Anne Frank’s life was only 15 years long, but her legacy? It’s going to outlast us all.
Annelies Marie Frank was born on June 12, 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany, second child to Otto and Edith who were both from well-to-do, German Jewish families. Otto was a decorated officer in the German army, well traveled, spent a couple years in the United States and went back to Germany to work at his family’s bank and throat lozenge company. Edith graduated from a Protestant girl’s school, and worked for her family’s business.
While Otto, Edith, big sister Margo (if three years is “big”) and Anne were having playdates and dinner parties in their inclusive Frankfurt neighborhood, Germany was not only sinking into a serious financial depression but there was a rising nationalist, far-right political party gaining strength who blamed all the woes of the country on the Jewish people. When that organization’s leader and most powerful mouthpiece, Adolf Hitler, took control as Chancellor and began enacting anti-semitic laws, Otto and Edith saw the writing on the wall and moved to the Netherlands.
In Amsterdam, Otto established a business, the girls went to school, made friends, learned Dutch…all while the Nazi’s were taking over the countries around them. When they invaded the Netherlands restrictions on the things Jewish people could do got tighter and tighter, but there was no place for the Franks to go this time. Shortly after Anne turned 13, the family went into hiding.
For two years the Franks, the Van Pels family and Fritz Pfeffer lived in hiding with the help of a handful of very brave friends. And Anne wrote about the experience in a diary her parents had given her on that last birthday. When she heard that diarists were going to be needed after the war she began to rewrite her diary (which had grown from one book to several other notebooks) with the plan to be a published author.
We go into all the details in the podcast about life before, during, and after the time Anne and her family spent in hiding (there’s even a little romance in there.) The “after” is the saddest. The group was discovered, arrested and taken to Auschwitz concentration camp. All but Otto died before the end of the war.
The diary we all read (you’ve read it, right?) was first edited by Otto, published and became a world-wide best seller. When her original diaries were discovered, more of Anne’s words were put into the book…and there was a very recent discovery of even MORE of her words.
Because of the time, care, honesty and talent that Anne put into her writing, she became the loudest voice for the millions murdered during the Holocaust. Her body may have been buried in a mass grave, but her dream of being a published author not only became a reality, it gave her message and words life.
Time Travel with The History Chicks
This is the piece of music Beckett was working to get permission to put in the show. It’s based on Anne’s story…beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time.
This is by no means even close to a complete list of the excellent resources available, but it’s a good start.
Here is part one of six of this award winning documentary on YouTube.
And Anne Frank: The Whole Story with Ben Kingsley (One of two parts):
Streaming services Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu all have offerings for documentaries or dramatizations of Anne’s story as well as general WWII and Holocaust films.
Susan’s favorite on Amazon: My Daughter Anne Frank, it’s a dramatization in German with English subtitles (and you know how much Susan doesn’t care to read her movies.)
Beckett’s favorite: The Diary of Anne Frank starring Millie Perkins (1959)
Also on Prime is The Man in the High Castle which isn’t about Anne but a sci-fi, alternative history, dramatic, scripted series (also, lots of violence, not for the kids.)
We think an early stop at the Anne Frank House website, annefrank.org is crucial. There are so many things, including a very thorough timeline and a virtual tour of sorts. Start here, at Inside The Museum and then The Collection, and the Tour
The Unites States Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, is also an excellent resource to either visit in person or online.
We both enjoyed this article about Joop te Heul books…like Laura Ingalls Wilder, Anne Shirley or Jo March–except with shenanigans. More online articles we got a lot out of, Anti-Semitism in Germany: a Historical Background, Were the Nazi’s Socialists? The Bebelplatz book burning memorial, and The Misuse of Anne Frank’s Diary (you may not agree, but things that make you go, “hmmmmmm”)
And, don’t forget, you can practice your Dutch and mess it up as well as we did, Hear Dutch Names and Words from the Diary of Anne Frank
We can’t embed the video, so you have to click over, but Rick Steves explains the story of Fascism in Europe is a good watch.
Don’t forget to check out our Pinterest board for Anne and every other woman that we cover!