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January 16, 2018

Where did Anne Frank die? At Auschwitz? Or Bergen-Belsen?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 5:43 pm

The reason that I am asking the question in the title of my blog post is that I recently read that Anne Frank died in the Nazi prison camp at Auschwitz.

No, no! That is wrong!

Anne Frank died at Bergen-Belsen: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/BergenBelsen/BergenBelsen03.html

Here is the full story:

In February 1942, the Nazis began rounding up all the Jews in Germany and the occupied countries for evacuation to the East in what the Nazis called “The Final Solution to the Jewish Question.”

13-year-old Anne Frank

Knowing that his family would soon be deported, Otto Frank began preparing a hiding place in the annex of the building where they lived, with a two-year supply of food and other essentials.

Five months later, Anne and her family suddenly disappeared, leaving behind notes saying that they had gone to Switzerland, which was a neutral country during World War II.

Otto Frank’s brother actually did escape from occupied France, going to Switzerland, but Otto Frank wanted to remain in Amsterdam because he had a thriving business there.

Many other Jewish families in Amsterdam also went into hiding, trusting that their Dutch neighbors and business associates would not betray their hiding places to the police. Approximately 25,000 Dutch Jews hid during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands which began after the Germans defeated the Dutch in May 1940 in the early part of World War II.

Those unfortunate Dutch Jews who did not go into hiding were sent to the transit camp at Westerbork, from where they were then transported by train to Auschwitz, the infamous killing center, located in what is now Poland, where millions of Jews perished in the alleged gas chambers.

Many of the 160,000 Jews in the Netherlands were refugees, like the Franks and their friends in the annex, who had escaped from Germany after Hitler and the Nazis came to power in 1933.

Westerbork was originally a refugee camp for German Jews who were regarded as illegal immigrants in the Netherlands after they escaped over the border from Nazi Germany before the war.

The Franks went into hiding on July 6, 1942 shortly after Anne’s 13th birthday on June 12th.

One week later, they were joined by Hermann and Auguste van Pels, their 15-year-old son Peter and Peter’s cat. Dr. Pfeffer, a dentist, joined them on November 16, 1942, bringing along his dentist’s drill.

On August 4th, 1944, the police raided their hiding place in the annex and they were taken to the Westerbork transit camp on a passenger train, after a short stay at the Amsterdam headquarters of the Security Police.

On September 3, 1944, all 8 were loaded onto a freight train and taken on the last transport of Dutch Jews to Auschwitz, where they arrived on the night of September 5th and 6th.

Otto Frank was the only one of the 8 who survived. He died on August 19, 1980 in Switzerland.

Hermann van Pels was allegedly murdered in the gas chamber at Auschwitz in either September or October 1944, according to the information presented at the Anne Frank House.

Anne’s mother died of tuberculosis in January 1945 at Auschwitz.

Anne and her sister died of typhus at Bergen-Belsen; the others all died from disease in various Nazi concentration camps to which they were transferred from Auschwitz.

Anne and her sister, Margot, were sent from Auschwitz on October 28, 1944 to the Bergen-Belsen exchange camp on a transport which, according to the International Red Cross, consisted of sick women who were expected to recover from their illness.

Later, Anne and Margot both became ill with typhus and died in March 1945 during the horrendous epidemic in Bergen-Belsen. Both were buried in one of the unmarked mass graves there.

 

A sign near the Anne Frank house warns tourists to watch out for pickpockets who might steal your purse or wallet. These signs were prevalent throughout the city of Amsterdam when I was there several years ago.

Otto Frank’s former factory and the annex remained empty until the late 1950ies when a group of prominent non-Jewish citizens of Amsterdam established the Anne Frank Foundation for the purpose of preserving the building, which had been slated for demolition.

In 1957, the owners of the building donated it to the Foundation. By that time Otto Frank had published Anne’s diary, in June 1947, and the name Anne Frank had become a household word in America after a play based on her diary opened on Broadway in 1955.

