Saturday, 23 January 2010

Anne Frank Remembered by Miep Gies - Three *

I have to put my hand up and admit that I have never read anything about Anne Frank before. This was a positive and personal choice. My mother was born of Jewish parents and converted to Christianity at a time my grandfather felt it worthy of the comment that it would not save her from the Nazis. Because of this I have always been afraid to pursue the subject but fully aware of the horrors to which the Jewish people were subjected. It must also be remembered that of the 11 million slaughtered in the holocaust, 5 million were not Jewish but books like the diary of Anne Frank leave people thinking that only the Jewish people were targeted.

However that is all on the macro level, this book deals on the micro level and as Miep Gies points out, she was one of a whole army of people who put their lives at risk to help a few people to survive the war, although, as in the case of the Franks, not always with success.

I did enjoy the book and found it interesting in many ways. It is easy to consider the terror of the people being hidden and pursued, but the terror of those who assisted and protected them, knowing that discovery was likely to mean their own death, is easy to ignore. Miep tries to portray that daily terror to the reader and further to explain the lengths they had to go to keep their charges fed and healthy. Is it well written? Well I must say no, but it is honestly written and the afterword of this edition does not read anything like the main body. I believe this is because the afterword was paraphrased from the musings of the 100 year old Miep.

Miep didn't see herself as brave but would I have done the same? As a single man I would like to think I would but as a married man with children I know I wouldn't, although many thousands of individuals across Europe did exhibit such bravery to protect individuals from persecution and death. I take my hat off to all of them and thank Miep for showing me a little of the lengths such people had to go to.

Will I now read the diary? Well I am more likely to, but not yet.

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