Anne Frank in Auschwitz

On September 3,1944 ,Anne Frank and her family were put on transport from Westerbork to Auschwitz. It would be the last train to leave Westerbork.The train arrived 3 days later in Auschwitz. The women selected from this transport, including Anne, Edith, and Margot, were marked with numbers between A-25060 and A-25271

Anne Frank’s final diary entry dates from 1 August 1944, three days before her arrest. Therefore the only information we have about what happened to Anne Frank in the six months between the arrest and her death in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp comes from the testimonies of others.

Janny Brandes-Brilleslijper was one of those others.She had also been on that same transport and was in Auschwitz when Anne was there, but also in Bergen Belsen. Janny was the last person to see Anne alive.

She said about the arrival in Auschwitz.

”We were stripped in an icy room with the wind billowing through it. Five women under one trickle of water. No towels. Tattooed, shaved . . . we were totally confused and unable to understand anything,”

Upon arrival at Auschwitz, the SS forcibly split the men from the women and children, and Otto Frank was separated from his family. Those deemed able to work were admitted into the camp, and those deemed unfit for labour were immediately killed. Of the 1,019 passengers, 549—including all children younger than 15—were sent directly to the gas chambers. Anne Frank, who had turned 15 three months earlier, was one of the youngest people spared from her transport. She was soon made aware that most people were gassed upon arrival and never learned that the entire group from the Achterhuis had survived this selection. She reasoned that her father, in his mid-fifties and not particularly robust, had been killed immediately after they were separated.

Janny worked as a nurse in the Nazi camps where she provided clothing, medicine, and food to fellow prisoners. She saw Anne Frank, two or three days before she died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in the spring of 1945.

“During the final days, I saw Anne standing there, wrapped in a blanket, with no tears left to cry. Well, we hadn’t had tears for some time. And then, a few days later I went to look for the Frank girls and learned that Margot had fallen from her bunk. Just like that, onto the stone floor, dead. The next day, Anne died as well.”

Janny had been in the Jewish resistance, in Amsterdam during the war, forging identification papers to help other Jews escape the Nazis, before she and Anne were deported from Amsterdam.

She died of heart failure in Amsterdam on 15 August, 2003 at the age of 86.

Mariette Huisjes of the Anne Frank House said this about Janny.

“Anne was sick and hallucinating and had thrown away her clothes, because she was afraid of lice. Ms. Brandes-Brilleslijper gave her clothes and some food. She mostly helped young people in the camps in those difficult times.”

sources

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1988-10-23-ca-196-story.html

https://www.annefrank.org/en/timeline/158/the-deportations-to-auschwitz-have-begun/

https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/12534087.jannie-brandes-brilleslijper/

https://tolerance.tavaana.org/en/content/anne-frank-1

My Best Friend Anne Frank

I watched the movie “My best friend Anne Frank” last night, I know it did get quite a bit 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 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 ,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 interest 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 more 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 at 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 1st package Hannah had thrown over the fence. How awful must that have been. There is very little know about the last few weeks of Anne Frank in Bergen Belsen, the movie does give a small glimpse of it.

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.[6] 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(annex) were arrested. Only Anne’s father ,Otto, survived.

sources

https://www.volkskrant.nl/kijkverder/v/2021/eregalerij-van-de-nederlandse-fotografie~v439459/?referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2F

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10360772/

The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank

75 years ago today Anne Frank’s diary was published. It became one of the biggest selling books of all times.

These are just some of the entries of her diary.

October 9th 1942: “Today I have nothing but dismal and depressing news to report. Our many Jewish friends and acquaintances are being taken away in droves. The Gestapo is treating them very roughly and transporting them in cattle cars to Westerbork, the big camp in Drenthe to which they’re sending all the Jews. Miep told us about someone who’d managed to escape from there. It must be terrible in Westerbork. The people get almost nothing to eat, much less to drink, as water is available only one hour a day, and there’s only one toilet and sink for several thousand people. Men and women sleep in the same room, and women and children often have their heads shaved. Escape is almost impossible; many people look Jewish, and they’re branded by their shorn heads. If it’s that bad in Holland, what must it be like in those faraway and uncivilised places where the Germans are sending them? We assume that most of them are being murdered. The English radio says they’re being gassed. Perhaps that’s the quickest way to die. I feel terrible. Miep’s accounts of these horrors are so heartrending… Fine specimens of humanity, those Germans, and to think I’m actually one of them! No, that’s not true, Hitler took away our nationality long ago. And besides, there are no greater enemies on earth than the Germans and Jews.”

