Original Article Published On The Jerusalem Post
Anne Frank would have been 75 this year, had she survived. When I put her name into a search at http://www.google.com I got exactly 4,930,000 hits. Mining this abundance of material on her and her diary is an appropriate way, for Internet freaks and others, to mark Holocaust Memorial Day which begins on Sunday, April 18.
This famous young victim’s diary has been translated into more than 67 languages and has sold more than 31 million copies since its publication in 1947. On the “official” Anne Frank homepage, at http://www.annefrank.nl, you’ll find links — in English, Spanish and German — to a brief biography and to material about her hiding place, the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, now a much-visited museum.
The website of the Anne Frank Center USA, whose stated aim is “to inspire the next generation to build a world based on compassion, mutual respect, and social justice” (at http://www.annefrank.com), includes links to centers in Berlin, London and Basel and info about traveling exhibits, educational programs and special events. On a more informal note, http://www.surfnetkids.com provides crossword puzzles and trivia games. Some sample questions: Who was Anne’s older sister? What was the name of the woman who helped hide Anne and her family? What was Anne’s age when she began keeping a diary?
Those enamored of the comics genre might be amused by “Anne Frank Conquers Moon Nazis,” at http://excelsiorstudios.net (click on the box labeled “Anne”). Personally, though, I wouldn’t recommend it for younger children.
On the other hand, interesting educational materials abound, since many teachers around the world still use “The Diary” in lessons about the Holocaust, bravery and even journal writing. Daniel Barkowitz of Boston has created a course for 8th through 12th graders. The outline for 12 one-hour classes is posted at http://www.remember.org
Anne Frank’s diary is now part of the curriculum, too, in North Korean junior high schools. A TV crew recently discovered that Pyongyang doesn’t use the diary to teach how Anne suffered at the hands of the Germans, but to warn the students how they could suffer at the hands of “American Nazis.” A transcript of the shocking report, aired in the U.S. on CBS-TV’s “60 Minutes,” is available at http://www.cbsnews.com
Some people may mark this Yom Hashoah by helping their children imagine what 6 million looks like. When I was in fifth grade, we tried to collect soda caps, but we only got a few hundred thousand. How many times would you have to fill up the Great Lawn in Central Park or Yankee Stadium to see what even 1 million people look like? Right now, there’s an Internet chain letter making the rounds, hoping to reach 6 million people before Yom Hashoah.
When I got it in late March, almost 500,000 people had seen the message.