Friday, January 15, 2016

Anne Frank in the Secret Annex by The Anne Frank House (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About the book-

An extraordinary story of Anne Frank and the Secret Annex

For two years during the Second World War, young, Jewish Anne Frank lived in hiding from the Nazis. Everything she experienced, thought, and felt, she confided in her diary. She was just as frank in her descriptions of the seven other people in the Annex and of the five helpers who endangered their own lives to look after them. Years later, Anne Frank’s diary became world famous. The Secret Annex was so well set up that the hiders survived there for over two years. Who were these people, how did they meet, and what happened to them?

This book shows the background and organization of the Annex and the personal stories of all involved, as well as their relationships and their fates. It also offers many never-before-published photographs. The result is an extraordinary group portrait that stays with the reader long after the last page is turned.

My thoughts- 

By 8th grade, I am pretty sure almost everyone has read The Dairy of Anne Frank. It is a heartbreaking account of  a young teenage girl and her family forced to go into hiding to avoid being sent to the notorious concentration camps set up for citizens to be sent to for no other reason than that they were Jewish. It is a terrible mark on our world history, proof that mankind can be beyond evil, but Anne's account is well written and even optimistic. No one could possibly imagine being hidden in a tiny room with 7 other people in fear for their lives other than someone who has lived through it, so I think Anne's Diary is so fascinating to us because it is the closest glimpse we can get to understanding what the Jewish people went through during WWII.

The Franks and the other people hiding in the Annex building were not able to successfully hide for two years on their own, they had the help of several people who worked for Otto Frank, Anne's dad, help with food and other things they needed as well as keeping their location a secret. Anne Frank in the Secret Annex is kind of a profile on each person, the ones hiding in the annex, and the ones helping with hiding, both before, during, and after the war. Many of us are familiar with Miep Gies from The Diary of Anne Frank, but in this book we learn more not only about all of the people in the annex, but the people who helped keep them safe for as long as they could. There are profiles of each of these people with facts I have never previously seen before and more importantly tons of photographs of all of their lives so we can put names to faces and that really drives home the fact that these events actually happened to these real people. It is still unfathomable to me that there could be such hatred in the world, but it warms my heart that the friends of those in trouble would do whatever they could to keep their friends safe. I absolutely recommend this book to anyone interested in Anne Frank or WWII. As much as I would like to visit the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam someday, I am not sure when that may happen, so these pictures and these facts provided by the house itself definitely give me a feel for what the house hold in the meantime.

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