I watched the movie “My Best Friend Anne Frank” last night, I know about the amount of criticism when it was first released, I don’t really know why though, of course, there was some fictionalisation. However in essence the main story is true. But this is not going to be a movie review.
The story is from the point of view of Hannah (Hanneli) Goslar, who like Anne had fled Germany with her family when the Nazis came to power. Anne Frank was her best friend.
What I liked about the story was it didn’t show Anne as some mythical creature, it showed Anne for who and what she was, a playful young teenage girl. Both girls had interests in fashion, parties and boys. So sad to think that both their lives were interrupted.
In June 1943, Hannah, her father, her maternal grandparents, along with Hannah’s younger sister Gabrielle (“Gabi”), were arrested and sent to the Westerbork transit camp, and then eventually to Bergen-Belsen in February 1944. Hannah was in a slightly better section of the camp because her family had Paraguayan passports with them. Sometime between January and February 1945, Hannah was briefly reunited with Anne Frank, who was on the other side of the camp. Hannah tossed Anne a package with some bread and socks in it over a hay-filled barbed wire fence dividing the two sections.
In the movie, you can hear Anne Frank being upset because someone stole the first package Hannah had thrown over the fence. How awful must that have been? TThere is very little known about the last weeks of Anne Frank’s life in Bergen-Belsen but the movie does give a small glimpse.
Hannah and Gabi survived 14 months at Bergen-Belsen. Her father and maternal grandparents died of illnesses before the liberation. She was rescued along with the other survivors of the Lost Train. Hannah and Gabi were the only members of their family to survive the war and, in 1947, they immigrated to Jerusalem.
On the morning of 4 August 1944, the Achterhuis was stormed by a group of German uniformed police (Grüne Polizei) led by SS-Oberscharführer Karl Silberbauer of the Sicherheitsdienst. Anne Frank and all the others who hid in the Achterhuis (annexe) were arrested. Only Anne’s father, Otto, survived.