October 20th 1942: “My hands still shaking, though it’s been two hours since we had the scare… The office staff stupidly forgot to warn us that the carpenter, or whatever he’s called, was coming to fill the extinguishers… After working for about fifteen minutes, he laid his hammer and some other tools on our bookcase (or so we thought!) and banged on our door. We turned white with fear. Had he heard something after all and did he now want to check out this mysterious looking bookcase? It seemed so, since he kept knocking, pulling, pushing and jerking on it. I was so scared I nearly fainted at the thought of this total stranger managing to discover our wonderful hiding place…”

March 29th 1944: “Mr Bolkestein, the Cabinet Minister, speaking on the Dutch broadcast from London, said that after the war a collection would be made of diaries and letters dealing with the war. Of course, everyone pounced on my diary.”

July 15th 1944: “It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too will end, that peace and tranquillity will return once more. In the meantime, I must hold on to my ideals. Perhaps the day will come when I’ll be able to realise them.”

sources

https://www.annefrank.org/en/anne-frank/diary/complete-works-anne-frank/

Anne Frank’s age group.

Today is Anne Frank’s birthday. She was born June 12,1929. We all know her story through her diary, therefor I will not really go into Anne’s story but I will look at some other children who were also born on June 12,1929 and who were also murdered during the Holocaust.

Levy Spanjer, born in Amsterdam, 12 June 1929 .Murdered in Auschwitz, 12 February 1943. Reached the age of 13 years.

Philip Trijtel, born in Rotterdam, 12 June 1929 . Murdered in Sobibor, 20 March 1943.Reached the age of 13 years. Unlike Levy, there is no picture or Philip, but there is a bit more data. Philip was transported from Westerbork to Sobibor on March 17,1943. Where he was murdered 3 days later.

Sara Kloos, born in Amsterdam, 12 June 1929. Murdered in Auschwitz, 11 December 1942.Reached the age of 13 years. Although there is only a registration card as a record of Sara. That card tells us that she arrived in Westerbork on November 26,1942 and that she was deported to Auschwitz on December 8,1942, where she was murdered 3 days later.

Salomon Seijffers, born in Gouda. 12 June 1929. Murdered in Sobibor on 28 May,1943.Reached the age of 13. A year before he was murdered he did his Bar Mitswa, on May 30,1942, although it says Bar Mitswo in the newspaper announcement.

Before being transported to Westerbork, May 24-1943, he was imprisoned in Camp Vught. On May 25,1942 he was deported to Sobibor where he was murdered 3 days later.

A stumbling block, stolper stein has been placed for Salomon Seijffers in front of Lage Gouwe 84 in Gouda, the Netherlands.

Sources

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Philip-Trijtel/01/73026

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Sara-Kloos/01/15282

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Salomon-Seijffers/01/20171

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The 11 June 1941 raid in Amsterdam.

Adolph Gerson

On June 11, 1941, a second raid took place in Amsterdam as a result of the attacks on buildings occupied by the German Wehrmacht. Jewish cafes and sports clubs were ransacked. 310 young Jewish men were arrested by the Amsterdam police and Ordnungspolizei. Some came from the Jewish working village of Wieringermeer. They were taken to the SD building on Euterpestraat and then to Camp Schoorl. Some were released for health reasons. The rest of the men were sent to Camp Mauthausen on June 26, 1941. The raid was revenge for a bomb attack by the resistance on May 14, 1941 and an attack on the Luftwaffe telephone exchange on June 3, 1941. None of the Jewish men returned from Camp Mauthausen.

One of those men was Adolph Gerson Frohmann(pictured above). He was murdered in Mauthausen on January 16,1942.

The Nazis arrested 310 young Jewish men. Otto Frank was not arrested, but friends and neighbours from the Merwedeplein area, where he had been living for eight years, were. The raid happened a day before Anne Frank’s 12th birthday.

