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The Will To Survive

By Caroline Ditzler, Megan Kaliner and Reilly Smith

        The will to survive is shown when restrictions are when quarrels and arguments occur between different people in the hiding place. One example is when Anne spills milk on Mrs. Van Daan’s coat. Mrs. Van Daan is furious because that coat meant a great deal to her. Having already been annoyed by Anne’s childish behavior, this pushed her over the edge. Under normal circumstances, she would have simply left, but because she is in hiding she must stay. This shows the will to survive as a theme because they must learn to get along with one another and deal with people that make them frustrated. Otherwise, they would be out in the open and much more vulnerable to be taken away to a concentration camp. If I was in this situation I would learn to deal with people that upset me because I would not want to risk being caught. I would hang on to the idea that the war would be over shortly and my life would soon return to normal.


The will to survive forced Anne and everyone in hiding to stay quiet all day. They could not move around the attic with shoes on, or talk in a voice above a whisper. This had to last from eight thirty in the morning to six at night. They all knew if someone had heard them, they had a better chance of being found. This relates to the theme of “the will to survive” because if the Franks, the Van Daans, and Dussel had made a noise too loud during the day, they could be found by the Green Police and taken to a Concentration Camp. Another problem with being found was it would be their fault if Miep and Mr. Kraler were caught. Since they had helped the Jewish people, they would also be taken away. If I were in this situation, I would almost go insane. I have a hard time staying nearly silent and in one place for an extended period of time. However, given the circumstances, I would know how important not speaking or moving was. This would drive me to follow the directions of not talking too loud or moving too much.



Another example of when the Franks, Van Daans, and Dussel showed a will to survive was Hanukkah. On the first night of celebration, after the prayers, everyone realizes they do not have any presents to give. Anne is the only person with presents for everyone and even her’s are from extra things she found in the attic. This shows the theme “will to survive” because the families in hiding are unable to fully celebrate their religious holiday traditions. Presents were not able to be gotten because they had to save their money for necessary things like food. If any money or supplies were wasted, the people in hiding with Anne would have to live without it until new ration books came. Being Jewish, I know that Hanukkah is not about getting presents, but I do know the joy of getting a new gift every night for eight nights. If I were in this situation, I would be disappointed, but I would understand that buying presents would make everyone run out of something important. I would try to be as happy as I could be and be thankful that we were even able to celebrate.


       The will to survive is shown on Hanukkah night when Mr. Frank is about to blow out the candle to save it for the next nights, but there is a noise heard downstairs. He motions to Peter to turn off the lamp, although when Peter gets up on a chair to reach it, Peter loses his balance. The chair goes out from under him, he falls, and the iron lampshade crashes to the floor. Peter’s loud clash to the floor puts them all in danger especially if someone who could get them caught was downstairs. This sets everyone off in panic and unease not knowing what will come next. This shows the will to survive because if one small hint was given to someone in the outside world, it puts their lives on the line because of how wanted Jews are. If I was in this situation I would be scared and nervous and I would be expecting the hiding to come to an end very soon. It puts in perspective that one small accident could be deadly.


       The will to survive put everyone in hiding in confined rooms of the attic of Otto Frank’s business. There was no escape downstairs into the business for the whole period of time that they were in hiding. There was one distinct example that included Anne opening the items that Mr. Frank brought with them for her. Anne was thrilled to see he brought the diary she had been given recently as a gift before they went into hiding. She was so eager to start writing in it, but had no pencil to write in it with. She announced that she was going down to the office to get one. Mr. Frank immediately went after her, catching her by the arm before she goes. He explained in panic how never will they ever leave the upstairs loft. She was saddened that they couldn’t even leave during nighttime, when everyone is gone, or on Sundays.This is the first time Anne realizes what “going into hiding” means. This is a strong example of the theme, “will to survive” because this is Anne’s first realization that hiding meant completely out of sight and hidden away. If I was in this situation I would understand Mr. Frank’s perspective and I would have just added a pencil onto the list of items for Miep.


       Not only do those in hiding show the will to survive, but those assisting them show this will for them as well. Miep and Mr. Kraler were two of Mr. Frank’s employees. After building a strong relationship with both of them, he asked for their help as he and his family, as well as some friends, went into hiding. These two would be responsible for getting them food and other necessities, and keeping them updated on the outside world. This shows how they carried the will to survive for their friends in hiding, because by doing so they put themselves at the same risk. If the green police or the Gestapo found them, they would   be treated as a Jew and taken to the concentration camps. They did all of this hard, secretive, dangerous work so that the Franks, Van Daans, and Mr. Dussel could survive the Holocausts. Nobody forced them to help; they did it because it was the right thing to do, and persisted at it for over two years. There will and bravery allowed those they were protecting to be safe for so long. If I needed to be a protector it would be difficult and challenging because there would be so much pressure on me, and there would be a huge personal risk as well.


