Impossible Circumstances

Writing in Impossible Circumstances is a new teaching resource jointly produced by the Anne Frank Trust UK and Amnesty International.

The Writing in Impossible Circumstances resource marks 70 years since Anne Frank began to write the lines that would become her world-famous diary. For generations since, that little red notebook has become testament to the power of words to challenge oppression. The suffering of Anne, and of the millions slaughtered in the Holocaust and by the Nazi, Fascist and Soviet tyrannies, provided the catalyst for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

The other writers featured in this resource showed great courage, often writing in prison or detention, and made great sacrifices because of their belief in the fundamental rights of humanity. With the luxury of living in a democracy, we may find it hard to comprehend the selflessness and strength needed to speak out against oppression – and then to continue that struggle despite the perils of writing in incarceration. With the exception of Victor Jara, the writers featured have survived to enjoy what we now take for granted – freedom.


This educational resource encourages students to consider a variety of human rights issues, including the importance of freedom of speech. Students are also challenged to develop their own sense of empathy, together with their skills in creative writing.

You can download the resource below:


Lesson Plan

Resource Sheets

Teachers' Notes

Curriculum Links