But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. — Deuteronomy 8:18
This week Jews in Israel and around the world will mark Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, on May 2, honoring the six million Jews murdered at the hands of Nazi Germany. Throughout this week, I will share reflections from my father, the late Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, on the importance for Christians and Jews to never forget and to continue the fight against anti-Semitism and persecution wherever it exists. — Yael Eckstein, Fellowship President,
Anne Frank is one of the most renowned and most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust, primarily due to the publication of her diary, which has become one of the world’s most widely read books, and the subject of various plays and films.
Anne received the journal for her 13th birthday, in June 1942. Less than a month later, her family was forced to move to a secret hiding place built into the stairwells of her father’s office building to escape the Nazis. A few of her father’s most trusted employees brought them food and ensured their safety, at least for a while.
Anne’s diary recounts the changes that had taken place in the Netherlands after the German occupation. Later while in hiding, she describes the relationships between her and her family, the van Pels family who later joined them in hiding, as well as the faithful employees who took care of the families’ needs, even as it became more dangerous to do so. As she became more confident about her writing, Anne wrote about more complex subjects, such as her faith in God and her thoughts about human nature.
In a poignant and prescience statement, Anne wrote of her dreams to become a journalist and express herself through words: “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! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me!”
Although the Franks were eventually captured and sent to Auschwitz concentration camp, where Anne died of typhus in 1945 a few weeks before the camp was liberated, her legacy has lived on. Her life and her words, indeed, have gone on living and impacting the lives of those who have only met Anne through the printed page.
Through the words of this young Jewish girl, hundreds of thousands have learned — many for the first time — about the horrors of the Holocaust and the terrible cost of prejudice and anti-Semitism.
God has gifted each one of us with unique abilities and opportunities to accomplish His purposes. It is up to each one of us to make those most of those gifts and our time here on earth — just as Anne did.
Only God knows what legacies we can leave for future generations.