Hiding in a secret annex, Anne Frank often felt isolated even though she was with her parents, sister, and several other people. She missed going to school and being with her friends. She felt there was no one with whom she could confide her innermost thoughts. Anne decided to think of her diary as a friend. She even gave her diary a name, “Kitty,” and she began her entries as if they were letters, “Dear Kitty.” In August 1944, the secret annex was discovered. The Frank family was arrested and sent to the Westerbork transit camp before being deported to Auschwitz. Miep Gies, one of the brave people who had helped the Frank family, hid Anne’s diary in her desk. Miep hoped that Anne would one day return and be reunited with her friend “Kitty.” But Anne died in Bergen Belsen in March 1945 shortly before the camp was liberated.
After the war, Miep gave “Kitty” to Otto Frank, Anne’s father, the only member of the family to survive. Otto knew how much Anne wanted to be a writer so he decided to publish her diary, her stories of her life in hiding and her dreams for the future. This year, 2017, marks the 70th anniversary of the diary’s publication.
During the Holocaust, few of those targeted for persecution had a chance to write their stories. Instead, people tried their best to hold their stories in their memory in the hope they could one day share them. Many years later, they did just that in oral testimonies. Some survivors felt a special responsibility to tell the stories of their family members and friends who had not survived. Other survivors wanted to tell the stories of the courageous men and women who had defied the Nazis to become rescuers. One of those survivors was Leopold Page who struggled for years to find someone to tell the story of his rescuer, Oskar Schindler.
Through his film Schindler’s List, Steven Spielberg would eventually make Schindler’s story known around the world. Whether written or oral, each story has its own unique power and message. Each story offers a unique perspective on the events of the Holocaust.