As a precaution, Otto Frank and other men from the square frequently spent the night at the homes of non-Jewish friends or colleagues. In all likelihood, these events prompted Otto Frank to start thinking about a proper hiding place. After attempts to emigrate to the US had failed, he started working on plans to take his family into hiding in the Secret Annex in earnest in the spring of 1942..

There was a stark contrast compared to the raids that had taken place in Amsterdam in February 1941. At that time, the population of Amsterdam and other cities across the Netherlands, had gone on a massive gneral strike in protest against the persecution of the Jews, but in June 1941, the city stayed silent. The Nazis had violently suppressed the February strike, instilling fear in the population. The Amsterdam resistance newspaper Het Parool and other illegal newspapers expressed their abhorrence of the raids of 11 June. They called on people to not cooperate with the Germans and to sabotage them whenever they could. For the larger part, though, the Amsterdam population largely ignored this call.

Sources

https://www.annefrank.org/en/anne-frank/go-in-depth/second-raid-amsterdam/

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/226518/adolph-gerson-frohmann

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/bronnen?term=11+juni+1941

Bergen Belsen- A place of darkness and death.

On April 15, the 63rd Anti-tank Regiment and the 11th Armoured Division of the British army liberated about 60,000 prisoners at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

One of the soldiers, 21 year old Corporal Ian Forsyth, called it “A place of darkness and death.” What the British troops encountered was described by the BBC’s Richard Dimbleby, who accompanied them:

“…Here over an acre of ground lay dead and dying people. You could not see which was which… The living lay with their heads against the corpses and around them moved the awful, ghostly procession of emaciated, aimless people, with nothing to do and with no hope of life, unable to move out of your way, unable to look at the terrible sights around them … Babies had been born here, tiny wizened things that could not live … A mother, driven mad, screamed at a British sentry to give her milk for her child, and thrust the tiny mite into his arms, then ran off, crying terribly. He opened the bundle and found the baby had been dead for days. This day at Belsen was the most horrible of my life.”

Major Dick Williams was one of the first British soldiers to enter Bergen-Belsen. On April 15, 1945,he described his first impressions of the camp and its atmosphere of death.

“But we went further on into the camp, and seen these corpses lying everywhere. You didn’t know whether they were living or dead. Most of them were dead. Some were trying to walk, some were stumbling, some on hands and knees, but in the lagers, the barbed wire around the huts, you could see that the doors were open. The stench coming out of them was fearsome.

They were lying in the doorways – tried to get down the stairs and fallen and just died on the spot. And it was just everywhere.
Going into, more deeper, into the camp the stench got worse and the numbers of dead – they were just
impossible to know how many there were…Inside the camp itself, it was just unbelievable. You just couldn’t believe the numbers involved.

This was one of the things which struck me when I first went in, that the whole camp was so quiet and yet there were so many people there. You couldn’t hear anything, there was just no sound at all and yet there was some movement – those people who could walk or move – but just so quiet. You just couldn’t understand that all those people could be there and yet everything was so quiet… It was just this oppressive haze over the camp, the smell, the starkness of the barbed wire fences, the dullness of the bare earth, the scattered bodies and these very dull, too, striped grey uniforms – those who had it – it was just so dull. The sun, yes the sun was shining, but they were just didn’t seem to make any life at all in that camp. Everything seemed to be dead. The slowness of the movement of the people who could walk. Everything was just ghost-like and it was just
unbelievable that there were literally people living still there. There’s so much death apparent that the living, certainly, were in the minority”

Major Leonard Berney, recalled:

“I remember being completely shattered. The dead bodies lying down beside the road, the starving emaciated prisoners still mostly behind barbed wire, the open mass graves containing hundreds of corpses, the stench, the sheer horror of the place, were indescribable. None of us who entered the camp had any warning of what we were about to see or had ever experienced anything remotely like it before.”

Harry Oakes and Bill Lawrie both served with the Army Film and Photographic Unit (AFPU).The unit was established in 1941 to produce an official record of the British Army’s role during the Second World War. Both men arrived at Bergen-Belsen to record conditions in the camp. They recall how British forces gained access to the camp.

“About that time the chaps attached to 11th Armoured Division had seen a staff car come up to Headquarters one day with a German officer, or two German officers I believe, blindfolded and when they made enquiries they were told that they were from a Political Prison Camp at Belsen. The
Germans, anticipating us capturing the camp or over-running it, wanted the British to send in an advanced party to prevent these prisoners who were supposed to be infected with typhus from escaping.

