After reading Anne Frank’s diary, and then the afterward I felt I needed to know more about the Holocaust. When I searched my kindle store for a non fiction book about the subject I was surprised by how few there were, but after reading What Papa Told Me I realise that it isn’t just the survivors that have difficulty in bringing their horrific memories to the forefront of their lives again but we, as mere readers struggle to come to terms with a reality we can’t ever comprehend.
I will be honest, there were several moments when I felt I could not go on, that perhaps this book was too much for my 21st century life, but I carried on because I felt I owed it to them, the survivors, to listen. Reading this book as a first hand account gives so much more than any history book can, this is a human being who lay among corpses in order to survive, who lost his parents, brothers and sisters, who witnessed cold blooded murders and yet still wanted to tell us about his experiences and to him we must be grateful.
I highly recommend this book, it isn’t very long but I believe that as children of the 20th century we owe it to the survivors because they suffered so we now don’t…..even writing this has bought more tears to my eyes.
I would also like to highlight Felice Cohen’s talent for writing and I have no doubt that this was difficult for her.
I couldn’t remember if I had read this as a child or not, but felt that regardless this book deserved a second, more mature read and now as an adult I can fully appreciate this beautiful diary.
It is a marvel to read, listening to a young girl’s thoughts and feelings, watching her not only grow up but also fall simultaneously, deep into a sense of loneliness and despair. But her story is not a tragic one, but a voice given to the millions of people who suffered during the second world war. Her face has now become synonymous with freedom and it was the afterward of her diary that brought tears to my eyes. Anne Frank wanted to be a writer, she wanted to be remembered after her death, and now, as one of the most famous faces (and names) of the 20th Century she has outlived history and has become a symbol of hope and learning.
Many of us have read this book at school as children or young adults, I really urge you to re-read it because as life brings us knowledge and empathy I felt during this second reading that I understood why this book is a piece of art in a terrible slice of history.
And now, I feel must pilgrimage to Amsterdam so that I can visit The Secret Annex, walk the same corridors and stand in her room, contemplate the fate of those unfortunate, innocent 8 people. Because in reading her diary you feel that you are with her and that as the diary comes to an abrupt end you too have suffered a loss. But she has surpassed even her own dreams and become timeless, forever a young, hopeful girl WRITER!.