Reading, Writing & Other Addictions

Facing Reality Through Fiction

The Anniversary of the End: A Tribute to Anne Frank

“Little bundle of contradictions…” That is how Anne Frank’s last entry into her diary, dated Tuesday, 1 August, 1944, begins.  She goes on to describe the struggle between our true self and the self we allow others to see.  Rarely do you see such truth and insight from a girl just 15-years-old, but her life was not exactly typical.

Although born in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1933, when Anne was only four, her father, Otto Frank moved to Holland.  Otto could see how the majority of German sympathies were leaning toward the Nazi-party, who had before that year been thought of as troublemakers, if they had been thought of at all.  Holland had always been a place of refuge for the persecuted, but all that changed when the Germans invaded Holland in 1940.  Ever perceptive, when the Nazis began rounding up Jews in 1941 to deport them back to Germany, Otto Frank began to make preparations to hide his family.  On July 5, 1942, Anne’s 16-year-old sister, Margot was summoned to report for deportation.  The next day the family went into hiding. The Franks lived with another family, the Van Daan’s and another man, Mr. Dussel in some small cramped upstairs quarters, which they called the “secret annexe,” for two years.

In June, 1944, the Allies invaded France.  The group up in the “secret annexe” looked forward to the day that the Germans would be driven from Holland and they could come out of hiding, taste the air, feel the sun, stroll down the street.  But on August 4 1944, the Gestapo found the Franks’ hiding place.  The eight Jews, along with two of their friends who were hiding them, were taken to Gestapo headquarters in Amsterdam. The Franks, the Van Daans and Mr. Dussel were sent to Westerbork transit camp and then on to Auschwitz.  The Franks were among the last shipment of a thousand Jews to leave Holland on September 3, the day the Allies captured Brussels.

In October, Anne, Margot and Mrs. Van Daan were among a group of the youngest and strongest women selected to be moved to Belsen Concentration Camp in Germany.  Mrs. Frank died in Auschwitz, alone.  Mr. Van Daan had met his end in the gas chamber, and Mr. Dussel was send to Germany and died in the Neuengamme camp.  In February, 1945, the SS abandoned Auschwitz, and they took Peter Van Daan with them.  He was never heard from again.  Mr. Frank survived to be liberated by the Russians.  Mrs. Van Daan, Margot and Anne died at Belsen.  Anne was not yet 16-years-old.  Two months later, the war ended.

Through the publication of her diary, many people have been inspired, by this strong, courageous girl, who was wise beyond her years, to “keep on trying to find a way of becoming what I would so like to be, and what I could be, if…there weren’t any other people living in the world.”

Thank you for your words, Anne.

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