But the force we wanted to send in was too much. The Germans felt it wouldn’t have been
air so they agreed on a compromise that they would leave 1,000 Wehrmacht behind if we returned them within ten days. So we were standing by at Lüneburg, Lawrie and myself, to go into Belsen…We had this business of the staff car with the white flags telling us that there was a typhus hospital on the way ahead of us, and would we be willing to call a halt to any actual battle until this area was taken over in case of escapees into Europe and the ravage that would take place.

And as far as I know, the Brigadier believed this story, and we set sail that evening to have a look at this typhus hospital under a white flag. And there was no typhus hospital. There was barbed wire, sentry boxes, a huge garrison building for SS troopers, and Belsen concentration camp. And, as I say, we drove up in two, three jeeps, four jeeps maybe, in the evening, and we saw this concentration camp that we believed was a typhus hospital. But we knew immediately that it wasn’t a typhus hospital.”

Finishing this blog with a quote from Bergen Belsen’s mots famous victim, Anne Frank.

“I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death!”

sources

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/12/the-horrors-i-saw-still-wake-me-at-night-the-liberation-of-belsen-75-years-on

https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/the-liberation-of-bergen-belsen

https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/stories/the-liberation-of-bergen-belsen

The forgotten tragedy of Anne and Margot Frank

I am a member of several history websites and I get daily notifications abut events that happened in history this day. Today I got the notification that on this day in 1945 Anne Frank died in Bergen Belsen

I don’t know how they got to that conclusion because the exact date Anne and Margot Frank death is not known. But this is that forgotten tragedy of their deaths their family like Otto Frank and the girls’ Aunt Leni Frank Elias did not have a date where they could remember the death of the 2 girls, and maybe light a candle for them. Nor would they have a date where they could say a specific prayer.

Luckily Leni Frank-Elias moved to Basel. in Switzerland in the 1930s together with her husband and her sons Stephan and Bernhard(Bernd)aka Buddy.

Anne Frank clearly was very fond of her cousin Bernhard

Buddy (Bernd), was born in Frankfurt in 1925 and grew up in Basel. After his international career as an ice clown and actor, he became the President of the Anne Frank Fonds in Basel.

In a letter to Alice Fran dated 13 January 1941, Anne Frank wrote:

«I’m at the rink every spare minute. (…) I’m taking skating classes regularly now, where we’re learning how to dance and jump and everything else. (…) I hope that I’ll learn to skate as well as Bernd someday. (…) Bernd, maybe we can skate as a pair together someday, but I know I’d have to train very hard to get to be as good as you are.»

On 3 June 1942, Anne writes a birthday letter to her cousin Buddy. This is the last direct contact between the two cousins. One month later, on 6 July, the Franks leave their apartment in Merwedeplein in Amsterdam and go into hiding in the secret annex, which had been ready for months.

Such a tragedy that Anne and Margot Frank’s family and friends were even denied the date of their death.

Source

https://www.thepeoplehistory.com/march12th.html

https://www.annefrank.ch/en

Happy Birthday Edith Frank

I often think that Edith Frank is a forgotten hero. Stuck with so many people in such a small space, desperately avoiding being discovered. That would be challenging to anyone’s health. But Edith could not afford to lose her sanity not even for a second.

She was born in the German city of Aachen, close to the Dutch border, on 16 January 1900. Aachen is only a 20 minutes journey from Maastricht in the Netherlands

She was the fourth child in a wealthy Jewish family. Her parents ran a family business, trading in scrap metal, machinery and parts, boilers, other appliances, and semi-finished products.

Her father, Abraham Holländer (1860–1928) was a successful businessman in who was prominent in the Aachen Jewish community together with Edith’s mother, Rosa Stern (1866–1942). The ancestors of the Holländer family lived in Amsterdam at the start of the 18th century, emigrating from the Netherlands to Germany around 1800. Edith’s maiden name, Holländer, is German for “Dutchman”

I wonder how excited Edith’s parents must have been in the dying days of the 19th century. Were they hoping that Edith would be born 16 days early, so that Edith would have been the 1st child born in the 20th century?

Edith had three siblings: Walter, Julius, and Bettina. Edith had a carefree childhood until her older sister Bettina died. The cause of her death is unknown. At only fourteen, Edith was harshly confronted with death. She still managed to get on with her life: she finished high school and worked in the family business for a few years.

In 1924, Edith met Otto Frank and they were married on May 12, 1925 in Aachen’s synagogue. Their first daughter, Margot, was born in 1926 whereas their second daughter, Anne, was born in 1929.

Anne has not much sympathy for her mother during their tumultuous years in the annex, and she only has a few kinds words to say about her, particularly in the earlier entries. Anne feels that her mother is cold, critical, and uncaring, that they have very little in common, and that her mother does not know how to show love to her children. I don’t think that Anne realised the anxiety her mother must have had trying to keep her family safe. Then again what teenage girl gets along with her mother?

However in Anne’s later entries of her diary, she tried attempts to look at her mother’s life as a wife and mother in a more objective manner. As Anne gets older and gains a clearer perspective, she begins to regret her quick, petty judgments of her mother. Anne has more sympathetic feelings for her mother.

According to Otto, Edith suffered more from their arguments than Anne did. ‘Of course, I was worried about my wife and Anne not having a good relationship. However, she truly was an excellent mother, who put her children above all else. She often complained that Anne would oppose everything she did, but she was comforted to know that Anne trusted in me.’

Edith Frank died on 6 January 1945, three weeks before the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and 10 days before her 45th birthday. The cause of death was malnutrition ,basically murdered by starvation.

It gives me comfort to believe that Edith is now celebrating her birthday with her family in heaven. And if the stars sparkle more brightly tonight I will know she had a good birthday. Happy birthday Edith Frank.

sources

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/19185863/edith-frank

https://www.annefrank.org/en/anne-frank/main-characters/edith-frank/

https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/annefrank/character/edith-frank/

Band of Brothers

I recently bought a subscription for an application called Now TV. I basically bought it because it has some great box sets on it like ‘Sopranos’ .Howver I also saw that ‘Band of Brothers’ was on it too.

I forgot how good and powerful the show is. Last night I watched the second last episode, episode 9 titled “Why we fight” it is the episode where they come across one of the sub camps of Dachau. There is one powerful line in that episode which describes all the ‘enemies’ of the Third Reich.

“They are musicians, clerks, artists, doctors, teachers, Poles or Gypsies they are Jews, considered “undesirable” by the Germans. ” None of the men in the camp had any military connection.

There is one other scene earlier on in the episode, and I hadn’t noticed it before,. One of the men of EZ company entered a shop looking for VAT 69 whisky. Behind them there is a poster of a company called Opekta.

That is the company that Anne Frank’s father Otto managed in Amsterdam.

Anne Frank wrote in her diary on June 20, 1942: “Since we are Jews, my father went to the Netherlands in 1933. He became director of the Dutch Opekta company for jam production. “

source

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0185906/?ref_=ttfc_fc_tt

Etty Hillesum-A young woman’s life not fulfilled.

Like Anne Frank ,Etty (Esther) Hillesum, also kept a diary during World War 2,describing her experiences of the Holocaust. She was born in the city of Middelburg in the southwest of the Netherlands, on January 15,1914. She was the daughter of Levie Hillesum and Riva Bernstein. In 1932 she moved to Amsterdam to study law and Slavic languages.

She started her diary on March 7 1941, possibly at the suggestion of her analyst Julius Spier, whom she had been attending to for a month. Although his patient, Etty also became his secretary and friend and eventually his lover. His influence on her spiritual development is apparent in her diaries; as well as teaching her how to deal with her depressive and egocentric episodes he introduced her to the Bible and St. Augustine and helped her develop a deeper understanding of the work of Rilke and Dostoyevsky.

Etty was an intensely alive and sexual young woman, yet she felt herself plagued by what she called her ‘confounded eroticism”. But what healthy woman in her 20s isn’t interested in sex?

Rather then go to deep into her life, I feel it is better to reflect on what she felt by using some excerpts from her diary.

