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THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK:USES OF HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCEbyFrancine HaberB.A., Smith College, 1965A thesis submitted to theUniversity of Colorado at Denverin partial fulfillmentof the requirements for the degree of .Master of Humanities1997

1997 by Francine HaberAll rights reserved.

This thesis for the Master of Humanitiesdegree byFrancine Haberhas been approvedbyM. Kent Casperk r a 0. Bookman.

Haber, Francine (M. H., Humanities)The Diary of Anne Frank: Uses of Holocaust RemembranceThesis directed by Associate' Professor M. Kent CasperABSTRACTThis thesis takes as a central work The Diary of Anne Frank. Itdefines and explores the meaning of the myth of Anne. Frank as a conduitof remembrance. of the Jewish Holocaust, 1933-1945. This paper asks whatremains silent in the discourses surrounding the Diary, as well as whatconclusions can be drawn from its cultural representations.The. project begins with texts that were instrumental in establishingthe heroic Anne Frank narrative. Using publications of The Anne FrankFoundation and children's books as prime examples it shows how and towhat purpose the myth has been extended as well as fragmented.The. thesis proposes alternative readings to the Diary. It bringstogether sources from both Holocaust studies, gender and woman's studiesin a commentary on The Diary of Anne Frank.The study shows how and to what purpose the protectors, orrescuers, of Anne Frank from 1942 to 1944, and the theme of Holocaustrescuers in general, has come to prominence as part of the. iconization ofthe Diary.iv

This thesis takes care to differentiate deconstruction of the mythfrom Holocaust denialists' refusal to accept the authenticity of the Diary.This abstract accurately represents the. content of the candidate's thesis. Irecommend its publication.SignedM. Kent Casperv

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTMy thanks to Professors Myra L. Rich, Myra 0. Bookman of the graduatefaculty of the School of Liberal Arts, and especially to my advisor,Professor M. Kent Casper for their support and for sharing theirknowledge.

CONTENTSCHAPTER1.INTRODUCTION .1Purpose of the Study, Methodology andReview of the Literature .Text versus Bodies: Experience/ Body as Text.2.3.ANNE FRANK: HOLOCAUST DIARYAS GENRE/ GENDER11639Holocaust Diary as Genre:Five Case Studies of Personal Narrative40Voice As History: Women's Memoirsand the Study of Holocaust History46Anne Frank: Diaries, Gender,and the Adolescent Heroine58Anne and Moshe:Two Adolescent Diaries of the Holocaust64ANNE FRANK AND NARRATIVESOF HOLOCAUST RESCUE81Miep Gies and Anne Frank: A Rescuer's Legacy85: Miep Gies in theContext/Text of Pueblo, Colorado88Anne Frank Rememberedvii

Uses and Meaning of "Rescuers of theHolocaust: Portraits by Gay Block"4.SUJviM:ARY AND CONCLUSIONSBIBLIOGRAPHY·93114117viii

CHAPTER 1INTRODUCTIONPurpose of the Study. Methodology and Review of the Literature[I]n spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. Isimply can't build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion,misery, and death.·-Anne Frank, Saturday, 15 July 1944.The Diary of Anne Frank: The Critical Edition, 1989-1My posthumous step-sister, Anne Frank, wrote. in her Diary: 'I still believe.that deep down human beings are good at heart.' I cannot helpremembering that she wrote this before she. experienced Auschwitz andBelsen.-Eva Schloss with Evelyn Julia Kent. Eva's Story: A survivor's tale by thestep-sister of Anne Frank. 1988.2Anneliese Marie. Frank, called Anne, was a 13 year-old Jewish girlwho hid with her family and friends for two years in an attic· from theNazi occupation army in Amsterdam until her apprehension andsubsequent murder at the Bergen-Belsen death camp in March 1945. AnneFrank has become the very embodiment of the Holocaust. This sensitiveadolescent's diary written in hiding is a document which continues toresonate with meaning. Its many translations, as well as readers, stage1

