The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank

July 12, 2014

The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank by Willy Lindwer

Anne Frank is possibly the most famous female in the world. Her diary has been read by millions of people in different languages, shedding light to the darkness of events during World War II. This book is a compilation of the interviews of the women who knew Anne Frank, revealing stories of great courage in times of horror. From the accounts of these 6 incredibly brave women, these particular phrases in the book hit me hard. Here are the quotes.

Hannah Elisabeth Pick-Goslar
1. He really became happy again. I have asked myself: How can you live like that, only in the past? Apparently he was able to set that aside. I don't believe that he was a broken man later. - Hannah Elisabeth Pick-Goslar on Otto Frank after the war

2. "What's the matter?"
"Last night, they took away my wife."
It was terrible. I still get chills when I think about it, seeing that man standing in front of the class. He had no children, I thought. His wife was everything to him. He went home and his wife wasn't there. That's how it was.

3. It wasn't the same Anne. She was a broken girl.

Janny Brandes-Brilleslijper
1. Racism - You don't notice that until you're older.

2. If there's fighting to be done, you just to have to stand and fight. That has always been true. It was that way throughout the war. You have to be true to yourself- you can never be something you are not, and you can't fool yourself.

3. It is the worst evil in the world. Setting people against each other because of their skin color or because someone has a little more than someone else. - Janny on Facism

4. In my thoughts, I had said goodbye to everything.

5. It wasn't all tears... We tried to keep each other going.

6. I remember something very nice about the French girls. They had been shaved completely bald. They found a little piece of glass and a small comb with three prongs. With that they combed their eyebrows, looking into the little mirror. Then they tied clothes around their heads and looked again to see if they weren't still a little bit elegant. I find such things delightful. The Nazis to set countries and nations against each other and to attack and take away a person's best quality - his dignity. And so I find people like those French girls so marvelous - those girls who fixed up their eyebrows with a little dirt in order to look a little better - really what the French call esprit, the strength not to give up, not to knuckle under. Never. 

7. At that moment there was only happiness. Only the happiness of seeing each other. - Janny on seeing Anne and Margot Frank in the camps.

8. To keep on going, to keep you grief to yourself, and to control yourself, and then to have someone else break the tension, and suddenly be freed.

9. All discrimination - whatever form it takes - is evil and that the world can go to pieces because of it.

Rachel Van Amerongen-Frankfoorder
1. And everywhere, you saw the despair. It was a terrible, hopeless existence

2. That pity for others was pity for yourself, and I absolutely didn't want that. Because once you started, then you would gradually fall apart. And that was really my strength.

3. But you don't learn to live with death.

4. You stayed alive, but don't ask how, sick and powerless, with so many dead around you.

5. Maybe I was able to survive because I had a bit more knowledge of life, a bit more will to live as well. I am assuming that, because I have it to this day. Everytday I can still enjoy life - which sounds strange - but that's how it is. I try to make a celebration of every day of my life.

6. I think that was a decisive factor, that particular spiritual strength.

Bloeme Evers - Emden
1. Derealization is when reality is not experienced as reality: this cannot be true; this doesn't exist. and depersonalization, that is the phenomenon of a split personality: I stood to the side - and saw myself simultaneously walk on; object and subject at the same time. You are the object of your own observation, and at the same time, you are the subjects who walks off, or who is hungry, or who is suffering.

2. I became very depressed knowing that such things existed. I didn't want to accept it. I had been brought up with respect for all people, insofar as they earned it on the basis of personal achievement or conduct, but not on the basis of race or heritage. I saw that the philosophy behind this system was carried out under the banner of a kind of inequality - an inferiority opposed to a superiority - and that the inferiors had to be crushed, whatever it took. To know this, and to be penetrated by this reality, was shattering. 

3. When someone is sick and doesn't know what disease he has, it is very frightening. But when a diagnosis is made, even if the diagnosis is bad news, you feel relief because you realize what you're up against. Now we never knew what we were up against.

4. Although they tried to drive home the idea of how worthless we were, just blöde Kühe (stupid cows), we never felt we were Untermenschen (subhumans). 

5. That was a thing of beauty from another world. A fragment of something esthetic which you had already completely forgotten existed. - Bloeme on when a Hungarian woman sang during the camp

6. I remember that once I was standing at roll call without any hope. Lenie stood behind me. She nudged me when the SS man wasn't looking for a moment, and said, "Do you see those mountains there - those snow-capped mountains? When we are liberated, we are going to dust them off." The power to say something like that kept you on your feet. These things were of immense significance. 

7. I've read a lot about people who did disintegrate, people whose personalities changed because of their experiences in the camp. However, that didn't happen among us. I went in and came out again with the same character. Virtues and vices were perhaps intensified, but whoever was proud when she entered the camps, left them proud, in a manner of speaking. Whoever had a warm heart, had very opportunity to develop it further. 

8. You were deeply convinced, and no one had to tell you, that their values were invalid and their norms were not norms at all. That what you had brought with you was inviolable. Your set of values, your conduct, what you deemed to be good and what you found to be evil - you brought that with you from your upbringing, from your environment, and from everything that contributed to that. 

Lennie de Jong - van Naarden
1. Those children expected so much from life. - Lennie on Anne and the other young girls in camp

2. Who knows, we may survive...

3. La guerre est finie (The war is over). 

4. For the second time in all that time, I cried - but now from happiness and thankfulness. 

5. Without each other, we wouldn't have made it. 

Ronnie Goldstein - van Cleef
1. "Now, we're finished." And then he quickly added, "But they'll never catch us." - Ronnie's dad on the German invasion

2. It had to be done and I did it.

3. I will survive. I said that then, which was naturally very arrogant, because you actually couldn't know. 

4. But there were moments, when you were so terribly helpless, because there was no one to help you; they weren't allowed to help you. You just had to see how you could manage by yourself. 

5. Sometimes, I had the feeling that I was just living from one moment to the nextl it was so chaotic. 

6. How can I find tranquility,
Year later, the tumult of the men resounds,
The swishing of their whips,
Above the people being pushed along,
And stamping of boots,
Cries of anguish.
I have seen so many go to a desperate death,
Across a dirt path, on which their weakened feet
Dragged them to the gate. 
Smoke cannot speak,
From the chimneys, they slip out, formless, above my head,
And are taken by the wind,
Robbed of their bones. 
Since then, despite my clothes, I'm naked,
And remain exposed to synonyms. 
Therefore, it is not tranquil within,
The whips are still lashing,
And at the most unexpected times,
The packing paper pictures come forth,
Chilly, yellowed, gray from smoke,
And stiff with death, at night, when I went to sleep. 

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