If there is one thing that Anne Frank’s diary teaches us ,it’s the importance of context. If you take her diary out of context it probably is quite a boring book. But if you leave it in the context and the time it was written in it becomes a powerful story of daily life and the reality of the Holocaust. However what makes it more powerful then anything else is not how it was written but how it should have ended.
The diary ends abrupt because all those hiding in the annex were arrested in August 1944 and then were deported to several camps, of the 8 people only Anne’s father, Otto, survived. Anne died in Bergen Belsen. Her story should no have ended in death but in survival
The book “The Diary of a Young Girl” really should never have been written or published, because Anne and her family really should never have been put in the situation that they had to hide,nor should they have ever had to flee their home in Frankfurt, because they were no enemies of any state they were just a normal family, minding their own business .
The book has some versions with an introduction by Eleanor Roosevelt and in here lies an irony, if her husband had granted the visa to Otto Frank, The Visa Otto Frank had applied for at a time where it was quite clear what fate the Jews awaited in Europe, if that visa had been accepted then the book would never have been published.
To Anne it wasn’t only a diary it was also het best friend she called Kitty, a way of telling her friend of what was happening around her. Some people have criticized Otto Frank for publishing the book in the firts place because they felt it was a violation of the privacy of his youngest daughter, these people do not realize that Anne had wanted her diary to be made public anyway. Shortly after D-Day the Dutch government in exile had announced via Radio Orange BBC, that all documented records would be treated as evidence, that’s why Anne edited her diary so it could be used as a work of evidence.
The Dutch government however treated their Jewish citizens poorly after the war. Many could not return to their homes because others lived there then. Sometimes they were issued with bills for tax arrears.
It was only on January 26,2020 the Dutch prime minister issued an apology for the treatment of the Jews. It was on the 80th birthday of the survivor and campaigner for the apology, Eddy Boas Just 1 day before the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
75% or 104,000 of all Dutch Jews were murdered during the Shoah, this was by the far the highest number of Jews ,per capita, in all of Europe. The contradiction though is that in February 1941, the Dutch went on strike en mass to protest against the treatment of Jews by the Nazi regime. This was the only mass collective act of defiance against the Nazis in the occupied territories.
I watched the documentary #AnneFrank – Parallel Stories, last night. I didn’t really like the insincerity and overacting of Helen Mirrens’s reading of the diary but it was a powerful documentary nonetheless, In the film ,Ronald Leopold, the Executive Director of the Anne Frank House said something very important and something I totally agree with, it does explain to an extend why so many of the Dutch Jews were deported and murdered. It was all about choices , some chose to resist, some chose to collaborate but the majority chose to do nothing.
We all have to ensure that we never ever choose to do nothing again. The fight against Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism should not be on the shoulders of the survivors and their families, it is a fight we all must fight otherwise words like Never Again or Never Forget become hollow slogans.
Anne Frank had Kitty to relay her message to, we have the whole world via internet and social media.
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