adaptations, films and quests for information about its author, increasesteadily.3 As a representation of the Holocaust, the Diary has qualitiesthat have made it an instrument of sympathetic remembrance, especiallyin the task of educating youth about a dark period of recent history. AnneFrank is a symbol of the Holocaust. But what is being remembered, andwhat taught?In this thesis, I refer to the content of the symbol that is Anne Frankas a "heroic myth" and "dominant discourse." This myth in encapsulatedform was articulated by Henri van Praag, Chairman of the Dutch AnneFrank Foundation, in an essay of 1971:The objection has often been raised that propaganda and publicityfor the diary [of Anne Frank] create a new myth which helpspeople to sublimate their guilt feelings under cheapsentimentality. [N]o culture can exist without myths. Educatorsand statesmen stimulate the development of beneficialmyths .The history of National Socialism, of which Anne. Frankwas one of the millions of victims, has proved that demoniacalmyths take hold where humane myths are lacking. Whenmoral achievement is the basis of the myth - as is the case withthe diary - that moral achievement can be. amplified through the.myth, to the salvation of all those who see it as a shiningexample . Why shouldn't this noble. humane. document by acourageous child further elucidate that testimony forus? . [D]emocratic society needs an honest, pure. myth, directedtoward the. future of mankind, which can inspire. our youngpeople to actions of courage and sacrifice in the service oftomorrow's world . From the pedagogical point of view it isrelevant to explain here that education is impossible withoutidentification with an exemplary past, an educational ideal. .Thefaith of youth has been re-affirmed . by confrontation with thediary and by the vision of Anne Frank as the symbol of a childwho believed in the future.4The myth of the diary of Anne Frank, then, is one of cultural salvation.What is being said or salvaged is democratic society after the Holocaust:2

Anne represents moral achievement, courage and· sacrifice. The Frankfamily and the Anne Frank Foundation in Amsterdam, and since about1959, most commentary and activity in the U.S. centered around AnneFrank, has amplified the myth as a "shining example." This "beneficialmyth" has taken hold because of its power and a need. Van Praag saw theneeds or uses of the myth in opposition to Fascism, the. "demoniacalmyth" which is a "distortion of authentic history." The Anne Frank mythis a pedagogical tool.When I refer in this thesis to the myth of Anne Frank, it is to thisdominant use as a representation of idealism, to the. assumption thatmorality is universal and such traits as courage, good and evil, have anabsolute and generally accepted meaning.The evolution of the development of the myth of the Diary can betraced chronologically. The dominant myth started early. From the days ofits first publication in the. 1950's, to the mid-1960's, Anne was perceived asa symbol of the Holocaust and sometimes of oppressed children. By thetime the text quoted above from the Anne Frank Foundation was writtenin 1971, the dominant myth of Anne Frank was firmly established. Bythen, and up to the present, it was expanded to include Anne as arepresentation of all oppressed peoples. These people and causes aredefined according to national and ethnic readings. This extension of theuses of the myth is typical of the programs and exhibits organized by theAnne Frank Institute and most American education, (including a localAnne Frank Arts and Essay Competition held for school children inColorado through the auspices of the University of Denver).The Dutch Anne Frank House and Museum in the Netherlands, aresearch and educational center, is dedicated in its mission to the secondstage of the dominant myth. In its application, the myth is transformedaccording to its speaker or writer: in the case of the House and Museum,cite of the Foundation, there is both a universalist and nationalistic3

component. Through programs and exhibits, Anne Frank is represented aspertinent to post-colonial discourse. Immigration, especially Turkish andIndonesian, internal political and social tensions concerning the. legacy ofthe Dutch colonial past, are filtered through the. message of Anne. Frank.SAnne's legacy in Holland is similar to its use to further a harmoniousmulticultural society in the United States. Memory for the. Dutch in thisinstance consists of a care-taking role for a 'shrine of the book.' This maybe read as an extension of Anne's relevance other than as a symbol of aJewish Holocaust, or as a diminution of the Jewish focus of the Holocaust,depending on one's vested interest in remembrance.6Otto Frank, Anne's father, was instrumental in defining theuniversalist and humanistic content of his daughter's memory. The AnneFrank Foundation's publications are produced in accordance with itsmission to interpret Anne's legacy as a mandate to educate against racismand fascism. The last entry in an Anne Frank Foundation book of 1979,published in Dutch and German editions to mark Anne Frank's fiftiethbirthday (June 12, 1929), is a quotation from Otto Frank:Nowhere in het (sic) diary does Anne speak of hate. She. writesthat she believes in spite of everything, in the good in man: andthat when the war is over she will work for the world and formankind. This I have taken over from her as my duty. I have.received many thousands of letters. Above all it is the youngerpeople who wish over and over again to find out how suchdreadful events cold come about. I answer them as well as I can.Often I write at the end: "I hope that Anne's book with influenceyou in later life to work, as far as your circumstances allow, forpeace and reconciliation' Otto Frank, 1979. 7Yet, Anne does speak in her diary of her hatred for the Germans and forwhat is happening to her and the Jews.Perhaps the myth of Anne Frank has to do with Mr. Frank'scondition as a Holocaust survivor. Primo Levi spoke of 'survivors disease'4