       Peter and Anne just wanted to spend some private time together without being made-fun of or bothered. However, Mrs. Frank and Mrs. Van Daan would not leave them alone. Without each other, however, they would’ve been lonely and depressed most of the time. To be able to stand staying locked up in the attic, Anne and Peter expressed themselves to each other. The will to survive lead them to each other. Even though they could physically live without each other, emotionally, they would’ve cracked. They had to withstand mockery to be with each other. If I were in this situation, I would do exactly what Anne and Peter did and ignore the adults. I would want to be happy so I wouldn’t let the adult’s teasing get to me. After months of not talking to anyone, I would’ve done anything to have a friend.


Families struggle for freedom during the war.

          Anne faces horrible struggles while she is in hiding, but her optimism and hope gives her the strength and will to survive. Anne may argue with her mom and annoy the other attic residents, but she believes they are all good people. For example, Anne is having a discussion with Peter shortly before they realize they are going to be captured. Mr. and Mrs. Van Daan have been arguing, and Peter feels frustrated and hopeless. “I’ve just gone crazy… I can’t stand much more of it!” says Peter, demonstrating his anger towards his situation. Anne is response, cites her faith as how she stays grounded, as well as how all the people helping them is important. “When I think of the goodness of you, Peter… and the goodness of the people we know… When I think of these good things, I’m not afraid any more… I find myself, and God”. This quote shows how Anne recognizes all goodness in her world, and how they give her the perseverance to continue on. The love and care Anne receives is clearly reflected in her thoughts and words. Her faith in God also pushes her, because she sees her place and believes everything happens for a reason. Her faith and positivity gives her the will to survive. If I was Anne, I don’t know if I would be able to see everything in such a good light after everything that had happened. I would try my best, and use Anne as an inspiration.


       Everyone in hiding started to get anxious, convinced it was only a matter of time until they were caught. This led suspense in the story, although they had a sudden change of attitude as if they learned to just accept the end was coming. Mr. Frank tried to assure everyone it was going to be okay by saying, “For the past two years we have lived in fear. Now we can live in hope.” “They all stand there together, waiting. Anne stands there holding her school satchel, looking at her father and mother with a soft, reassuring smile.” No one ran around in panic screaming, they understood it was time and realized there was nothing they could do. They were grateful for the people who helped them along in this journey and how long they were able to stay in hiding for. This shows the will to survive because if there was uneasiness, it would have triggered everyone else and there would be resistance to be captured. Accepting the end made it easy for their state of minds. If I was in this situation, I would do exactly the same thing, I would be ready for whatever was ahead and just be grateful to get that far.



       If I were to meet Anne Frank today, I would tell her that her will to survive has inspired millions of people. Her diary has taught people to never take even the smallest thing for granted. For example, her strength to survive with barely any food is an inspiration that reminds us how lucky we all are. I would tell her that because she wrote about how she kept her head held high during such a horrible time, people who read her diary were able to see everything not only her but all Jewish families in hiding had to go through if they wanted a chance at survival. As Anne said, “In spite of everything, I still believe people that people are good at heart.” This powerful quote has been used countless times, but it completely sums up how wonderful Anne is. She shows hope strength, and courage when it seems there is none left. Anne faced so many hardships, I would tell also tell her how relatable she Even though she causes arguments and disagreements, she tries to be a good person and shows times of weakness, too. “The mean Anne comes to the outside and the good Anne stays on the inside, and I keep trying to switch them around... and be what I’d like to be,” says Anne. Even though she is brave, she is a growing teen and faces many struggles of the everyday teenager, like finding her place in the world. She knows the right thing to do, but is still learning how. Anne’s inspiration has not only led to a bestseller, but also museums and youth groups about her. If I could talk to Anne, I would be overwhelmed with joy and be so happy to tell her the difference she has made.

A Legacy...

Lives On

Journal Entries: Authors on pages

Final Entry: Equal Contribution

Caroline Pictures: Anne, Family, Lamp, Menorah

Megan Pictures: Star, Anne Statue, Miep, Mr. Kraler 

Reilly Pictures: Milk, Fist

Music: Reilly 



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