Anne Frank died more than 69 years ago in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. Her death came 3 months before her 16th birthday.
Recent studies of records kept meticulously by the Nazis during World War II now tell us that the number of Jews who perished during the Holocaust is closer to 7 million than previous estimates of 6 million.
Whatever the number, it's too many. So were the deaths of millions of Russians, Romanis (Gypsies), Slavs, homosexuals, dissidents and those considered mentally unfit. It was an unprecedented purge meant to rid the world of those considered undesirable and to establish the dominance of the Aryan race.
The story of Anne Frank, though puts an unforgettable face on the victims of mankind's darkest days. The story of Anne Frank could be the story of our neighbors' or, horrifyingly, even of our own children. It is the personification of all of the possibilities of life snuffed out by hubris, hatred and fear.
The story of Anne Frank is the story of men who see evil and do nothing.
Anne Frank died 6 years before I was born, but she is my candle in the wind, apologies to Sir Elton John.
The Frank family moved to Amsterdam when Anne was 4, after Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany. Seven years later, in 1940 Germany invaded the Netherlands. The Franks went into hiding in 1942 when Anne's older sister, Margot received orders to report to a German work camp. It was the beginning of the end for the Frank family.
After 2 years in hiding, the Franks were discovered by the Nazis and dispersed to concentration camps across Germany. Anne, already weakened by 2 years of malnutrition succumbed to typhus in March of 1945.
As I see the resurgence of anti-Semitism across Europe, I think about young Anne Frank. Some, like Mel Gibson's father Hutton, Iran's previous president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and even a professor at Northwestern University would tell us that the Holocaust never happened. Many would believe them.
History is replete with repetition. It seems that man has never committed a folly so great that he was unwilling to repeat it. Again and again and, yet again.
The horror of the Holocaust and the inhumanity of the Nazis weighs on me inordinately, maybe because I see it's repetition as a real possibility in my lifetime. Recent events in Ukraine have alluded to just that.
It's the face of Anne Frank, though that I see when I think of our failure to end genocide. It is her we are failing and now there are 300 or more just like her, abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria. I can't help wondering how she would've recorded that in her diary.
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