The Holocaust is undoubtedly the most tragic event in the history of modern human civilization. One has to go back many centuries in time to point a catastrophe of such magnitude – for example, the Black Death that afflicted most of Europe and wiped out nearly a third of its then population. The difference of course is quite telling; while the latter was a natural phenomenon caused by an epidemic disease, the former is a man-made disaster. The Third Reich, which was the architect of this systematic human purging, was an elected government of the German Republic. That such devastation and barbarism could result from the workings of democratic institutions is very difficult to digest and poses many questions of ourselves and our tolerance toward other cultures. In this context, Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl is another poignant contribution to an extensive canon of Holocaust Literature. After two years of living in the underground, young Anne Frank and her family were eventually caught by the squads of the Third Reich. She met a tragic death after being subject to humiliation and subjugation by the Nazi command. But what follows is a fictitious account of how she had been favored by good fortune and survived and lived on for many years into adulthood. The following fictitious entries can be appended toward the end of the published diary:
Tuesday, April 20, 1945: “Upon arriving in a camp in Auschwitz a group of previously captured inmates return silently, their faces pale. As we pass through the barrier, it’s deathly still. I only hear them breathe again when we reach the other side, where the armed officials are standing, as if they’ve been holding their breath the entire time. My mother opens her eyes and pats my hand. The mustached guards in military uniforms with red piping give the passports a cursory glance…”
Wednesday, April 21, 1945: “The barracks we were stationed was congested, poorly illuminated with little ventilation. Being a young girl I was able to squeeze into my shelf relatively easy, but elderly adults found it difficult. As the lights went off a silence fell upon the quarters and people either slept or pretended to sleep for fear of getting the guard’s wrath.”
Thursday, April 22, 1945: “This morning there were rumors within the camp that most of the inmates will be sent to the gas chamber. I and my mother were especially terrified of the approaching time when the guards would order the barrackers out into the open. But just as the tension was building and our nerves were getting wracked a refreshing tune of the Russian anthem was gradually growing more audible. My mother cried “the’ve come!!..we’re saved!!”. She explained that the Russian army has successfully made inroads into the receding German line of control. The other inmates too, upon realizing the significance of this moment, rejoiced with great uproar. So within a whisker’s moment in time our fortunes turned from grave to glorious…”
Friday, April 23, 1945: “The Russian officers were very gentle and helpful. They assured us that we would be sending us to rehabilitation centers and eventually reach us home. The weak and emaciated faces of the campers shone with illumination and relief as hopes of a peaceful civil life began to be realized…”
The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition, Otto H. Frank and Mirjam Pressler (Editors); Susan Massotty (Translator). Doubleday, 1991
Durlacher, Gerhard., “Drowning, Growing Up in the Third Reich”, Serpent’s Tail Publications, London, 1993 edition.
Schnabel, Ernst, The Footsteps of Anne Frank, Published by Pan Books, London, 1961 edition.