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The general horror of war, coupled with the specific horrors that the Nazis inflicted upon the Jews, is the major theme of the diary. Anne Frank, the young teenage girl who writes the diary, experiences the pain of war first-hand. In order to try and escape the Nazi extermination of Jewish people, her family and the Van Daans go into hiding in Amsterdam, Holland. In spite of their efforts to save themselves, all of the Franks and Van Daans are captured and sent to a concentration camp. Only Otto Frank survives the ordeal.
The pain of adolescence is a second important theme of the novel. Maturing into adulthood is never easy for a young person, but Anne's growing up is made even more difficult by the external war that rages around her, the cramped quarters which offer her no privacy or escape, and the constant fear of discovery and death.
A third important theme in the diary is the power of love. Surrounded by family and friends, Anne feels nurtured amidst the horror and turmoil of war. She knows that love is all-important and can conquer the worst of things. In spite of her miserable situation, Anne maintains a love of life and a belief in the basic goodness of mankind. Her unshakable faith in love and goodness gives her hope that everything will turn out all right.
Anne's diary is filled with two sharply contrasting moods. On the surface, Anne's mood is dark and depressing because of the war, the necessity of hiding, and the constant fear of discovery and death. The amazing thing is that amidst the horror of the war, Anne maintains an underlying optimistic, hopeful mood because of her faith in love and the goodness of man. Throughout the diary, her moods constantly swing between the depths of despair and the joy of being alive. Anne Frank's diary is truly a tribute to humankind's brave struggle for survival.