The Diary of a Young Girl is a book that shouldn’t exist. Anne Frank’s crushingly candid account of the years her family spent hiding from the Nazis in an attic, inscribed in a journal with a lock on it, might never have been published if its author hadn’t died in Bergen-Belsen before her 16th birthday. But the book—which has been translated into 70 languages, with more than 30 million copies sold around the world—is also a miracle, a document that places the incalculable atrocity of the Holocaust in terms comprehensible to children even younger than Frank was while she was writing it. In the decades since its first publication in 1947, the diary has inspired innumerable derivative works, drawn travelers from around the globe to the Anne Frank House and influenced generations of humanitarian heroes. “What is done cannot be undone, but one can prevent it happening again,” Frank wrote. To that end, no writer’s words have had a more profound impact. —Judy Berman

Buy Now: Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl on Bookshop | Amazon

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at