Wednesday 25 April 2018

Survivor recalls Anne Frank's fairytales

Toby Sterling in Amsterdam

FRAIL, bone-cold and surrounded by death, Jewish teenager Anne Frank did her best to distract younger children from the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp by telling them fairytales, a Holocaust survivor has said.

The account by Berthe Meijer, now 71, of being a six-year-old inmate at Bergen Belsen offers a rare glimpse of Anne in the final weeks of her life in the German camp, as she tried to lift the morale of the smaller children.

That Anne had a gift for storytelling was evident from the diary she kept during two years in hiding with her family in Amsterdam -- and which was published after the war.

But Ms Meijer's memoir, being published in Dutch this month, is the first to mention Anne's talent for spinning tales even in the despair of the camp.

The memoir deals with Ms Meijer's acquaintance with Anne in only a few pages, but she said she titled the book 'Life After Anne Frank' because it continued the tale of Holocaust victims where the famous diary left off.

Anne died in March 1945 in a typhus epidemic just two weeks before the camp was liberated. She was 15. The Meijers and the Franks were acquaintances before the war.

Irish Independent

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