There are people who seem to want to sap beauty out of the world completely and utterly, to simply destroy it. To many, this must have seemed like the case during the Second World War – that the Nazis were a plague sent to simply obliterate beauty. And with all of the conflict happening today, from ethnic conflict in Africa to the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to the constant threat of terrorism, it is also easy to imagine that in our world today all that is beautiful has been removed or is decaying away, and only violence and attacks are left in the world. The history of the Second World War, along with the history and the art and literature that surrounds it shows us that even when it feels that nothing is left that is beautiful, this cannot possibly be true – there is beauty there that must be found.
The Diary of Anne Frank is one of the best examples of how there can be beauty even when everything seems lost. One of the greatest ways this diary shows us that the world can still be beautiful is by showing how much beauty there can be inside of ordinary people. This dairy was kept by a young girl, named Anne Frank, who kept a diary for two years while being aided by her father’s colleagues. This book gives a well rounded account of what it is like to live in cramped quarters and in constant contact with people; Anne gives detailed accounts of how her mother began to annoy her, grate on her nerves, and how family tension often rose to extremely high levels during the two years before the family was betrayed. But more importantly, the diary of Anne Frank shows that even in the darkest times, there is good in the hearts of many people. Anne’s father’s colleagues put themselves at extreme danger for very little benefit to themselves. If they were caught hiding Anne’s family, they would have been put in concentration camps along with them, where many people died of exhaustion, disease, and executions throughout the course of the war.
The Diary of Anne Frank gives an emotional and powerful account of how amazingly good people can be, and how much beauty can be found in the hearts and minds of neighbors, even in the most atrocious circumstances. But World War II has shown that another kind of beauty is universal and indestructible, surviving even in the most gruesome of times: art. The Boys in the Striped Pajamas, a work by Irish writer John Boyne, tells a story of a boy who goes against his family, who were all ardent Nazis, by befriending Jewish boys who were imprisoned in concentration camps (the boys in the striped pajamas). This work is truly heart-touching, and demonstrates many instances of heart-wrenching beauties, even though it is fictional. This book, along with all of the amazing art focused on World War II, such as movies like “Saving Private Ryan,” demonstrates very clearly that even the most horrendous events, like the greatest war the world has ever seen, can lead to amazing and beautiful art that the world will, hopefully, never forget.
Everything surrounding the Holocaust and the Second World War seemed ugly and terrible. But it and the literature that surrounds it shows that beauty comes in a wide variety of forms, and cannot be destroyed by any force. The history surrounding the event, as displayed by the Diary of Anne Frank, shows that the greatest things and most beauty can only be drawn from people in the most extreme circumstances. The art surrounding the event, like The Boys in the Striped Pajamas, shows that even when an event itself was utterly ugly, it can inspire beauty for future generations who look back on it and try to find something worth saving.