(Forward) Say it isn’t so! A “Holocaust” survivor — who grew up in Amsterdam with Anne Frank and knew her family — said she didn’t like Anne — a “typical German Jew.”
Jewish writer Philip Graubart tells the story of his friendship with “Trudy” — a contemporary of Anne Frank:
“…I became acutely conscious of [Trudy’s] survivor status about 20 years ago, when I suddenly put together a few of the facts I knew about her – Amsterdam, Westerbork, 1929 birthdate – and asked what should have been an obvious question: Had she known Anne Frank?
She scowled, shut her eyes, then nodded. “Yes,” she said slowly, grimacing as if reliving a particularly bitter moment of indigestion. “I knew Anne.”
“Huh,” I said, noting the unusual frown, the down-turned eyes. This wasn’t sadness or loss, it was — irritation. “You didn’t….”
“Arrogant girl,” she snapped. “Snobby. Self-absorbed. Typical German Jew. I didn’t like her.”
She didn’t like Anne Frank. At first I couldn’t absorb the sentiment, couldn’t really believe my ears. It was like hearing a Catholic say she wasn’t fond of the Virgin Mary, that she was sick of all her tiresome bragging. Virgin birth – big deal. But then I realized that Trudy’s distaste for Anne Frank the person – whatever girlhood tiff set it off – returned the Holocaust to where it belongs, in prosaic human history.
It’s not a myth, or a sacred narrative, with demigods and martyrs and supernatural heroines. It’s not a biblical story, a tragic moment pointing to redemption. It’s a story of girls and boys, Annes and Trudys, and their brothers and sisters and parents, murdered and tortured the way humans have murdered and tortured since time immemorial.
But the next day, at lunch, I discovered that Trudy’s Anne Frank induced scowl wasn’t merely personal (it was mostly personal). “Of course, she was a mean girl – like you see today in the movies, yes?” Trudy said. “A mean girl. That was Anne. But that wasn’t really her fault. It was her father, you see, who spoiled her, and, well, never mind, I’ve said too much. But to me, what became insufferable was her optimism. ‘I know in my heart that people are good.’ That was from her diary, yes? People are good? Do you think she believed that in Bergen-Belsen?”
I’m not sure she realized it — she didn’t follow Jewish intellectual arguments — but Trudy had stumbled onto one of the key controversies surrounding Anne Frank’s diary: its supposed optimism. It was actually the hit Broadway play that highlighted Anne’s line about the essential goodness of the human heart; both the play and the movie end with the quote. The diary itself includes the line, but also Anne’s observation that the world would be better off without any people. Critics of the play, including Cynthia Ozick in an influential Commentary piece where she half-wishes the diary had never been found, accuse the playwrights and their supporters of using the diary – and therefore the Shoah – to promote an anti-Zionist, anodyne universalism that negates Jewish national concerns.
But Trudy wasn’t responding to the diary’s politics, or to the political uses others made of the book or the play or the movie. She was just pissed off at Anne Frank because, in her opinion, Anne got it wrong: People aren’t basically good.
For Trudy, the Shoah was never a rhetorical weapon or a political tool – it wasn’t up for grabs to the loudest shouter. It was her personal story. To me, it felt like Trudy longed for Anne to have survived, just so that Trudy could have told her off, survivor to survivor, person to person….
Not only did Otto Frank “spoil” his daughter Anne — he wrote much of her iconic diary after she died — as another one of his business scams.
And Otto clearly spoiled Anne — at the height of the Depression, judging from the numerous photographs of Anne throughout her childhood, the Franks enjoyed a very comfortable and prosperous life in Amsterdam.
For those who find it inconceivable that Anne Frank’s diary was largely a fabrication of her father to cash in on her death, we strongly recommend you read Ditlieb Felderer’s 1978 book, Anne Frank’s Diary — A Hoax.
And the “supposed” quote of Anne Frank that so irked “Trudy” is clearly a post-war fabrication by Otto Frank — or the ghost writer whom he hired to embellish her diary:
“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.”
Her seemingly prescient use of the phrase “sufferings of millions” is clearly an allusion to the tiresome Jewish mantra of 6 Million™ — a transparent manipulation by Otto Frank to turn his “self-absorbed” child into some kind of Jewish prophet — or the equivalent of the “Virgin Mary” turning the other cheek.
But “turning the other cheek” is a Christian sentiment — and Otto Frank clearly had her diary written to “sell” this exotic Jewish girl to a young, gentile — and gullible — audience — which would also explain why he censored Anne’s actual graphic musings about sexuality.
Let’s face it — if this famous passage had truly been written by a Jew — for a Jewish audience — it would instead have read, “Never forgive, never forget, never again!“