Thursday 6 July 2006

6th of July - 1942, 1946 & 2006

Seeking refuge finding little solace

As Europe changed under the scourge of Communism, Fascism and Nazism, people negatively affected by these developments began to seek succour and refuge in other countries where the effect was less evident.

Men sought to protect their lives and lives of their families as they moved from persecution state to another hoping to outrun, outdo and outlive the tragedies that were knocking at their front doors.

This was a time when trust mattered but suspicion thrived, your good neighbour of yesterday became your sworn enemy the next day as the sufferings gave way to the desire to obtain reward for the despicable acts of telling on others for personal safety.

As so, 64 years ago today, Otto Frank, his wife and two daughter sought refuge in a backroom apartment in Amsterdam to avoid being taken by the Nazis and sent to ghettos or concentration camps as part of plan of Jewish extermination which became known as the Holocaust.

Men of evil persuasion

These were times when probably people could have claimed other allegiances or heritage to escape privation, but no, Jews owned up as Jews and stayed true to being who they were, in the process, they were corralled and gathered for death in concentration camps.

Only a few weeks before this event, Otto had given his daughter Anne an autograph book which she had pointed out to her father, however, on receipt of this 13th Birthday present, she decided to use it as a diary.

For 2 years and 29 days, they sojourned in refuge in the Actherhuis (Secret Annex), unbeknownst to anyone but a few trusted staff of Otto Frank's business.

Accounts reveal that there were Jew hunters who were rewarded handsomely for those deprived times for seeking out Jews, and so it happened that Otto Frank, his family and other Jews in the annex were betrayed and apprehended for transportation to concentration camps.

There is no doubt from those studies that quite a few of the Dutch citizenry were collaborators in fishing out Jews for horrors beyond words.

Anyway, for blackmail, for fear or for honour, the Franks were apprehended and sent to away - only Frank survived that ordeal.

Ensuring a legacy

He returned to Amsterdam where his ex-employees had gathered most of Franks' belongings and papers, which ended which contained writings that became known as "the Anne Frank diary".

I first came across information about Anne Frank in a church exhibition in England, and then when I visited Amsterdam in 1996, we went to the Anne Frank House to be enlightened about life in the Netherlands during Nazi occupation and how it affected the Jews.

The brood of collaborators

Like today, we have another dimension of immigration problems where the collaborators in sending immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers back to places of misery, privation and death are the rule-keepers in the guise of ministers of the Dutch crown.

There are immigrants today who were just as integrated as Anne Frank, her diary was written in Dutch and then translated into many other languages.

It is amazing that there is a still a lot of angst about conferring Dutch citizenship on Anne Frank an issue that has been refused on the technicality that citizenship is not granted posthumously - for people who speak a language that has so many exceptions, one would expect an exception to the rule in this case.

This even in the light of Anne Frank almost being voted the greatest Dutch person.

The problem is not necessarily that of everyday Dutch people, rather it is their unconscionable leaders given to populist notions and deceived by presumed popularity that stoke the embers that bring out the worst in us.

July the 6th - auspiciously inauspicious

Beyond this is the issue of legacies; Anne Frank ensured her legacy by journaling the events of her times, which gives insight into a dark period of Dutch history.

Four years after the Frank's sought refuge, George W. Bush was born; he is in the process of ensuring a legacy which history might not judge to nicely if Iraq, Afghanistan, the War on Terror continues to gather the headlines.

The lesson is simple, we can find good in all men, but when adversity strikes, many good men fall; we can also find truth in all men, but when in the skin of politicians - better be bitten by a rattlesnake than listen to their populist poison that destroys communities and societies.


Who Betrayed Anne Frank?

Ex-Liberal boss compares Verdonk to Le Pen

Here lies … About the greatest Dutch person

The Greatest Dutch Person - the official Anne Frank House website

Anne Frank on Dutch 'greatest' list stirs citizenship debate

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