The house at 265 Prinsengracht, shown above, is part of the Ann Frank Museum

In 1960, the house and the annex were opened to the public as a museum. On September 28, 1999, the house next door at 265 Prinsengracht was added to the museum to provide more space for exhibits. The photo above shows house #265, but there is no entry to the Museum from the outside door of this building.

Beginning in 1995, a restoration project was begun to put the front building back into its original condition so that visitors today can see what it looked like when Otto Frank operated his businesses there.

The annex where Anne and her family hid from the Nazis is open to the public on every day of the year, except on Yom Kippur, a Jewish holiday which falls on a different date each year. Visiting hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. between April and August. From September to March, the house is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The entrance to the house is through a new modern building at 267 Prinsengracht, two doors up the street. In this building is a bookshop and a cafeteria that tourists can visit at the end of their tour of the exhibits.

The Anne Frank house is located only a few yards from the Westerkerk, a Protestant church with a clock tower which Anne mentioned in the following entry in her diary:

Father, Mother and Margot still can’t get used to the chiming of the Westertoren clock, which tells us the time every quarter of an hour. Not me, I liked it from the start; it sounds so reassuring, especially at night.

The photograph below shows the famous church tower. On the left is the modern building at 267 Prinsengracht; the windows of the cafeteria on the first floor overlook the church. The low building between the church and the cafeteria is, believe or not, a bar. That’s right, a bar adjoins the most famous church in Amsterdam.

The photo below shows the other side of the church where there is a booth for Pink Point of Presence, an organization which provides information for gays and lesbians. Amsterdam has a reputation for being the most tolerant and the most diverse city in the world.

Gay and lesbian information booth next to the Westerkerk church

In front of the Westerkerk church is the Homomonument by Karin Daan. This is a memorial to approximately 10,000 homosexuals who were sent to the Nazi concentration camps; it consists of three triangles which define a larger triangle. One triangle is raised up from the ground, as shown in the photo below.

One of three pink marble triangles in front of the Westerkerk

A second triangle is level with the ground, as shown in the photo below. A third triangle is at a lower level jutting out into the adjacent canal.

Homosexual prisoners were identified by a pink triangle which they had to wear on their uniform. Communists and other political prisoners had to wear a red triangle and German criminals in the concentration camps were distinguished by a green triangle.

One of three pink marble triangles in front of the Westerkerk

The words around the edge of the triangle in the photo above are from a poem by Jacob Israel de Haan: “NAAR VRIENDSCHAP ZULK EEN MATELOOS VERLANGEN.” (Such a boundless longing for friendship.)

Visitors to the Anne Frank house must first purchase a ticket from the booth just inside the entrance to 267 Prinsengracht, which is shown in the photograph below. A free brochure about the exhibits inside is available at the ticket booth.

Signs warn that photography is not permitted in the building, but cameras and backpacks did not have to be checked at the door when I was there. No X-ray machines at the entrance and purses and backpacks were not searched.

Sign at entrance to the Anne Frank house at 267 Prinsengracht The entry tickets are not timed and there is no guide; visitors are allowed to stay as long as they like and view the exhibits for as long as they wish. However, the tour moves in only one direction and visitors may not go back through the exhibit rooms.

There are emergency exits throughout the building which lead to stairs in the building at 265 Prinsengracht. The exhibits are not wheel-chair accessible, and there is no elevator in the Anne Frank house.

Important visitors can obtain permission to enter the Museum through the building at 265 Prinsengracht, which has an elevator.

According to the brochure handed out at the entrance:

Eight hundred school groups attend one of the educational programs at the Anne Frank House each year. There are changing exhibitions mounted focusing on current issues. There is educational material compiled about Anne Frank and World War Two, but also about right-wing extremism, prejudice, discrimination, and ethnic and cultural diversity. The organization tracks political extremism at home and abroad.

A small book entitled “A History for Today, Anne Frank” which I purchased in the bookstore at the Anne Frank House explains the mission of the Anne Frank Foundation.

The following is a quote from the preface of this book, written by Hans Westra, Director of the Anne Frank House:

The goal of the Anne Frank House is to keep alive the memory of Anne Frank and the period when National Socialism was in power. This is not only a matter of human and historical interest; it also has significance for us today. For the Anne Frank House, the memory of Anne Frank is directly related to a concern for preserving freedom and maintaining human rights and a pluralistic and democratic society.

 

Information for students who are studying the book named “Night” written by Elie Wiesel

Filed under: Auschwitz, Germany, Holocaust — furtherglory @ 11:30 am

I know that American students are frequently assigned to read Elie Wiesel’s book, entitled “Night”, and then write a paper on it.

Below are some Notes for “Night,” the book written by Elie Wiesel.

Night Chapter Summaries

Chapter 1: Wiesel grew up in Sighet, a small town in Translyvania. He is a strict Orthodox Jew who is tutored by Moshe the Beadle. When all foreign Jews are expelled, Moshe is deported. He returns to Sighet with horrific tales. Nobody believes him.

Fascists gain control in Hungary and allow the Nazis to come. The Jews of Sighet remain in denial that anything bad will happen to them. Days later, the town is ordered to evacuate. Eliezer’s family is part of the last group. Their former Gentile servant, Martha, warns them of impending danger and offers them a place of refuge. They refuse.

Chapter 2: Eliezer and his townsmen are packed into cattle cars and suffer terribly. One woman, Madame Schacter, continually screams of a fire. She is silenced by her fellow prisoners. As the train arrives at Birkenau, they see smoke rising from chimneys and are inundated with the horrific smell of burning flesh.

Chapter 3: The first selection occurs. Eliezer and his father lie about their age and avoid the crematorium. As they walk to Auschwitz they pass a pit of burning babies. When they arrive in their barracks they are disinfected with gasoline, receive a tattoo, and are dressed in prison clothes. Eliezer’s father asks to go to the bathroom and is clobbered by a kapo. The prisoners are then escorted to Buna, a work camp four hours away.

Analysis: Wiesel emphasizes the human failure to comprehend just how evil humans can be. He and his family are warned several times to flee, yet they and the town find the truth impossible. Wiesel’s primary goal in publishing Night is to prevent another Holocaust from happening. He emphasizes the need to be aware of evil in the world and to believe first hand accounts of it.

His recounting of the miserable conditions on the cattle cars and the horrific events he witnesses at Birkenau are examples of first hand accounts that must be taken seriously in order to prevent something as horrible from happening again.

Chapter 4: At Buna Eliezer is summoned by the dentist to have his gold crown removed. He feigns illness. The dentist, he discovers, is hanged. Eliezer’s only focus is to eat and stay alive. He is savagely beaten by the kapo, Idek and is consoled by a French worker, whom he meets years after the war. The prison foreman, Franek, notices Eliezer’s gold crown and demands it. He refuses. Franek beats Eliezer’s father and he gives up the crown.

Eliezer catches Idek having sex with a female French worker. Idek whips him mercilessly and warns him that one word of what he saw will result in more severe punishment. During an air raid two cauldrons of soup are left unattended. A prisoner crawls to them and is shot right before eating some. The Nazis erect a gallows at camp and hang three prisoners, the last one, a boy loved by all, causes even the most jaded of prisoners to weep.

Chapter 5: It is late summer 1944 and another selection occurs. This time Eliezer’s father is on the wrong side. He gives his spoon and knife to his son. Eliezer rejoices as he returns and discovers there was another selection and his father still lives. Eliezer hurts his foot and is sent to the infirmary. He hears rumors of Russians approaching. The Nazis evacuate the camp. Eliezer assumes infirmary patients will be killed so he leaves. He discovers later that the patients were liberated the next day.

Chapter 6: The prisoners are forced to run 42 miles in one night during a blizzard. Those unable to keep up are shot. The refugees stop in a small village where Eliezer and his father keep each other awake to avoid freezing to death. Rabbi Eliahu enters a small shack occupied by Eliezer, looking for his son. Eliezer recalls–after Eliahu’s departure–seeing his son desert his father, something he prays for strength never to do. Another selection occurs. Eliezer’s father is sent to the death side. A diversion is created and his father switches lines.

