Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank (by Willy Lindwer)

I finished this a few days ago, strangely, on the day Miep Gies died.

These are the stories of a group of women who met Anne (and Margot and Edith) Frank at Westerbork, Auschwitz, and/or Bergen-Belsen. You get immersed in how their stories touched hers--so briefly--but also in each individual story and different perspective. (I particularly was moved by Bloeme's story; she's a psychologist and has a unique take on the psychology of what happened to her.)

I always get caught up in the same Catch-22 when I read about Anne Frank. I desperately wish she could have survived, but it's her death that made her diary possible, and it's the waste of her potential and her life that brings home the senseless tragedy of the Holocaust. The fact that it was silenced is part of what makes her voice so powerful.

Actually had I read this book before I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau, I could have visited the barracks where Anne and Margot were kept. Then again, I don't think anything could have made that visit more deeply affecting. Anyway. The book is troubling, and gripping.

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