This article describes 10 groups of German heroes that stood up to and resisted the Nazis. These groups were collectively known as “Widerstand”. The attached photo shows a group of Edelweiss pirates being publicly hanged for going against the Nazis. I guess it was more dangerous for them to go against the Nazis and stand up for their own beliefs, and they were extremely brave for doing so. It probably would have been safer and easier for them to follow the crowd, yet instead they did what they felt was right and some died as a consequence.
I found a brilliant article describing the gas chambers at a concentration camp. It’s crazy to think that these prisoners- some Jews, some homosexuals, some gypsies, all of whom were described as “undesirables”- were dropped off at these camps, forced to get naked and then piled into small chambers with dozens of other people- not having a clue what was about to happen to them- and then gassed to death. I guess it was probably a better way to go then being starved to death. I honestly can’t imagine what it would have been like to be crammed into wet, lice and rat infested barracks with thousands of other people and surviving on a small piece of bread a day and watery soup. Looking at these pictures makes me feel sick and I honestly can’t imagine how people could treat others this way.
The Germans turned to Nazism after the Wall Street Crash of 1929 out of desperation. Hitler had by then developed a bit of a following due to his great speaking skills, confidence that he was a gift from God and his general ability to draw people in to his sick beliefs and brain wash them. He had already campaigned and developed a following before this happened and he had the financial backing of many wealthy businessmen. This website gives a good summary of Hitler’s rise to power.
The Wall Street Crash had resulted in the Americans calling in their loans of Germany. This left Germany is a state of poverty, with many people left living on the streets and going hungry. People wanted someone to blame and Hitler gave them this and so the Nazi success grew and grew.
President Hindenburg made the mistake in 1933 of making Hitler Chancellor after Hitler refused the title of Vice-Chancellor. President Hindenburg thought he could control Hitler, however, Hitler was able to overtake power due to his supporters and therefore ended up becoming one of the most significant Dictators ever known, resulting in the deaths of over 6 million Jews. I really can’t imagine having a Prime Minister in Australia that would be able to control the beliefs of Australians like Hitler did with the Germans. He really must have been persuasive and made people believe he could offer them a better life.
Anti-Semitism is the false belief that humans are divided into separate and distinct “races” and that people born as Jews, regardless of their religious beliefs, were evil and dangerous. The Nazis believed that the Jews were secretly working together to gain control of the world and that is how anti-Semitism became a government policy during the German’s rise of power during the second world war. The Nazis truly believed that they were born superior to the Jews and that Jewish people only destroyed societies. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to live during this horrible time period. Racism definitely exists today in the Western World, but there isn’t a real and true danger involved in being a Jew today like there was then. The only real case of anti-Semitism existing today is what is happening in the Middle East. I guess we are pretty lucky to live in Australia where all cultures are mostly accepted.
I found a great website that includes an interactive timeline of Anne’s time before, during and after her time in the secret annex.
Anne’s last diary entry is probably her most moving one. She goes into great depth to explain how the real Anne Frank is not the Anne Frank that people around her know. She explains that the Anne Frank she is around others is known to be a smart arse, a flirt and a clown, but to show her true self to her family and friends (which is a much softer side) often results in them thinking she is sick or moody. She says how she often has to save herself with a joke to cover her tracks if the “good Anne” shines through, and this constant tug of war between her two selves is why a lot of people don’t like her or find her aloof. Her last quote reads, “if only there were no other people in the world”.
To think that she ended her diary with such a powerful and revealing entry before being captured is amazing. It’s almost like she knew this would be her last entry and she was wrapping her “book” up. If only she knew how great her diary was to become and how many lives it would touch after she passed.
Throughout the book, Anne writes about her developing relationship with Peter van Daan. Peter was a few years older than Anne, but the two couldn’t stand each other in the beginning and Peter was also quite shy. Towards the end of the diary, Anne and Peter have fallen in love and Anne talks about their first kiss and how naughty it was for a girl her age to be kissing a boy. She talks about how her own mum wouldn’t have even touched a boy until she married her father. An article I read at this link talks about how Anne’s dad Otto actually edited out sections of Anne’s diary that were too steamy to be published. Their attraction was probably unavoidable when they were crammed in such a small place together!
In this diary entry, Anne speaks about her mum and dad’s relationship as well as her own relationship with her mum. She analyses her parents’ relationship in great detail- the way her dad kissed her mum like he kissed her and Margot, the way he looks at her without any hint of real love and also how he only married her because she would make a suitable wife- I think she must’ve been pretty switched on to have picked up on these things at such a young age. Anne goes on to write how her mum has never opened up to her about her feelings or spoken to Anne about her life, and is somewhat cold to her. Anne felt sorry for her for being such an emotional wreck and loving her dad so much when it wasn’t reciprocated. Her parents never fought or bickered.. her mum was happy to be a wallflower in her dad’s life and knew that she was just there to do a job as a wife and mother.