Amsterdam, ancient, criss-crossed with canals, old dwellings alongside the canal-side. The city through which the?
Amsterdam, ancient, criss-crossed with canals, old dwellings alongside the canal-side. The city through which the Gestapo in the last war hunted their victims.
The Jews especially received the "attention" of the Gestapo at this period. In a house by one of these canals - Prinsengracht 263 - resided the Jewish family Frank with others. They lived not in the front but in the rear of the house - in the so-called backhouse or achterhuis. Secretly and silently they kept to their portion of the dwelling, hoping and praying that the Gestapo would not come upon them.
Behind this door, and in these rooms, now ruined by plundering and the natural elements, they successfully remained concealed for two years. In perpetual fear, eight people lived in here. Too dangerous to venture into the streets, their view, for two whole years was out over the little plot of back garden and the depressing backs of other dwellings.
A member of this silent, secret fearful little family community was a young Jewish girl, Anne Frank. A very intelligent girl, out of sheer boredom she started a diary, first without any serious intention. However, after hearing over the Radio London that all written diaries and documents would be of incalculable value in the later historical documentations of these fateful years, Anne Frank set to, to religiously keep a detailed dairy of day-to-day happenings. For her it was in some measure an escape from her present fears and frustrations, and when the war was over her writings proved an invaluable insight into the mentality of a young adolescent Jewish girl.
But sanctuary was to be terminated abruptly for the Franks. On August 4th, 1944, the Gestapo came to the house. The father was the only member of the family to escape the gas-chamber. Anne Frank died - but her diary survived and through it she survives still. Anne Frank's expressed wish that her diary be published has encouraged her father to dedicate his time to promoting the widest possible sale of her book and the play which has been adapted from it - and all profits from these sources will go to the Anne Frank Foundation an to rebuild, in its original character, the Anne Frank House, which will be used as a Youth centre. Mr. Frank is a wealthy man, but the work on the house will entail an expenditure of something in the nature of GBP50,000. And so Mr. Frank lives, modestly and quietly, with the memories of his little girl who achieved greatness after death.