Thought for the Week – 07.01.19

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world”

ANNE FRANK (1929-1945)

Annelies Marie Frank (12 June 1929 – February or March 1945) was a German-born diarist. One of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust, she gained fame posthumously with the publication of The Diary of a Young Girl (originally Het Achterhuis in Dutch; English: The Secret Annex), in which she documents her life in hiding from 1942 to 1944, during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. It is one of the world’s most widely known books and has been the basis for several plays and films.

Born in Frankfurt, Germany, she lived most of her life in or near Amsterdam, Netherlands, having moved there with her family at the age of four and a half when the Nazis gained control over Germany. Born a German national, she lost her citizenship in 1941 and thus became stateless. By May 1940, the Franks were trapped in Amsterdam by the German occupation of the Netherlands. As persecutions of the Jewish population increased in July 1942, the Franks went into hiding in some concealed rooms behind a bookcase in the building where Anne’s father, Otto Frank, worked. From then until the family’s arrest by the Gestapo in August 1944, she kept a diary she had received as a birthday present, and wrote in it regularly. Following their arrest, the Franks were transported to concentration camps. In October or November 1944, Anne and her sister, Margot, were transferred from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where they died (probably of typhus) a few months later. They were originally estimated by the Red Cross to have died in March, with Dutch authorities setting 31 March as their official date of death, but research by the Anne Frank House in 2015 suggests they more likely died in February.

Otto, the only survivor of the Franks, returned to Amsterdam after the war to find that her diary had been saved by his secretary, Miep Gies, and his efforts led to its publication in 1947. It was translated from its original Dutch version and first published in English in 1952 as The Diary of a Young Girl, and has since been translated into over 60 languages.

Thought for the Week – 03.12.18

“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting”

EDMUND BURKE (1729-1797)

Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797) was an Irish statesman born in Dublin, as well as an author, orator, political theorist and philosopher, who after moving to London in 1750 served as a member of parliament (MP) between 1766 and 1794 in the House of Commons with the Whig Party.

Burke was a proponent of underpinning virtues with manners in society and of the importance of religious institutions for the moral stability and good of the state. These views were expressed in his A Vindication of Natural Society. Burke criticised British treatment of the American colonies, including through its taxation policies. He also supported the rights of the colonists to resist metropolitan authority, though he opposed the attempt to achieve independence. Burke is remembered for his support for Catholic emancipation, the impeachment of Warren Hastings from the East India Company and for his staunch opposition to the French Revolution. In his Reflections on the Revolution in France, Burke asserted that the revolution was destroying the fabric of good society and traditional institutions of state and society, and condemned the persecution of the Catholic Church that resulted from it. This led to his becoming the leading figure within the conservative faction of the Whig Party, which he dubbed the “Old Whigs”, as opposed to the pro-French Revolution “New Whigs”, led by Charles James Fox.

In the nineteenth century, Burke was praised by both conservatives and liberals. Subsequently, in the twentieth century he became widely regarded as the philosophical founder of modern conservatism.