MUNICH — (MunichNOW News) — On This Day in German History, August 4th:
Recently it has been reported that the value of Apple had reached the one trillion dollar mark. Lots of tweets on Twitter or posts on Facebook have the number written out so we can get an idea of just how much a trillion or one thousand billion (1,000,000,000,000) is, because for most of us it’s just another really big number which we can’t truly wrap our heads around.
And unfortunately, I think, for some the same can be said for the victims of the Holocaust. Officially, if there can be such a thing, six million Jews, or about the number of people living in the metropolitan areas of Toronto or Miami or Madrid died at the hands of the Nazis. Another 6-7.5 million civilians died according to a recent, well-researched article, deliberately killed by the SS or other Einsatzgruppen. Again, these are really big numbers and probably there were many, many more unaccounted for.
One of the six million Jews killed was Anne Frank, and it was on this day, August 4th, 1944 when Anne and her family were arrested in Amsterdam. Her biography is well-known because she kept a diary (later found and published) of their time in hiding, entering events and emotions of a young, vibrant teenage girl into her book. She has for me, and I suspect for many others also, become and remained the face of the Holocaust victims. Her hiding, capture and eventual death at Bergen-Belsen are all so nonsensical amongst the millions. They are more than numbers.
I can’t remember exactly which class it was when I read “The Diary of Anne Frank” for the first time. Perhaps it was the seventh, since the students would have been as old as Anne. I learned about the only tree she could see, her family, her desires and fears, but mostly I remember that she somehow managed to remain a teenager in her captivity. I have since reread it a few times and I always take away something new about myself from her words.
I have spent many days and nights in Amsterdam since I first visited that charming city in 1999 and I can say, without joy but with some sense of satisfaction, the lines to get into the Anne Frank Huis are much longer today than they were in 1999. To that dear child, and to all the victims of the Nazi regime, rest in peace, as we continue to fight to keep your names and faces and stories alive here on Earth.
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