Anne Frank's 90th birthday
On June 12, Anne Frank would have turned 90. A recent issue of her journal invites to commemoration and rediscovery.
Anne Frank could still live. Perhaps she would spend her 90th birthday in a nursing home in Frankfurt am Main, her birthplace, celebrated by children, grandchildren and grandchildren. Perhaps she will also be in Amsterdam on the 12th of June, highly honored for her literary merits. Certainly her publisher would drop by and bring flowers for the anniversary.
But Anne Frank has been dead for 74 years, died in the hell of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. On June 12, there will be a memorial service in her honor in Frankfurt in the Paulskirche. The motto of the day will be "Let me be myself," a quote from her journal written in hiding in an Amsterdam back house when she was 14 years old.
Anne Frank has written world literature, hardly a single work tells more urgently and directly about the persecution of the Jews during National Socialism as her diary, in which she describes everyday life in hiding, her fears and hopes, the friction between the submerged with her adults, the narrowness the jokes with which the confined ones are encouraged, the fear of being discovered, and their intimate observations of how they develop from child to woman.
Thus, Anne Frank has become a symbol of the victims of the Holocaust. But that is a misunderstanding. Already Miep Gies, one of her helpers, has pointed out: "Anne's life and death is an individual destiny. An individual destiny – happened six million times. Each victim had their own world views and ideals, each victim had a unique, personal meaning. "
Most were discovered and murdered
It would also be wrong to draw conclusions about the survivability of the Jews from their more than two years of suffering in hiding. Yes, tens of thousands have chosen this path in Europe, but having more moral courage among the Christians could have been much more. Most of the Jews were discovered and murdered by the Gestapo and their helpers. In Germany, perhaps 2,000 survived the Nazi era.
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But very few of them, like Anne Frank, were able to hide permanently in one place, supported by trusted people. They had to make hasty changes to their quarters, trust in the unknown and spend the night in attics, in cellars or in the open air, extortionable by some supposed helpers who exploited their plight, and without contact with friends and relatives.
Fear united all the Hidden. "I keep asking myself if it would not have been better for us if we had not gone underground, if we were dead and did not share this misery and, above all, saved the others," wrote Anne Frank on May 26, 1944 On February 12, 1944, she noted: "The sun is shining, the sky is deep blue … and I long so – long for everything – after all – for freedom, for friends, for being alone. I long so … for crying! "
The diary is available in four versions. Version c is the text published by her father soon after the war, in which Otto Frank cleaned up the notes of some places that belittled the memory of the family. Version d refers to the worldwide edition of the edition, in which the versions a and b are merged. It is less well known that from March 1944, Anne Frank rewrote her diary into a second, literary version, after hearing on the radio a call to preserve personal memories of the suffering of the Dutch during the occupation.
Too intimate was omitted, personal name shortened them. This text, called version b, is more reflective, yet retains the immediacy of the original diary that continued it, and today is version a. It bears the title "The back house".
On the occasion of Anne Frank's 90th birthday, the Fischer-Verlag has combined these two texts a and b in a joint edition (Anne Frank: "The Secret Annex – Het Achterhuis: The Diaries of Anne Frank" .477 pages, 35 euros). Although both versions are well known, it has created a book that invites to a rediscovery and makes clear that Anne was not only a Jewish girl persecuted by the Nazis to the death, but a gifted writer.
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