“This is a painful and almost insuperable step for me: committing so much that has been suppressed to a blank sheet of lined paper,” The thoughts in my head are so clear and sharp and my feelings so deep, but writing about them is hard. The main difficulty, I think, is a sense of shame. So many inhibitions, so much fear of letting go and allowing things to pour out of me, yet that is what I must do if I am ever to give my life a reasonable and satisfactory purpose. It is like the final, liberating scream that always sticks bashfully in your throat when you make love.”

“Only a few months ago I still believed that politics did not touch me and wondered if that was ‘unworldliness,’ a lack of real understanding. Now I don’t ask such questions any more”

“If there were only one decent German, then he should be cherished despite that whole barbaric gang, and because of that one decent German it is wrong to pour hatred over an entire people”

“I am not easily frightened. Not because I am brave but because I know that I am dealing with human beings and that I must try as hard as I can to understand everything that anyone ever does. And that was the real import of this morning: not that a disgruntled young Gestapo officer yelled at me, but that I felt no indignation, rather a real compassion, and would have liked to ask: ‘Did you have a very unhappy childhood, has your girlfriend let you down?’”

“MONDAY MORNING, 9 O’CLOCK. Come on, my girl, get down to work or God help you. And no more excuses either, no little headache here or a bit of nausea there, or I’m not feeling very well. That is absolutely out of the question. You’ve just got to work, and that’s that. No fantasies, no grandiose ideas and no earth-shattering insights. Choosing a subject and finding the right words are much more important. And that is something I have to learn and for which I must fight to the death: all fantasies and dreams shall be ejected by force from my brain and I shall sweep myself clean from within, to make space for real studies, large and small. To tell the truth, I have never worked properly. It’s the same with sex. If someone makes an impression on me, I can revel in erotic fantasies for days and nights on end. I don’t think I ever realised how much energy that consumes”

“Last night I asked Han in bed, ‘Do you think someone like me ought to get married? Am I a real woman?’ Sex for me is not all that important, although sometimes I give the impression that it is. Isn’t it cheating to allow men to be taken in by that impression and then be unable to give them what they want? I am not really an earthy woman, at least not sexually. I am no tigress and that sometimes gives me a feeling of inferiority. My primitive physical passion has been diverted in many different ways and weakened by all sorts of intellectualisations, which I am sometimes ashamed of. What is primitive in me is my warmth; I have a sort of primitive love and primitive sympathy for people, for all people. I don’t think I am cut out for one man”

“And yesterday I lay on that bed, for the first time naked in his arms, and it was less a night of love than that time. And yet it was good. It was not exciting, there was no ecstasy. But it was so sweet and so safe”

“Those two months behind barbed wire have been the two richest and most intense months of my life, in which my highest values were so deeply confirmed. I have learnt to love Westerbork”

“Can love one person and one person only one’s whole life long strikes me as quite childish. There is something mean and impoverishing about it. Will people never learn that love brings so much more happiness and reward than sex?”

“The misery here is quite terrible; and yet, late at night when the day has slunk away into the depths behind me, I often walk with a spring in my step along the barbed wire. And then time and again, it soars straight from my heart—I can’t help it, that’s just the way it is, like some elementary force—the feeling that life is glorious and magnificent, and that one day we shall be building a whole new world.”

“A lot of unimportant inner litter and bits and pieces have to be swept out first. Even a small head can be piled high inside with irrelevant distractions. True, there may be edifying emotions and thoughts, too, but the clutter is ever present. So let this be the aim of the meditation: to turn one’s innermost being into a vast empty plain, with none of that treacherous undergrowth the impede the view. So that something of “God” can enter you, and something of “Love,” too. Not the kind of love-de-luxe that you can revel in deliciously for half an hour, taking pride in how sublime you feel, but the love you can apply to small, everyday things.”

Her last words though were not written in her diary, but on a postcard she threw out of the train on transport to Auschwitz.

“Opening the Bible at random I find this: ‘The Lord is my high tower’. I am sitting on my rucksack in the middle of a full freight car. Father, Mother, and Mischa are a few cars away. In the end, the departure came without warning…. We left the camp singing…. Thank you for all your kindness and care.”

Etty was murdered in Auschwitz on November 30,1943, aged 29.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/136401/esther-hillesum#intro

https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2019/04/04/feminize-your-canon-etty-hillesum/

https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/hillesum-etty

https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/brexit-news-life-of-dutch-author-murdered-at-auschwitz-64044/

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