I know some people will criticize me for this article. Because they cannot fathom why anyone would harm a nine-month-old baby, leave alone murder her.
Seeing the face of a baby, knowing the child was killed by an evil regime, hits them hard in the gut.
But I don’t care, truth is I want people to feel uncomfortable when they look into the eyes of this baby girl. That baby girl could have grown up to be their teacher, cleaner, chef, doctor or the mother of their best friend, or even their mother-in-law.
Stories like Annelise Julie van Voolen’s story have hit us hard. They have to shake our core values. The people who killed her were not that different from us. There are often talks about an inconvenient truth. This is one of those inconvenient truths.
The people who killed Annelise were quite possibly well-educated and cultured. But they listened to a promise. A promise of a better life and prosperity. The promise of having a life filled with a purpose. They liked the promises they heard and fully immersed themselves in the ideology that fueled those promises.
However, they never asked the question that anyone should ask themselves if they hear a promise. How? How are they going to fulfil these promises? What is the price that needs to be paid?
And I get it. When you are promised a better life it is very seductive. But when following this promise is followed without critical thinking you only create chaos and destruction.
The really sad thing is we haven’t changed all that much. We still fall for promises and ideas without questioning them, and now as it was then, the few who do ask the questions are ostracized.
I sincerely hope you feel anger when you see the face of Annelise Julie van Voolen. Born in Amsterdam on 17 September 1942 and murdered in Westerbork on 1 July 1943 at the age of nine-month-old.
But don’t let the anger make you bitter but let it make you a critical thinker, ask questions, and ensure this doesn’t happen ever again.
Those who survived the Holocaust will soon all be gone. We have a duty to continue telling their stories and the stories of all their loved ones who were brutally murdered, some even younger than Annelise.