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi German Philosopher
- Ludwig van Beethoven German Composer