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The major theme of the diary is the horror of war. Although Anne is hidden away from the fighting in the secret annex, World War II is very real to hear. She has been personally persecuted by the Nazis for being Jewish and is now in hiding because of them. She constantly hears the air raids and the bombardments of the battle and fears for her life. She is also worried about being discovered in the secret annex and sent to a concentration camp. Anne and the other occupants are very aware of the horrors that are happening outside the annex. Their Dutch protectors bring them news from the outside, and they constantly listen to the radio. Anne knows about Hitler's ruthless advances; she has also heard about the cattle cars, the concentration camps, the gas chambers, the firing squads, and the crematoriums. She wonders throughout the diary if she will live to see the end of the war; unfortunately, she does not.
In contrast to the horror of war is the power of love, which is seen throughout the diary. Mr. Frank, a caring and sensitive man, deeply loves his family and tries to protect them. He also tries to make life more bearable for Anne and Margot by giving them books to read and lessons to study. In addition, he serves as a peacemaker, trying to make things in the annex more pleasant for everyone.
Love is also expressed in the care and concern that people show for one another. Without hesitation and with love, Mr. Frank welcomes the Van Daans and Mr. Dussel into the already cramped quarters of the annex. He knows that saving another Jew is the most loving thing he can do. In a similar loving way, Koophuis and Kraler risk their own lives to protect the occupants of the annex, without a thought to their own safety. Romantic love is also seen as an antidote to misery. When Anne falls in love with Peter, she finds happiness amidst her misery. Love is certainly the only countermeasure against the horror of war.
THE IRONY OF THE DIARY'S SURVIVAL
The normal procedure of the Gestapo was to burn the papers of the prisoners taken into custody. They wanted to destroy any evidence of Nazi inhumanity or autocracy. When the Gestapo enters the secret annex and captures its occupants, they also gather the papers that they find, even emptying the briefcases of the men. Ironically, they leave behind Anne's diary, for it does not seem to be a threat.
When Elli and Miep enter the secret annex to see what they can save for the Franks and Van Daans, they find Anne's diary. They lovingly keep it, waiting for the Franks to return. Unfortunately, only Otto Frank survives the concentration camp. When he returns to Amsterdam after the war, Anne's diary is given to him. He decides to publish it in tribute to his daughter.
It is ironic that the Gestapo overlooked the diary, for it is one of the most condemning treatises of Nazi inhumanity ever to be published. The diary has been translated into more than thirty languages and read throughout the world. Anne's story, and her treatment at the hands of the Nazis, has also been widely viewed in plays and movies. Even though Anne died in a Nazi concentration camp, her spirit will always live on. It seems that Anne really won, while Hitler lost.