How Anne Frank Crafted Her Diary, and Why It Matters

Between March 28, 1944 and her capture by the SS on August 4, Anne Frank began methodically revising her diary—with the hope of publishing it as a book after the war ended. She was inspired to do so, Ruth Franklin explains, by a radio broadcast from the Dutch government in exile calling on citizens to help preserve materials that could be used to document the country’s experience under Nazi occupation. “But, seriously,” she wrote in response to the broadcast, “it would be quite funny ten years after the war if we Jews were to tell how we lived and what we ate and talked about here.” Franklin goes on to note what can be learned from the revisions of the diary, and the various versions that have been preserved in manuscript form:

To begin with, Otto Frank, [Anne’s father], has been bizarrely and unfairly vilified as the censor of Anne’s diary, when in fact he was nothing of the kind. But [understanding the details of the diary’s composition is] also important for historical reasons. In an entry dated October 9, 1942, Anne discusses what she and the others knew about the fate of the Dutch Jews who were being deported: “We assume that most of them are murdered. The English radio speaks of their being gassed.” Some historians have pointed to this entry as evidence that Dutch people at the time knew of the existence of Auschwitz. But Anne added the line about gassing in version B, meaning that it was written after March 1944 and probably as late as May or June, and can’t be relied on as a source for fall 1942.

Finally, the edits are important because they affect the way we understand Anne and her final creation, which wasn’t a conventional diary per se—a series of entries written in chronological order—but, as Francine Prose has described it, “a memoir in diary form.” In reworking her book from a private text into a public one, she transformed it from an intimate chronicle of her thoughts and feelings into a text of witness: one written by a Jew who wanted the world to know of her persecution by the Nazis. . . . It wasn’t a “found object,” as some critics have assumed, but a testimony deliberately composed. To suggest otherwise misunderstands Anne’s intention and denies her agency.

Read more at Ghost Stories

More about: Anne Frank, Holocaust

As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas