Mashable reported that The Anne Frank House has just posted the only video footage of Anne Frank on YouTube. You see her leaning out of a second-story window as she watches a bride and groom exit a neighboring address. Here it is:
The Diary of Anne Frank was my way in to German history as a girl, alongside Die Weiße Rose/ The White Rose, the 1947 memoire by Inge Scholl on Sophie Scholl and her friends in German student resistance. The combination was potent. I was so thrilled by the story of student resistence that I had very little trouble knowing that my family was half German and my mother had grown up in Nazi Germany. It never occurred to me to be ashamed of my heritage, as I assumed that thinking people everywhere in Germany must have seen Hitler for what he was. That, of course, was a child’s view of the world, making it easier to find a place for myself. But I was quite shocked when a well-educated American sister-in-law of mine started talking about my family being Nazis. I never did figure out whether she was being nasty or trying to be funny, but the more she talked about it, the more she seemed to talk herself into it, creating an insurmountable barrier between us. I’ve actually spent quite a bit of time thinking about how the Nazi era played into my family’s lives. From their recollections about the war, I knew they were Catholic and despized the Nazis and found ways to live outside the system, be it because my grandfather had a big house in a village where he could listen to the radio in the basement and provide travellers with shelter, or in my mother’s case, because she lived a bohemian life as an actress and managed to lie low, and when the theaters closed went home to work as a nurse in her father’s country doctor’s office. One day I’d like to edit her papers, which I have piled up in the basement.
It wasn’t until much later, when I read Alfred O. Hirshman’s Exit, Voice, Loyalty that I understood what inward immigration really meant.
I often used the biographical, personal narrative approach when I was working as an historian and exhibition coordinator, and saw how great it is for awakening interest and involving people otherwise not drawn to history.
The Anne Frank Virtual Museum will open in 2010. A preview: