On June 12, 1942, a teenaged girl received a red, checkered autograph book as a present for her 13th birthday. 71 years later, Anne Frank's diary has become one of the foremost accounts of the Holocaust, spawning countless novels and movies retelling her story.
According to the Anne Frank House, the gift wasn't exactly a surprise: Anne had chosen it the day before while perusing a bookstore near her home with her father. When her family went into hiding in June, the diary was one of the first things she packed.
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"I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support," Anne writes in her first entry, per Biography.
Addressing the entries to an imaginary friend name Kitty, Anne chronicled her days hiding from the Nazis in a secret annex behind a bookcase in her father's workplace. It seems that no one could have predicted how much of an impact her writing would have on the legacy of the Holocaust and World War II -- not even Anne herself.
"For someone like me, it is a very strange habit to write in a diary," she writes, via Christian Science Monitor. "Not only that I have never written before, but it strikes me that later neither I, nor anyone else, will care for the outpouring of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl."
A copy of the diary of Anne Frank is seen at the just opened permanent exhibition 'Anne Frank. here & now' 03 November 2006 at the Anne Frank Zentrum in Berlin. (MICHAEL KAPPELER/AFP/Getty Images)