Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Reading Anne's Diary

The first time I ever read,
Anne Frank
"The Diary of A Young Girl"
I was in fifth grade at 
Catholic elementary school
in the mid-1970's.

 What has always haunted me about
the all too brief and tragic life
of this pert and pretty teen-aged girl
 is the incredible realization that
what happened to her and her family
 happened only twenty years
before I was born.

Annelies Marie "Anne" Frank
June 29, 1929-1945

Anne vividly described in her diary
 how the Jews were segregated
from the rest of the Dutch population
 after the Nazis invaded Holland
in May, 1940.

 Within only a few short years,
 everything quickly went from bad to worse,
with many Jews being routinely rounded up 
and deported to concentration
camps in Poland, Germany, and elsewhere,
never to be seen or heard from again.

When Anne's older sister Margot received a "call up"
 notice from the Central Office for Jewish Emigration to report for
deportation to a labor camp, their father, Otto Frank,
took his family and went into hiding in the "Secret Annex"
a series of rooms concealed behind a bookcase
in the building where Mr. Frank once worked.
This was in July, 1942.

Living in hiding was far from easy. Being unable to
go anywhere and living in such close quarters with
several others eventually wore on the family's nerves. 
 Although the Franks settled into a daily routine,
which included keeping absolutely silent during the
day when workers were downstairs in the building,
the fear of discovery was never far from
anyone's thoughts.

Anne's diary ends abruptly on August 1st, 1944,
just three days before she and her family and the
others hiding in the Secret Annex were 
betrayed and arrested by the Gestapo.
They were later sent to concentration camps.

I remember how awful I felt,
not to mention sick to my stomach,
  at the thought that someone,
perhaps the thief who broke into the building
at night, actually betrayed the Frank family
to the Gestapo, which paid money to informants
who told them where Jews were in hiding.

Furthermore, my young mind could not fully
grasp the reality that such an
 evil event as the Holocaust had actually  
 taken place, not in the mid-20th century.

But it did take place.

Jews were forced to wear the
Star of David in Nazi-occupied Europe
during World War II.

Anne once wrote,
 "I keep my ideals, because in spite of
everything, I still believe people are good at heart."

 Perhaps I once shared Anne's innocent belief
 about people being really good at heart.
 Unfortunately as the years have passed,
 I have come to see that since
 the beginning of recorded history,
 it is the unrepentant heart of mankind,
in rebellion before God, 
which has caused most of the evil
 and misery in this world.

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is
exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely mortally sick!
Who can be acquainted with his own heart and mind?"
Jeremiah 17:9

Nazis rounding up Jewish people in Amsterdam, Holland

A memorial for Margot and Anne Frank stands at the
former site of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
in Lower Saxony Northern Germany.
In the fall of 1944, Anne and her sister Margot,
were transferred from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen  
 where they died after contracting typhus
 in February or March 1945.

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