When I watched the movie adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars, I was surprised by the visit to the Anne Frank House; I’d forgotten about that part. I visited the museum in 1983, when I was an exchange student in Denmark. I was sort of distracted during the movie because the entrance has changed significantly since I was there 31 years ago. The annex itself was the same, and is a sobering place to visit.
Anne wasn’t the only Jewish child to hide during the war, but her story has certainly captured the hearts of those who have read her diary. In 2011, Marcel Prins and Peter Henk Steenhuis published Ondergedoken als Anne Frank, which was published in English this year as Hidden Like Anne Frank: 14 True Stories of Survival.
As I read this, I was thinking about all the dystopian novels I’ve read and that have been written. These kids were certainly living their own dystopian nightmare.
This is a collection of 14 personal memories. Not all have happy endings. Not all were treated well. No two stories are alike, and each has its own message, giving glimpses in to the various ways people survived the war. The book also has a website that gives more, factual information bout each child’s story. For readers not yet ready to tackle the entirety of Anne’s diary, this book provides an excellent alternative.
The book opens with the story of Marcel Prins’ own mother Rita Degen, who went into hiding in 1942 when she was only 6 ears old. It was his mother’s story that led Prins, an award-winning Dutch filmmaker and cameraman, to tell the stories of other children.
Some of these stories are hard and you might not want to read it all in one sitting, but I highly recommend that you read it.