as total withdrawal from life, an inability to cope. In spite of 'writing theHolocaust' himself and possessing an exquisite awareness of this danger,Levi eventually succumbed to suicide.B Otto Frank, blessed with apositive outlook his entire life, is photographed often after the war amonggroups of children. He asked a companion at Auschwitz, who related theevent in the 1996 film Anne Frank Remembered by director, writer, andproducer Jon Blair, to call.him 'Papa,' stating that it was not for the youngman's sake but for his own need. Denial, too, is an effective copingmechanism. Mr. Frank could not protect his family and friends fromslaughter. He turned impotence and failure into action. He would make abetter world, one safe for Anne. Anne was gregarious and sociable; theworld's children were her companions and friends. Ht;! could try to takecare· of them.His elisions and forgetfulness, about Anne's written despairin favor of the oft-quoted belief in human goodness, directed his ownenergies to life rather than to self-defeating bitterness. The father had asecond chance to save .his daughter by tending her writings and spreadingher words, though these words were filtered through a parent's eyes. Andwith every dedication of a school named for Anne. Frank, with everyanswer to a child's letter and royal performance of a play or film, perhapsshe saved him, by providing an uplifting purpose to his life as a Holocaustsurvivor.The 1979 book of tribute is also both universalist and a particularlyDutch discourse. This publication offers a wealth of previouslyunpublished illustrations of the Frank family, of life. undero cupation,ofthe camps. Several of these illustrations depict the Dutch resistance andheroism (but no photographs show meetings of the Dutch Nazi party).The collection of material was expanded as a multilingual Anne Frank inthe World.9Expansion of interpretations of the heroic myth ·can be found closerto home in juvenile literature written in English which takes Anne. Frank5

and her diary as subject. These books are meant to 'teach about the.Holocaust.' It is apparent that they are conceived as educational tools, forthey include appendixes such as a glossary, index, further reading list,chronology, and the like. Nearly all of the books written for elementaryand middle school children based on the diary or the. fame of Anne Franksince the 1980's end with a moral, uplifting message that is an essentialingredient of the dominant myth, thereby reinforcing and enlarging itsscope. Curiously, however, many children's books tell a complex storynevertheless, a story or stories that may deny reaffirmation of the myth.These internal contradictions of texts point to a questioning, a breaking upof the myth itself at the same time that the myth is affirmed.The children's book Anne Frank: Child of the Holocaust by GeneBrown typically extends the myth. Brown intertwines prejudice in generaland particular American situations with the narrative of Anne'sbackground: "Jews.had lived in Germany for hundreds of years. Oftenthey were victims of prejudice, much like that faced by some groups, suchas blacks in the United States. "She [Anne] set an example. for everyone,everywhere." The book is part of "The Library of Famous Women" series.The choice of this series' subjects are ethnically diverse and politicallyadventurous. Anne's fame exists prior to, is a criterion for, and isreinforced by her selection in the series.lOYet, the book gives some political background to the. Holocaust,naive as it is: the link between the Depression and the Holocaust is madeinevitable. Laws against the Jews are surveyed. Brown mentions (albeitbriefly) Holocaust denialists and the subject of responsibility and betrayal.Along with the dominant myth of the inspirational, good Anne presentedin this book, is a contradictory discourse. In addition to the topics justmentioned, this book slightly hints at some conflict in gender identity in away atypical for much of the literature on Anne Frank, adult or juvenile:"What kind of life would she lead as an adult? She wanted "something6

