Tag Archive: anne frank


There is so much going on this past few week, I have no idea where to start.

I am finding myself angry about a number of happening. Since I try to go with one topic at a time, let me start with on that hasn’t made much notice.

Many of us have heard about the increasing violence against the Jewish community. There were attacks every day of Hanukah. It takes a lot of guts to find the different looking people in your area and attack them. (sarcasm).

But that wasn’t the worst story I read. Newsweek reported that Dennis Prager, a conservative radio host, stated that Anne Frank held no wisdom for him. That would be fine if it weren’t for the fact he ridiculed her age and the fact that Frank was a secular Jew.

Prager himself was born into an orthodox Jewish family in New York. After college, he left his orthodox faith but maintains those practices he deems important. He also worked to help Soviet Jews emigrate to the US. So I was surprised by his comments about Frank.

Anne-Frank-school-desk-Netherlands-photo-album-1940

Picture from Britannica.com

It is true that Frank’s family was secular and that she was 16 when she wrote the diaries.  Despite everything that happened, Frank still believed in the goodness of people. Was that naive of her? Was it ill advised despite all of her experiences?

I don’t know and I am not going to judge Frank if she was wise enough. She was living through a situation that I can not imagine. She dealt with the stress of being in hiding from people who wanted to kill her because of an ethnic identity. The fact that she felt hopeful after being in hiding and knowing the outside world was dangerous is amazing to me. She chose to look at the world with the feeling of faith in mankind to always want to be better.

There is something I would like to give to Mr. Prager as a reminder. Nazis didn’t care if you were orthodox, conservative, or liberal. They didn’t care if you were an observant Jew, a passover and Yom Kippur Jew, or a fallen away Jew. All that mattered was that if you were a Jew, you needed to be eliminated. Maybe that was shut up in the ghetto, sent to a camp, or simply dead in a trench the Jews were forced to dig.

As we see increased violence towards the Jewish population, now is not the time to pick each other apart. Maybe Prager did this because currently because it is en vogue to criticize teenagers who take a stand against evil. Maybe he considers this young girl inconsequential because of her age and secular religious habits. All I can say that it takes a small man to disparage a young person to make him feel better about himself. Almost as small as the people who have to kill those who are different from themselves.

 

Picture by Clarita

The funny thing about doing research before you write your blog is that you get sidetracked.

 Today I am writing about banned books. The week that spotlights book some groups of people try to hide from the rest of us starts on the 25th. So I thought I would look over one  list. Then I checked out the ALA list.

The usual suspects were there. Judy Blume, J.D. Salinger, Henry Miller, Mark Twain, and D. H. Lawrence.

 I found the Harry Potter series and Shel Silverstein. Lord of the Flies, Brave New World, The Portrait of Dorian Grey and The Diary of Anne Frank. The last one was banned because the subject matter was found to be a real downer.

 Which tends to happen when the subject matter is the Holocaust and the author/main character dies at the end.

 But then I saw books on the list that made me curious. Where’s Waldo and Little House in the Big Woods. These are on the banned books list. So I decided to dig a little. What I found out is that some people have taken offense to things that are said about Indians in the Little House series.

Picture from Barnes and Noble.com

 I will grant people that. Mrs. Wilder repeats what she heard as a child that “the only good Indian is a dead one.” But you have to continue reading to find her father saying that there are good ones and bad ones just like any other group. Plus, he regularly talked to the Indians wherever they lived to help with easy co-existence. Finally, in The Long Hard Winter it is an old Indian who warns the settlers about the incoming winter that will be vicious.

 Context, it is all about context whether it is Mrs. Wilder’s work or Mark Twain’s or Ralph Ellison’s. Sometimes words and phrases are used to show the wrongness of belief systems and actions. If we choose to be offended by the words but not the context or the meaning, we are missing out on something bigger that four-, five- or six-letter word.

 When something is wrong you have to name it to point out what is wrong. Name it, describe it, and show the wrong thing for what it is. Sometimes in bloody, gory detail. What do these authors get? Banned because they said it.

 But what about Waldo, you ask?

Picture from Barnes and Noble.com

 The children’s book that asks you to find the real Waldo in a sea of imposters got itself on the list because of what someone found on a beach. Apparently, there is a woman sunbathing with her top off in a beach scene. One web site stated they have not been able to find her – ever.  

 So this week I am continuing reading Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger. I will encourage my kids to read the Goosebumps and Narnia series. And I encourage you to find a book on the Banned Book  list to read. After all, how will you know why the book was banned if you do not read it in the first place?