Chapter 7: The survivors are packed into cattle cars and sent to Germany. The train stops frequently to remove dead bodies. Eliezer recounts how German workers throw bread into the cattle cars to witness the prisoners kill each other. Eliezer is nearly killed.

Analysis: Wiesel attributes his survival to luck and coincidence, two ideas that play a prominent role in the novel. Each selection is a matter of luck and coincidence; being assigned to easier jobs is a matter of luck and coincidence; leaving the infirmary is a matter of luck and coincidence. Wiesel honestly portrays his feelings toward his father. He recognizes that his father gives him strength to continue; he acknowledges also that his father at times becomes a burden.

Chapter 8: Upon their arrival at Buchenwald, Eliezer’s father is unable to move. Eliezer brings him soup and coffee, against the advice of other prisoners who counsel him to keep it for himself. Eliezer’s father, suffering from dysentery, begs for water. An SS guard becomes annoyed and knocks him in the head. Eliezer wakes up the next morning and discovers his father’s empty bed. He is more relieved than sad.

Chapter 9: Eliezer is only concerned with food during his remaining months at Buchenwald. On April 5, the evacuation of Buchenwald is ordered. Nazis murder thousands daily. On April 10, Eliezer’s block is ordered to evacuate, but it is cut short by air raid sirens. The next day the camp is liberated. Wiesel nearly dies from food poisoning. He recovers, looks in a mirror, and is shocked by his appearance.

Analysis: Eliezer’s reflection that he resembled a corpse ends the novel with a sense of hopelessness. Despite this hopelessness Wiesel dedicates his life to human rights.

Read more: http://www.brighthub.com/education/homework-tips/articles/45193.aspx?p=2#ixzz0T56HUqDU

Read more: http://www.brighthub.com/education/homework-tips/articles/45193.aspx#ixzz0T569ugFg

Characters in Night by Elie Wiesel

When reviewing characters in Night by Elie Wiesel, keep in mind that these Night characters are actual human beings and that Night is a memoir of Wiesel’s actual experience in a concentration camp.

Eliezer – Wiesel gives a first person psychological account of life in a concentration camp. It is important not to confuse the narrator with the author, even though they are the same person. Eliezer’s experiences cause him to question his faith and the existence of a loving, merciful God. Eliezer’s (the narrator’s) account leaves the reader with a sense of hopelessness, that humanity is irredeemable, that God has abandoned his creation.

Eliezer’s assertions are not that of the author. Elie Wiesel, the older version of Eliezer, the death camp survivor, has dedicated his life to serving mankind and to prevent human rights atrocities, showing that something wonderful can result from incomprehensible suffering. For more on Wiesel’s life after his liberation, check out his website.

Chlomo – Eliezer’s father is the only other character who appears consistently. He is a respected member in Sighet before being deported. Eliezer and Chlomo remain together throughout the ordeal. The narrator is honest and frank in his assessment of his father. He needs his father to keep going, but resents having to take care of him at times. He acknowledges a sense of relief when Chlomo finally dies. One of the more powerful scenes occur towards the end of the novel when Rabbi Eliahou searches for his son during the forced evacuation of Buna. Eliezer recalls seeing Eliahou’s son, recalling that he had abandoned his father. Eliezer then utters a prayer, asking for the strength never to do such a thing to his own father.

Moshe the Beadle – Moshe is Eliezer’s teacher who is deported along with other foreign Jews in Hungary. He escapes, returns, and warns the town about atrocities he witnessed. Nobody believes him.

Madame Shachter – She is deported in the same cattle car as Eliezer. She screams of fires the entire time. The passengers mistake her for a mad woman only to discover she is a prophetess as they see the furnaces of Birkenau and the pit of burning babies.

Juliek – Eliezer first meets Juliek, a young musician, at Auschwitz. He hears him play his violin at Gleiwitz toward the end of the narrative.

Idek – Idek is a kapo at the electrical parts plant at Buna where Eliezer works. Eliezer catches him having intercourse with a French woman. Idek whips Eliezer as punishment.

Franek – Eliezer’s foreman at Buna who steels Eliezer’s gold crown with the help of a dentist and a rusty spoon.

Dr. Josef Mengele – Eliezer encounters Mengele after his arrival at Auschwitz. Known as the angel of death, Mengele sentenced thousands of Jews to their death. He also oversaw cruel experiments on prisoners.

Hilda, Bea, Tziporah – Eliezer’s mother and sisters, whom he never sees after entering Auschwitz.

Read more at

http://www.brighthub.com/education/homework-tips/articles/45197.aspx#ixzz0T4uxryMk

Here are some important Quotes from Night:

Use these Night quotes as a reminder to thwart prejudice, racism, hatred, and discrimination, for they are the seeds of human rights violations. These important quotes from Night will help you remember.

Quote: Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky.

Analysis: As Eliezer arrives at Auschwitz he is greeted by his first selection. He and his father follow the line that passes a pit of burning babies. It is difficult for even the most hardened reader not to wince at this passage; it stands out as the most horrible atrocity in a chronicle of horrible atrocities.

Wiesel writes three times in this passage “Never shall I forget.” He uses anaphora, a poetic device that involves the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of clauses, to highlight the novel’s major theme–to never forget.

Quote: Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.

Analysis: A continuation of the first quote in this section, the phrase “Never shall I forget” is repeated four more times. This section of the passage highlights another major theme of the novel–the struggle to maintain faith in a world full of evil.

Some Important Quotes from Night by Elie Wiesel

Use these Night quotes as a reminder to thwart prejudice, racism, hatred, and discrimination, for they are the seeds of human rights violations.

These important quotes from Night will help you remember.

Quote: One day I was able to get up, after gathering all my strength. I wanted to see myself in the mirror hanging on the opposite wall. I had not seen myself since the ghetto. From the depths of the mirror, a corpse gazed back at me. The look in his eyes, as they stared into mine, has never left me.

Analysis: The narrative’s last lines leaves the reader with a sense of hopelessness. Eliezer views himself as dead; innocence is dead; humanity is dead; God is dead. It is important not to confuse the narrator with the author. Elie Wiesel, the older version of Eliezer, the death camp survivor, has dedicated his life to serving mankind and to prevent human rights atrocities, showing the world that humankind is capable of goodness, notwithstanding its inherent evil. For more on Wiesel’s life after his liberation, check out his website.

Quote: The night was gone. The morning star was shining in the sky. I too had become a completely different person. The student of the Talmud, the child that I was, had been consumed in the flames… A dark flame had entered my soul and devoured it.

Analysis: Wiesel uses parallel structure–the like grammatical structure of adjacent phrases or clauses that signify equality of importance–to draw attention to the two things which died: his faith and his childhood.

Quote: Yet another last night. The last night at home, the last night in the ghetto, the last night in the train, the last night in Buna.

Analysis: The repetition of “the last night” emphasizes death, not just the death of his fellow prisoners, but the death of humanity.

Read more: http://www.brighthub.com/education/homework-tips/articles/45196.aspx#ixzz0T4ws25Ro

 

Themes in Night by Elie Wiesel

Night themes include the dangers of silence and the importance of remembering. Putting into practice these themes from Night by Elie Wiesel can help prevent human rights atrocities. Night themes include the inhumanity of humans toward others and the struggle to have faith in a benevolent God during suffering.

Silence – As Eliezer and his family exit the train at Auschwitz, they are shocked at its existence, causing one of the prisoners to insult them, in disbelief that it was 1944 and they had never heard of Auschwitz. They weren’t alone.

How many otherwise good humans were aware of the existence of concentration camps but chose to remain silent? It is silence which allows the Nazi takeover in Europe. Another silence Wiesel emphasizes is the silence of God to allow such atrocities to occur. Wiesel counsels his readers to not be silent witnesses to hate.

