Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Grandmother's Maiden Name Was Frank

If she was related to Anne Frank, it was probably many, many generations before.
But back in 8th grade in the Bronx, when we read her diary, several classmate (including YOU, Enupoo) said I looked like her.
And as much as SC looks like Nanay, I see a little of Anne in her face too.
I read the book in 8th grade and since then have read much about Anne, much about the Holocaust. Sadly, it's part of my heritage and the part of millions of others who can't go back to "the old country" and track down their families. The people are gone. Even the records are mostly gone.
And now the book has struck a chord with SC too. It's confusing being mestiza--in her case, half Filipino/half Jewish and she's trying to understand her heritage.
More importantly, I think that Anne's dreams and conflicts and confusions speak to her the way they spoke to me.
I bring this up today because of the death of Miep Gies, age 100, the last of the people who helped hide Anne and her family in the "Secret Annex". The NY Times quoted what she wrote in her memoir, "Anne Frank Remembered":
“I am not a hero.I stand at the end of the long, long line of good Dutch people who did what I did and more — much more — during those dark and terrible times years ago, but always like yesterday in the heart of those of us who bear witness.”
You WERE and ARE a hero, Mrs Gies. And it's for bearing witness.
It's for saving Anne's diary so that Otto Frank could bring her voice to the world.
Because of you, the horror that was the Holocaust has become vividly real for generations.
The Nazis tried to silence Anne's voice. Because of you, she will speak forever.

Thank you. For me, for my daughters and for all the mothers and daughters to come.
Aleha ha-shalom, Miep Gies.
Peace be upon you............

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