#InContext: Anne Frank

By: CASSONDRA (Cj) MURPHY

One of the most notable authors of the 20th century, Anne Frank has become a voice for the millions of victims of the Holocaust through her diary. The account of her 25 months in hiding during the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands has come to symbolize the human cost of war and the struggle to find hope in the face of hatred and injustice.

In her short 15 years, Anne Frank displayed an incredible maturity and capacity for compassion. This is evidenced not only in her diary, but in several essays Frank penned during her time in hiding. Frank wrote one such essay, entitled Give!, on March 26, 1944, only months before her family was discovered.

In Give!, Frank criticizes society for dehumanizing the poor. She questions why beggars are judged for their appearance and consequently treated as “inferior being[s].” She also wonders why people do not take the time to empathize with the plight of those in poverty. In the essay, Frank unequivocally recognizes the inherent equality of all individuals and urges society to be more generous with not only their possessions but also with their kindness. She notes that it costs so little to extend kindness to another person but the value of that gesture is priceless. Moreover, Frank believed the kindness we extend to one another is contagious, trusting that such actions would eventually lead to a world where everyone is treated with equal dignity and humanity.

In imploring others to create a more caring and just world, Frank expressed hope in the idea that each person plays a small but vital role in affecting change. She stated:

“How wonderful it is that no one has to wait, but can start right now to gradually change the world! How wonderful it is that everyone, great and small, can immediately help bring about justice by giving of themselves!”

The mentality that each person can take an immediate and concrete step to bring about a better world equally applies to the issue of human trafficking. While it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem, remembering that each person can take attainable steps to combat human trafficking is a source of optimism. By learning the indicators of human trafficking or avoiding products made with human trafficking in their supply chain, for example, anyone can play a role in bringing about the end of modern day slavery. With each person and each action, we come one step closer to the caring and just society Anne Frank envisioned.

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Cassondra Murphy

Cassondra Murphy

Cassondra (Cj) is a University of Virginia School of Law Robert F. Kennedy Public Service Fellow with the Human Trafficking Institute. She is a 2018 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, where she served as the Assistant Managing Editor of the Virginia Law Review and a fellow in the Law and Public Service Program. After the completion of her fellowship with the Human Trafficking Institute, Cj will serve as a law clerk for the Hon. Charles P. Kocoras on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.