A few weeks back I finished reading ‘The Secret Diary of Anne Frank’ book with my daughter.
I’d never read the tale but I was aware of that story.
She was a teenager whose story starts with her life as a girl in Holland. The fact she is Jewish is a side issue that drags the direction of her life into a new direction. After years in hiding with her family and others she is arrested by police and taken to Auschwitz where she dies weeks before the end of the war.
It’s a book that isn’t just a book about hiding. Anne emerges as a vibrant girl with thoughts of her own. Her steps into adult life are mapped out.
Anne Frank is one of six million who were murdered in the Holocaust.
But how to tell the story of the others who dies is difficult.
The Auschwitz Memorial, who run the site of the death camp in Poland, have taken the approach of tweeting images and a short biography. It’s an arresting process which gives a human face and also oddly restores a degree of dignity, They’re no longer a number. They’re a person with a story to tell.
In the random images I’ve chosen, French girl Ida Fistel who aged eight and 41-year-old German woman Kate Farber and Vera Popperova, 19 who all died. All are images taken in happier times.
Lastly, I’ve chosen Kazimierz Piotrowski whose prison mugshot and striped pyjamas fits the description of what you imagine an Auschwitz prisoner to look like. He has a shaven head and looks malnourished.
Ida’s tweet is here.
Kate’s tweet is here.
Vera’s tweet is here.
Kazimierz’s tweet is here.
What’s the lesson?
Putting a human face on something will always make it relatable.
But also there’s a warning in history.