besides a husband and children." Also included is this statement whichwas made by Otto Frank: "the father acknowledged that the diary 'revealeda person more complicated than the daughter he thought he knew."' Theaspect of this book, too, which considers the quality of Anne's attraction tothe opposite sex distinguishes it from all others; perhaps the orientation ofa series devoted to famous women explains this latter subject position.The children's book Anne Frank: What Made Them Great byLaura Tyler, illustrated by Gianiti Renna assumes the view that historyhas heroes (and heroines). Books in this series according to its publishersare "compelling biographies that explore . the crucial events that shapedthe lives of famous individuals." Typical of the heroic myth of AnneFrank, the pictures are prettified. Anne is drawn as a generically attractivedark- haired child. Two images resemble her likeness in photographs.The rest are more akin to actresses who have impersonated Anne. Thedrawings are so normalized that the four scenes of Anne in theextermination camps are only as unpleasant as Hollywood depictions ofscruffy homeless people. The Secret Annex has a scene of a socialgathering in which a piano is being played, and Edith Frank is representedwith light hair and smal features, Mother, rather than as a woman with aparticular voice and history. The illustrations show a profound repressionof the conditions and consequences of hiding during the ·Holocaust.Rather, the book's illustrations emphasizes normalcy andsentimentality.ll Anne is given interior thoughts by the author, andremains a heroine to the end. The recovery and publication fAnne'sdiary serves as a redemption in this book. The last chapter "The Wonderof Life" if not quite a happy ending, provides one with hope. Thus thereader is emotionally let off the hook. We are told of Otto's survival, howhappy he was to learn of the diary. The chapter is a homage to theNetherlands. The books ends: "The. main goal of the [Anne Frank]foundation is to continue Anne's struggle for peace in the world . .It is7

impossible to forget that tragic August day when the refugees werediscovered. But above all else, there remain the thoughts of a young girl.Even though she grew up with suffering, she taught the. world somethingabout the wonder of life."Yet in contradiction to the dominant universalist myth that thesepassages represent, Tyler's written text keeps a focus on Jewishpersecution. "The Franks were Jews. They were devout members of the.Jewish religion .The Jews, especially, were wrongly considered inferior."While it extends the danger to "other people who appeared 'different'" itstates clearly, "Throughout these nightmare years, Jews continued to bepersecuted the most." What is more, in a chapter frankly called ·"FromOne Corner of Hell to Another"the book as written (but not as illustrated)gives one of the strongest portrayals of concentration camps in the Anne.Frank literature for children. Also, the au thor respects her subject; sheattributes to Anne the word 'writer,'. a status of being and not of potential:"The diary became famous throughout the world. The book sold millionsof copies. Over the years, it has been translated into dozens of languages,including Chinese and Arabic. There also was a stage. play and a movie.based on the diary. Today, Anne Frank's name is rememberedeverywhere. Just as she had wished, she did become a famous writer."These are representations of Anne's experience quite. different from theauthor's last pronouncements, which are a reaffirmation of the dominantmyth.Representations of Anne Frank in children's literature areinfluenced by the book's country of origin. The first edition of RichardTames' book Anne Frank was English. Thus, there is a photograph of adining hall captioned "Did you get enough to eat? Jewish refugee childrenin England." The message is to portray England as sympathetic toHolocaust victims.12 Atypical of this literature, there are pictures of Jewishcontemporary life intermingled with Anne's tale, even though the8

publishers are not a company with a specifically Jewish audience. Most ofthe book is about Anne's self-creation through writing. The last paragraphis unique in Anne Frank children's literature, sensitive to gender issuesand adolescent identity formation: "Anne wanted to live after her deaththrough her writing. She has." This book is different enough in itsrepresentation to qualify as an alternative reading in children's literature,rather than as a continuation of the dominant myth.The Chelsea House Publishers issued two books on the subject ofAnne Frank for different age groups. Sandor Katz' Anne Frank is part ofthe Chelsea Juniors publications; Richard Amdur's Anne Frank is writtenfor The Chelsea House Library of Biography.13 The central thesis of theChelsea books is to justify biography as genre, in other words, to defendlegitimation of the subject. The books endorse this world view of anintegrated self and appeal to the American propensity for individualism.They "introduce . the. men and women whose actions, ideas, and artistryhave influenced the. course of world history. These. are stories ofcreativity, courage, and leadership - in the arts and sciences, ingovernment and religion, in public life, and in private life." Amdurendorses the recurrent theme of education through empathy, a major useof Anne Frank in Holocaust studies, especially in schools and for children:"[B]iography is a human story . [I]t makes of history something personal, anarrative with which we can make an intimate connection . Suchexperience can be personally invaluable. We cannot ask for a better entryinto historical studies.What are the. values or beliefs that guide thesubject's actions? How are those values or belie

mission to interpret Anne's legacy as a mandate to educate against racism and fascism. The last entry in an Anne Frank Foundation book of 1979, published in Dutch and German editions to mark Anne Frank's fiftieth birthday (June 12, 1929), is a quotation from Otto Frank: Nowhere in het (sic) diary

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