I was randomly looking at Wikipedia articles when I noted that August 4 is the date that the Gestapo arrested Anne Frank and her family in Amsterdam. Even though it occurred only sixty years ago, Occupied Europe seems like another planet.

After discussing Neutral Milk Hotel in the July statistics post, I decided to do a little research and visited the websites of Anne Frank, Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen. I remember reading the diary in elementary school after finding it in the library. For some time, I was not quite sure whether or not I had finished it; eventually I realized that this confusion was a result of its anti-climatic ending (an epilogue in italics).

Some time later, I was watching an award show (most likely the 1996 Oscars, where the documentary Anne Frank Remembered won a Best Documentary award). After Miep Gies was introduced only as "the woman who found Anne Frank's diary and bought it to the world," the entire theater gave her a standing ovation. At the time, I thought this was a bit much. I assumed Gies was just a woman who happened to be with Otto Frank when he returned to the "Secret Annex," and she had no role in hiding the Franks (this, of course, is false). I also thought while the Holocaust was important, Anne Frank was just one of many who died, and that she did not deserve any special recognition above the others.

I feel differently now. There is something about Anne Frank's story that conveys the senseless cruelty and horror of the Holocaust. It might be the fact that she was a child, or that she almost survived (alas, almost surviving is not good enough) the war. Whatever it is, her story continues to have resonance.