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Memories of another day

By

GEETA PADMANABHAN , The Hindu

 

In 1940, Hitler conquered Holland. He stopped Jews from mixing with the other people. Anne Frank was 13-years-old at that time. She and her family and a few others moved into the Secret Annexe, in the hope that they would escape Hitler’s harsh regime. For two years, they lived in hiding. During that time, Anne wrote in her diary. She recorded the happenings of the times she lived in – extraordinary and dangerous too. On June 12, Anne Frank would have been 80, is she had been allowed to live…



Anne Frank was born on June 12, 1929. Her life was short, cruelly cut short by the policies of theNazi era. But the memory of this little girl continues to live on through the pages of her diary.


An artist’s impression of ANNE FRANK.

If you’ve been taught diary writing, or studied World War II in History, you would have heard of Anne Frank. If you’ve been to Amsterdam (lucky!) you might have stepped into the Anne Frank Museum.

You might have watched moving pictures of her life in the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. Have you read the book, Anne Frank’s Diary? About Anne Frank, we need to know.

Anne Frank was born on June 12 , 1929. She lived with her parents Otto and Edith Frank and sister Margot in Germany. In 1933, they moved to Amsterdam, Holland, to escape Hitler’s anti-Jewish laws. Anne went to a Montessori school. She was an excellent student. In 1940, Hitler conquered Holland. He stopped Jews like the Franks from mixing with others. They could not shop, swim or attend school. They feared for their lives.


The secret annexe : Anne’s home for two years.

In hiding

To protect his family, Otto Frank prepared a small area behind his office on Prinsengracht 263 as a hiding place. He stocked it with food and other things.


View from her room : The chestnut tree.

Then Margot was asked by Hitler’s Nazi SS to report for work at a concentration camp. So, on July 5, 1942, the Frank family moved to the “Secret Annexe”. Eight people — the four Franks, three from the Van Daan family (Herman and Auguste Van Daan and son Peter) and dentist Pfeffer — made it their home.

For two years they hid in that secret place. Imagine that! All day and night, Anne lay in a small attic. During this time, a diary her parents had gifted her became Anne’s best friend. She named it Kitty and poured her heart out in it. Writing brought her great comfort and made her less afraid.

What she wrote were the simple thoughts and feelings of a teenager. But Anne lived under extraordinary circumstances in dangerous times.

On August 4, 1944, the hiding place was discovered. All eight were arrested and sent to concentration camps. The Nazi men found the briefcase in which Anne kept her papers. They didn’t realize its value.

Two women, Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl knew of Anne’s love for her diary and collected the papers for safe-keeping.

Otto Frank survived the war. Anne died in the Bergen-Belsen camp of cold and fever. She was 15. Fifty years after she wrote her diary, her insightful words move us deeply. We see in them life, and hope for the future.

On screen

Feature films and documentaries have been made on Anne Frank’s story. Teachers talk of family bonding, courage and human rights when kids watch them. The most popular film on Anne Frank is “The Diary of Anne Frank” (1959). This is a dramatic presentation of the Diary. It won an Oscar Award.

“Anne Frank, the Whole Story” (2001) was made for television. This drama narrates the entire life of Anne Frank. It won an Emmy in 2001 for Best Mini series.

“Anne Frank Remembered” (1995) is a documentary of the Holocaust. It has actual scenes showing Anne Frank from the balcony of her apartment. This won the 1995 Academy Award for Best Documentary.

From the diary

There is simply no substitute for a careful reading of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, published in 1947 and translated into 70 languages. Through Anne’s diary entries young readers learn of the history of Nazi Germany during World War II. Anne also wrote short stories, fairy tales, essays, and the beginnings of a novel in five notebooks and 300 loose pages. In them you see a writer with imagination.

Anne’s description of her time in captivity is heart-wrenching, but we fall in love with this passionate girl who hopes things will get better. Her story must be told again and again, so nothing like this ever happens again.

July 8, 1942: The first thing I put in was this diary, then hair curlers, handkerchiefs, schoolbooks, a comb, old letters; I put in the craziest things with the idea that we were going into hiding. But I’m not sorry, memories mean more to me than dresses.

May 1, 1943: If I just think of how we live here, I usually come to the conclusion that it is a paradise compared with how other Jews who are not in hiding must be living.

February 3, 1944: I’ve reached the point where I hardly care whether I live or die. The world will keep on turning without me, and I can’t do anything to change events anyway. I’ll just let matters take their course and concentrate on studying and hope that everything will be all right in the end.

July 5, 1944: 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 shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.

July 6, 1944: We have many reasons to hope for great happiness, but…we have to earn it. And that’s something you can’t do by taking the easy way out. Earning happiness means doing good and working…

Courtesy: The Hindu

Filed under: Article of the Week,

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