To break the monotony of the long car ride, I listen to the radio. I select a station at random, with nothing special in mind and catch a narrator in mid-sentence. After a moment, I realize that he is speaking about Anne Frank. March marks the 50th anniversary of the young girl’s death. The media is seizing upon this story, but many of us already feel we know all there is to know about the Holocaust, having read books and seen movies-most recently Schindler’s List.
A voice on the radio reads excerpts from Anne Frank’s diary, adding his own comments. The voice is sympathetic and sad, as befits the occasion. It is touching to listen to the young girl’s feelings, hopes, thoughts, dreams, and about her life in hiding, especially since we know that she will eventually meet a horrible death at a tender age.
To me, Anne Frank’s story has special meaning. We are soul sisters. I think of a childhood friend who-like Anne-did not survive World War II, but perished at the age of 12. As I listen to the diary excerpts, I also reflect on my own years during the war. Like Anne, I went into hiding with my older sister and mother. We also had our squabbles, misunderstandings, and did not venture out of doors for roughly two-and-a-half years. Anne’s thoughts and feelings are too familiar to me. I missed my freedom during the war, and could not understand why people hated each other believing that people are truly good. But I did not keep a diary, because I did not have a pen, pencil, or any writing or reading materials.
Our savior was illiterate, and any attempts on her part to obtain writing or reading materials would have been suspicious. I was, however, fortunate to have a loving mother and sister. We entertained each other as best we could. My mother told us stories from her life, of different events and people in our hometown while my sister and I shared our fears, hopes and plans for the future. We also played our favorite game, asking each.