Yesterday marked the sad 73rd anniversary of the date when the Gestapo arrested the brilliant 15 year old Jewish girl Anne Frank and all the other occupants of an Amsterdam attic.  They were sent to the infamous Bergen-Belsen concentration camp,  where she died months later from typhus. Anne’s family, like thousands of other Jewish families fleeing Hitler’s NAZI murderers, had been denied entry into the United States. This was because since the early 1920’s our immigration laws were written to admit as few Jews as possible to our supposed “welcoming land of freedom and opportunity”.  So Anne Frank died in agony in a hellhole created by the NAZI’s to hasten the demise of Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals and Catholics.  Unlike the millions of others who died anonymous deaths at the hands of  Hitler’s deranged fascists,  Anne’s memory has lived on due to the diary she wrote while in captivity.   Her diary was a beautifully poignant work, that fills the reader with an inescapable sadness knowing the end for this compassionate and sensitive teenager.  What follows is her last diary entry coincidentally written on August 1,  the Jewish Day of Mourning Tisha Be’av, a Jewish holiday that commemorates the destruction of the ancient Temples in Jerusalem. 

On a personal note, I am the grandchild of Jewish immigrants who entered into this country before the laws restricting Jewish immigration were enacted. My grandparents on both sides produced 9 children each, many of whom served in World War II and all of whom lived productive lives. This bastard, our illegitimate President,  seeks to ban a different class of immigrants seeking the opportunity and benefits of America. Many of these immigrants are fleeing repressive regimes and also the death and destruction of civil wars.

That Trump’s own grandparents, his mother and his wife were and are immigrants apparently makes no difference in his thinking. Then again, the Trump family’s immigrants were all White, Christian and European, just the ethnic stock he welcomes to our shores. Remembering my two illiterate grandmothers, who only spoke in Yiddish, I would be a total ass, like Trump, if I didn’t feel solidarity with and empathy for those immigrants harassed, arrested and ultimately barred from this country by virtue of their ethnicity and their religion.

Ann Frank’s Last Diary Entry – June 1st, 1944

“Dearest Kitty,

“A bundle of contradictions” was the end of my previous letter and is the beginning of this one. Can you please tell me exactly what “a bundle of contradictions” is? What does “contradiction” mean? Like so many words, it can be interpreted in two ways: a contradiction imposed from without and one imposed from within.

The former means not accepting other people’s opinions, always knowing best, having the last word; in short, all those unpleasant traits for which I’m known. The latter, for which I’m not known, is my own secret.

As I’ve told you many times, I’m split in two. One side contains my exuberant cheerfulness, my flippancy, my joy in life and, above all, my ability to appreciate the lighter side of things. By that I mean not finding anything wrong with flirtations, a kiss, an embrace, an off-color joke. This side of me is usually lying in wait to ambush the other one, which is much purer, deeper and finer. No one knows Anne’s better side, and that’s why most people can’t stand me.

Oh, I can be an amusing clown for an afternoon, but after that everyone’s had enough of me to last a month. Actually, I’m what a romantic movie is to a profound thinker – a mere diversion, a comic interlude, something that is soon forgotten: not bad, but not particularly good either.

I hate having to tell you this, but why shouldn’t I admit it when I know it’s true? My lighter, more superficial side will always steal a march on the deeper side and therefore always win. You can’t imagine how often I’ve tried to push away this Anne, which is only half of what is known as Anne-to beat her down, hide her. But it doesn’t work, and I know why.

I’m afraid that people who know me as I usually am will discover I have another side, a better and finer side. I’m afraid they’ll mock me, think I’m ridiculous and sentimental and not take me seriously. I’m used to not being taken seriously, but only the “light-hearted” Anne is used to it and can put up with it; the “deeper” Anne is too weak. If I force the good Anne into the spotlight for even fifteen minutes, she shuts up like a clam the moment she’s called upon to speak, and lets Anne number one do the talking. Before I realize it, she’s disappeared.

So the nice Anne is never seen in company. She’s never made a single appearance, though she almost always takes the stage when I’m alone. I know exactly how I’d like to be, how I am… on the inside. But unfortunately I’m only like that with myself. And perhaps that’s why-no, I’m sure that’s the reason why I think of myself as happy on the inside and other people think I’m happy on the outside. I’m guided by the pure Anne within, but on the outside I’m nothing but a frolicsome little goat tugging at its tether.

As I’ve told you, what I say is not what I feel, which is why I have a reputation for being boy-crazy as well as a flirt, a smart aleck and a reader of romances. The happy-go-lucky Anne laughs, gives a flippant reply, shrugs her shoulders and pretends she doesn’t give a darn. The quiet Anne reacts in just the opposite way. If I’m being completely honest, I’ll have to admit that it does matter to me, that I’m trying very hard to change myself, but that I I’m always up against a more powerful enemy.

A voice within me is sobbing, “You see, that’s what’s become of you. You’re surrounded by negative opinions, dismayed looks and mocking faces, people, who dislike you, and all because you don’t listen to the advice of your own better half.”

Believe me, I’d like to listen, but it doesn’t work, because if I’m quiet and serious, everyone thinks I’m putting on a new act and I have to save myself with a joke, and then I’m not even talking about my own family, who assume I must be sick, stuff me with aspirins and sedatives, feel my neck and forehead to see if I have a temperature, ask about my bowel movements and berate me for being in a bad mood, until I just can’t keep it up anymore, because when everybody starts hovering over me, I get cross, then sad, and finally end up turning my heart inside out, the bad part on the outside and the good part on the inside, and keep trying to find a way to become what I’d like to be and what I could be if… if only there were no other people in the world.

Yours, Anne M. Frank”

How many children of insight and genius will be barred from our country because a vicious narcissist racist is appealing to his racist base for electoral support? How many valuable lives will be lost? How many promising life stories will be abruptly halted by the killing and the bigotry that permeates our world? 

What indeed has happened to Ronald Reagan’s conception that: “America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere”?

 

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