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Arts

September 29, 2013

Anne Frank: a memoir of the Holocaust

anne frank

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl was written by Anne Frank while in hidden in an attic, hoping to escape  Nazi persecution. Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, her remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.

With  Nazis occupying Holland in 1942, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annexe” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death.
During the two years and one month Anne Frank spent hiding in the Annex in Amsterdam, Ann kept a diary which was later published by her surviving father after the war. The Diary, which has been read by millions of people around the world, chronicles  both the tensions and difficulties of living in such a confined space for that long a duration as well as Anne’s struggles with becoming a teenager. Since its publication, Anne Frank has become a symbol of the children that were murdered in the Holocaust. Her  account of her experiences during this period offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.

Opponents of the diary continued to express the view that it was not written by a child, but had been created as “pro-Jewish propaganda,” with Otto Frank being accused of fraud.

In 1959, Otto Frank took legal action in Lübeck against Lothar Stielau, a school teacher and former Hitler Youth member who published a school paper that described the diary as “a forgery.” The complaint was extended to include Heinrich Buddegerg, who wrote a letter in support of Stielau, which was published in a Lübeck newspaper. The court examined the diary in 1960 and authenticated the handwriting as matching that in letters known to have been written by Anne Frank. They declared the diary to be genuine. Stielau recanted his earlier statement, and Otto Frank did not pursue the case any further.

With Otto Frank’s death in 1980, the original diary, including letters and loose sheets, were willed to the Dutch Institute for War Documentation, who commissioned a forensic study of the diary through the Netherlands Ministry of Justice in 1986. They examined the handwriting against known examples and found that they matched. They determined that the paper, glue, and ink were readily available during the time the diary was said to have been written. They concluded that the diary is authentic, and their findings were published in what has become known as the “Critical Edition” of the diary.

On 23 March 1990, the Hamburg Regional Court confirmed the diary’s authenticity.

In 1999 Time named Anne Frank among the heroes and icons of the 20th century on their list The Most Important People of the Century, stating: “With a diary kept in a secret attic, she braved the Nazis and lent a searing voice to the fight for human dignity”. Philip Roth called her the “lost little daughter” of Franz Kafka. On 9 March 2012 Der Spiegel announced that Madame Tussauds wax museum had unveiled an exhibit featuring a likeness of Anne Frank.



About the Author

Christine Anne Piesyk
Christine Anne Piesyk brings over 40 years of experience to the pages of Business Clarksville; she has edited news, opinion, politics, business, arts/leisure, food, lifestyle, education and travel pages in both daily and weekly newspapers. Now retired, she words as an editorial consultant, and remains an editorial consultant to Business & Heritage Clarksville. " At 18, she began working with film and theatre critic Sam Hoffman, and at 27 launched The Entertainment Review as a radio medium with Jesse Garon. As a film/arts critic, she co-produced the Review for 25 years in both print and radio. The number of films she has, seen, studied or reviewed number in the thousands. "Lifelong education and a career in media have afforded me extraordinary opportunities," Piesyk said. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in individualized studies from Goddard College.




 
 

 
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