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Friday, June 12, 2009 FULL SHOW | HEADLINES | PREVIOUS: Domestic Workers Fight for Bill of Rights
2009-06-12

80th Anniversary of Anne Frank’s Birth: How a 13-Year-Old Girl Became the Defining Voice of the Nazi Holocaust

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Events are being held today around the world to mark what would have been Anne Frank’s eightieth birthday. In Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House museum has announced it will put her diaries on permanent display. Anne Frank died at the age of fifteen of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in the spring of 1945, just weeks before the concentration camp was liberated. Her diary was first published in 1947 and has since become one of the most widely read books in the world. We play a reading from the Anne Frank Diary Recording Project. [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Events are being held today around the world to mark what would have been Anne Frank’s eightieth birthday. In Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House museum has announced it will put her diaries on permanent display. The museum is located in the house where Frank’s family hid from the Nazis from 1942 to 1944 and where she wrote her now world-famous diaries of life during the Holocaust.

Anne Frank died at the age of fifteen of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in the spring of 1945, just weeks before the concentration camp was liberated.

Her diary was recovered and preserved by Miep Gies, a Dutch woman who helped the Frank family while they were in hiding. The diary was first published in 1947 and has since become one of the most widely read books in the world.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, on Wednesday, a new play called Anne & Emmett was scheduled to open at the Holocaust Memorial Museum. The play centers on an imaginary conversation between Anne Frank and Emmett Till, the fourteen-year-old African American boy who was lynched in Money, Mississippi in 1955.

But the play’s opening was postponed after the gunman, with ties to white nationalist groups, opened fire at the museum on Wednesday killing a security guard.

To end today’s show, we air a short video produced by the Anne Frank Center USA here in New York as part of their Anne Frank Diary Recording Project.

    JACK POLAK: I’m Jack Polak. I am the chairman emeritus of the Anne Frank Center of the United States, and I’ve been working for the Anne Frank in many capacities for the last twenty-five years.

    There must be reason that The Diary of Anne Frank is the second most-read book in the world. I find, wherever I speak, that people, young and old, tell me that the diary has been a guideline in their lives.

    OLIVIA: “I can shake everything off if I write, my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” This quote relates to me, because, in the same aspect, I run, instead of writing. When I run, I feel so free. Everything in life disappears.

    DAVID: I picked this entry, because I think it really shows how her position doesn’t affect her, and she takes it all with grace and maturity. And I take inspiration from that.

    SOPHIE: “I’m boiling with rage, and yet I mustn’t show it. I’d like to stamp my feet, scream, give Mummy a good shaking, cry, and I don’t know what else.”

    ALISON: I like this journal entry, because I can relate to it a little, because sometimes I get frustrated with people at my house, and I want to get, like, violent, but I can’t, because I’ll get in trouble.

    GARY: “Our freedom was severely restricted by a series of anti-Jewish decrees: Jews were required to wear a yellow star; Jews were required to turn in their bicycles; Jews were forbidden to use streetcars; Jews were forbidden to ride in cars, even their own; Jews were required to do their shopping between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m.; Jews were required to frequent only Jewish-owned barbershops and beauty parlors; Jews were forbidden to be out on the streets between 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.; Jews were forbidden to go to theaters, movies or any other forms of entertainment; Jews were forbidden to use swimming pools, tennis courts, hockey fields or any other athletic fields; Jews were forbidden to visit Christians in their homes; Jews were required to attend Jewish schools, etc. You couldn’t do this and you couldn’t do that. But life went on. Jacque always said to me, ‘I don’t dare do anything anymore, ’cause I’m afraid it’s not allowed.’”

    JODIE: “I go to the attic almost every morning to get the stale air out of my lungs. This morning when I went there, Peter was busy cleaning up. He finished quickly and came over to where I was sitting on my favorite spot on the floor.”

    MICHELLE: The reason why I chose this is because I see that her feelings are changing towards Peter, and I’m a hopeless romantic. And I just think it’s nice how she’s changing, and she’s talking like a typical adolescent. And I found it very interesting.

    IGNACIO: “Don’t think I’m in love, because I’m not, but I do have the feeling that something beautiful is going to develop between Peter and me.”

    SOPHIA: “I think now of my life in 1942. It all seems so unreal. It was quite a different Anne who enjoyed that heavenly existence from the Anne who has grown wise within these walls.”

    THEONI: “It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.”

    TIMERE: I was that little girl with a journal. And when I go back over and read over it today, with so many passionate entries about my friends and how I felt, you know, and just feeling alone and feeling like my journal was kind of my best friend.

AMY GOODMAN: This video produced by the Anne Frank Center USA here in New York as part of their Anne Frank Diary Recording Project.

Anne Frank would have been eighty years old today, if she had survived. She was born on June 12th, 1929. She died while imprisoned at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp three months short of her sixteenth birthday. It is her voice, the voice of a thirteen-, fourteen-, fifteen-year-old girl, that is the most famous voice of the Holocaust.

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