The Importance of Remembering – One of Wiesel’s main objectives in writing Night is to remind his audience that the Holocaust occurred, in hopes that it will never repeat itself. Wiesel has maintained his vigilance against hatred and inhumanity through the Elie Wiesel foundation for humanity.

The Existence of Evil – Philosophers and religious scholars have theorized on the existence of evil for centuries, asking the question “How or why does God allow evil to exist if he is, in fact, all powerful and good. Throughout the narrative, Eliezer answers the question by asserting his God is dead. Despite his avowal that his faith is dead, he maintains scraps of it, praying, for example, that he will never betray his father as Rabbi Eliahou’s son does. He also recognizes that those prisoners who completely lose their faith soon die.

Inhumanity – Eliezer is shocked that human beings can be so cruel. The first section of the narrative portrays the entire city of Sighet in denial. When foreign Jews are deported, the town insists all is well. When Moshe the Beadle returns and reports Nazi atrocities, the town insists all is well. When the Fascists take over in Hungary, the town insists all is well. When the SS begin patrolling the streets, the town insists all is well. When Eliezer suggests they move to Palestine, his father refuses. When Martha the former servant offers them refuge, even after most of the town had been expelled, they remain. Those in Sighet cannot comprehend that other human beings can be so evil.

The Animalization of Humans – Eliezer comments on how prisoners themselves become inhuman in concentration camps. In addition to the kapos who treat regular prisoners almost as cruelly as the SS, Eliezer witnesses three instances of sons turning against their fathers: (1) He witnesses a son abusing his father; (2) He witnesses Rabbi Eliahou’s son abandon him during the forced evacuation from Buna; (3) He witnesses a son beat his own father over a piece of bread on the train to Buchenwald. Eliezer feels guilt over the manner in which he treats his father, feeling him a burden at times.

Read more: http://www.brighthub.com/education/homework-tips/articles/45195.aspx#ixzz0T4xZc1P7

 

Symbolism in Night by Elie Wiesel

Understanding Night symbolism brings greater appreciation for Wiesel’s memoirs.

1. Night – The title of the novel symbolizes death, the death of innocence, childhood, faith, and millions of people. The narrative contains many last nights, the last night in Sighet, the last night in Buna, the last night with his father, the last night of innocence, etc. Night also symbolizes a world without God. The worst suffering occurs at night. Wiesel contends that God does not live in the concentration camps and God’s people have no recourse.


2. Fire – Fire represents hell. Eliezer’s hellish experience is foreshadowed by Madame Shachter’s insane screaming on the train to Auschwitz. The pit of burning babies scars Wiesel for life. The specter of the furnace haunts Wiesel and his fellow prisoners throughout. The symbol of fire in Night, however, is ironic. No longer is fire a tool of the righteous to punish the wicked. It has become a tool of the wicked to punish the righteous. It emphasizes Wiesel’s belief that God has abandoned his people.

3. Silence – Silence symbolizes fear, apathy, and inability. Wiesel cannot comprehend that the world can remain silent as the Nazis commit atrocities. It also represents the silence of the oppressed. Eliezer, for example, remains silent when his father is beaten, unable to help him. The entire town of Sighet remains silent to the pleas of Moshe the Beadle, who warns the town of what is coming. Silence also represents the absence of God. Note the camp’s reaction to the young boy’s hanging–silence. A common theme in the narrative is God’s silence as his people suffer.


4. Corpses – Corpses symbolize the living dead. Prisoners are often referred to as corpses, corpses whose spirits have been crushed by suffering. Eliezer looks in the mirror as the narrative ends and sees a corpse, symbolizing the death of innocence and childhood.

Read more: http://www.brighthub.com/education/homework-tips/articles/48700.aspx#ixzz0T55k6tUW

Books by Elie Wiesel

There are many people, including me, who believe that Elie Wiesel was never in any camp. He made it all up, and he made many mistakes. Yet, his stories continue to be told to school children.