Saturday, March 20, 2010

Anne Frank and Fairy Tales

From Anne Frank told fairy tales to children in concentration camp, says survivor in new memoir by Rosemary Black at the Daily News:

During her final weeks of life in a German concentration camp, Anne Frank told fairy tales to the youngest inmates to lift their morale, says a Holocaust survivor who met her.

Anne, whose diary penned during her two years of hiding with her family in Amsterdam is the most widely read book about the Holocaust, was frail and sickly at that point. Few knew of her talent for fairytale-telling until Holocaust survivor Berthe Meijer, now 71, mentioned it in a memoir that will be published this month in Dutch, according to AOL News.

Meijer, who was a 6-year-old inmate at Bergen-Belsen when she met Anne, recalls the Jewish teenager’s stories as "fairy tales in which nasty things happened, and that was of course very much related to the war."


But the stories she spun for the younger children at Bergen Belsen were "about princes and elves and those kind of figures," Meijer said. And while the stories had unhappy twists, they were "quite a bit less terrible than what we saw around us. So you thought, ‘They didn’t have it so bad.’ As a child, you think very primitively about that kind of thing," she said.

Some are debating whether the memory is true or if the teller was actually Anne Frank, but most believe the author's accounts. Her memoir is only in Dutch so far, but might perhaps appear in English someday...

And for now, it adds an interesting dimension to fairy tales and the Holocaust either way.

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