"Anne Frank's Diary"
This is about Anne Frank's Diary - up to a point, for it is mostly
about me. Also, it is not much, because I am still pretty "tired"
("fatigued": exhausted) from my walk on Thursday.
On "Anne Frank's
I am rereading Anne
Frank's Diary, or at least a version of it, namely the one I read
originally in 1965, and have not reread since.
It's the same book, and the version I have, and first read in 1965, is
one from 1960 and is the thirtiest imprint from the original of 1947.
Also, I am reading it in Dutch, in which it is called "Het Achterhuis -
Dagboekbrieven - 12 juni 1942 - 1 augustus 1944". Its English
translation dates from 1952, and then was called "The
Diary of a Young Girl".
The reason to remark this is that, as you can see from the last link,
there have been later editions, with more material. I have not read any
of these later editions.
Presently, I am about half way through it, and am considerably more
impressed than I was in 1965.
The reason for that is mostly that I was 15 when I first read it, and
was mostly impressed by what my
parents and grandparents had done in the war, which was most unlike
most other folks: My father had survived 3 years and 9 months of German
concentration-camps, as a political prisoner; his father had been
killed in a German concentration-camp, as a political prisoner; my mother had been in the
Communist Resistance in WW II, and had escaped arrest; and while there
was much to be learned about WW II in my family, by 1965 the time
had not yet arrived that there was much talk of WW II in Holland, and I
had concluded, already then, that one main reason must be that most
Dutchmen had survived WW II by not being Jewish and by collaborating,
willy nilly or not.
I'll address the theme of collaboration in a moment. First my reasons
why I was not very much impressed by Anne Frank's Diary in 1965.
Mostly, my reasons were that I knew "her story" fairily well, but from
other people, who all were older, and had more to do with the Dutch
resistance. I liked Anne Frank, and I liked her book, but I missed - at
15 - that she had been quite extra-ordinary in writing about a quite
extra-ordinary two and a quarter years in the life of someone between
13 and 15.
So I read it in 1965, and was not very much impressed by it, not
realizing that most do not have such experiences or ideas, and not
realizing that extra-ordinarily few could write them out at that age,
as Anne Frank did.
2. Keizersgracht 192
In 1969, a club I belonged to, and was prominent in,
though I was one of the youngest members, rented most of a house on the
Keizersgracht, mostly to have places to live in, right in the centre of
Amsterdam, and I was offered the choice of the annex.
It so happens, that this annex is right opposite to the annex of the
Prinsengracht in which Anne Frank had lived from 1942 till 1944, and it
so happens that presently, and since several decades, Keizersgracht 192
belongs to the Anne Frank Foundation.
At the time, in 1969, none of this was considered, and I myself, after
some weeks of hesitation, declined the annex, mostly because I did not
have much money and considered it quite risky.
Even so, I spent from 1969-1971 quite a lot of time in that house,
because several good friends lived there.
I had also been right in assuming it was risky: By 1972 or so, the
house was given up, and may indeed already then have been acquired by
the Anne Frank Foundation, since that started to grow quite a lot in
the 1970ies, although I do not know this:
Meanwhile, I had fallen out with most of my friends, who either turned
to drugs or to politics, as indeed did many of my age around 1970, at
least in Amsterdam, whereas I had decided in 1970, when I also did
start to live alone, in a garret above the Vondelpark, in
Amsterdam, that I was most interested in science and philosophy, and
had given up politics
completely, and did not care especially for drugs, and also had started
the first of three relations with foreign women, that led me out of
Amsterdam, first to Leamington Spa in England, and then to Dovre and
Lom in Norway.
I returned in August 1977 to Holland, and fell ill on 1.1.1979, and
have been ill ever since. In part, at least, this explains why I have
not returned sooner to the present subject, indeed except for two short
pieces in 2004, here and here.
Then again, I will not write more about this today, except for a brief
word on collaboration, that I mentioned above:
It is my considered opinion that so far there has not been
written a fair history of WW II in Holland. The one that exists, by
professor Lou de Jong, was written by a man who had not seen any
of the Dutch history from ca. May 10, 1940, since he remained in
England at the time, where he remained all through the war.
Here is - for one example - something I learned about only late
in 2011, a mere 66 years after the end of WW II. I
quote the beginning and end of the section "Second World War" in the
Supreme Court" on Wikipedia, where this section is the only one of
So for this and many other
reasons, that include the extensive Dutch
Waffen SS and the collaboration of the Jewish Council
to exterminate the Jews, which mostly succeeded, and to a larger
extent in Holland than in any other country except Poland, my own
impression is that there is no good objective history of
Holland in Nazi-times, and that part of the reason is that, unlike my
own family, many Dutch collaborated - though indeed it is now
impossible to sort out the extent, and will be so forever.
During the German
occupation, the Supreme Court kept functioning. In November 1940 the
occupiers forced the president, Judge L.E. Visser, to resign because he
was Jewish. Visser's colleagues did not protest. The members who
remained also signed a compulsory declaration about Aryans.
After the liberation, people
reproached the Court for a weak and legalistic attitude. The Court
wished above all to guarantee the continuity of the jurisdiction and
not to become involved in politics. However such chances as there were
to take a stand on principle against the Germans were largely missed.
The Justices either omitted to give a moral example or felt they were
not in a position to do so.
After the war, there was not much done to clear matters, lawyers who
had collaborated with the Germans generally kept their jobs or got
important other positions. A crucial role in this affair was played by
J. Donner, who became president of the Supreme Court in 1946.
But then that was the whole point.
ME/CFS (that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: