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She was fifteen when she died, an aspiring journalist; a feminist ahead of her time, an optimist in the worst of times. A kindred spirit I came to know when I was fifteen, twenty years after her death.
Anne Frank’s diary lent a poignant voice to the fight for human dignity. Her image lent a face to the 1.5 million innocent children who died during the Holocaust.
To the left, just beyond the entrance, the walkway opened into an area devoted to displaying large images of children, those whose lives had been snuffed out with so little regard during the Holocaust. I could feel hot tears behind my eyes seeking release in the silence that enveloped the magnitude of so much innocence lost. As a mother, especially, looking into the eyes of those beautiful faces, I struggled with the reality of such an unimaginable tragedy.
I followed the group into the next room, a room lined in mirrors and lit by a single candle. Beautiful pinpoints of light shone bright in the dark, a night sky of infinite luminescence. I grabbed hold of the railing along the walkway as I looked up, overwhelmed by the poignant depiction of the sheer magnitude of this tragedy. I listened with a heavy heart as one name after another of those children killed, along with their tender ages at the time of their death, drifted into the darkness, reinforcing the reality of this horrific loss.
“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.”
― Anne Frank
Photo courtesy of Spence Anopol.
Otto Frank, Anne Frank’s father, was the only family survivor. The Frank family was betrayed in 1944 by an anonymous informant two years after going into hiding; all were eventually sent to concentration camps in Germany. Both Anne and her sister Margot died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March, 1945. The camp was liberated by the British 11th Armoured Division in April of the same year.
― Anne Frank