Friday, 30 September 2016

Reflecting on Anne

Each red block represents one person.
A total of more than 100,000 red blocks stand in Westerbork
When my sister and I first started thinking about our road trip, there were a few places we really wanted to visit. Like Vienna and Prague. And when we looked at a map, we realised there were a few other places that we wouldn't mind having a look at. Like Kraków in Poland.

Teddies were taken, along with everything else
Once we had the basic outline of where, we needed to find the things to see. I didn't want to spend three weeks looking at churches only, so other sights were wanted. And near Kraków, there was concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz. 

Arbeit Macht Frei
The entrance to Auschwitz I
Neither of us had ever been there and we both felt it was something we needed to do. Then I realised that Anne Frank had been there for a short time and from that thought it was a hop and a skip to follow her road, through the first Dutch transit camp to Auschwitz and then on to the concentration camp in Bergen-Belsen, where I had been before.

Part of the possessions taken from the victims
Here pots and cups and such
Concentration camps are tricky beasts. They all served the main basic goal: get rid of the unwanted, but the way in which it happened was different. Westerbork wasn't really a concentration camp as such, it was mainly a transit camp: send people on to get rid of them. And they did: over 100,000 people were sent on to other camps and only a fraction of those survived.

The women's part of Auschwitz II (Birkenau)
Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II (Birkenau) were completely different. Here, the main aim was either work them to death or gas them to death, with a few other methods thrown in for 'good' measure. As long as they got rid of the Jews it was okay in the minds of the Nazis.

Part of the men's part of Auswitz II (Birkenau)
Bergen-Belsen was yet another camp completely. As calculated as Auschwitz, but completely different in its approach. Work them to death was the main aim, although in the end it was starvation that worked equally well.

The post in which Brom says goodbye to Anne, originally had the word died in the part about who survived. But they didn't die, they were killed. Bullets, gas chambers, thrown under a train, starvation. All with one aim: get rid of the Jewish population. 

Bergen-Belsen with the memorial in the background
Me and my sister talked about it several times. I know I am quite strict and like to follow the rules. Would I have gone along with them? Or would I have gone against them anyway? Would I have been brave or would I have cowered away? I don't know and I will hopefully never have to find out either.

Anne Frank
I wish Anne's diary had never been published. Because she would have survived or even better, because she wrote a boring diary about her life, without war and without hiding. I would have loved to have heard from her in other ways though: as the famous actress she wanted to be for example.

Photos 1-6: Gera
Photos 7-8: Mara
Photo of Anne: Anne Frank Museum


  1. Hari OM
    Worthy and meaningful reflections Mara. It is so true that none of us can ever say how we ourselves would act under such circumstances. They were not ordinary issues of life and all experience can melt away when under threat. Words can never do justice to the memories... YAM xx

  2. My goodness Mara...what tribute to the brave souls...I cannot imagine what the went through topped off by being separated from their loved ones never knowing what happened.
    Hugs Cecilia

  3. Great review of grim places from a grim time.

  4. Sad, sad, sad. One hopes to be the better part of valor so to speak. I like you am pretty much a rule follower to a point. As you know from my writing visiting the places of the Nazis and then realizing how much of the cities were destroyed by the Allies, well it left me with as many questions as ever. Thank you for sharing such a thoughtful post.

  5. Another great post. So detailed with information. Thank you Mara for sharing Anne with me.


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