Two little girls are playing in the sandbox – best friends, inseparable, playing pranks, sharing confessions, giggling at secret jokes. A photo of two– Anne Frank, the most famous child of the 20th century, whose diary is known to millions as the ultimate document of the Holocaust; and her best friend Hannah-Elizabeth Pick-Goslar – has endured for decades, a reminder of a joy that once was but can never be regained.
Hannah Pick-Goslar, nicknamed Hanneli, who died on October 28 at the age of 93, was the world’s last living liaison with Anne Frank. They attacked it right away in their childhood. Hanneli, 5, and Anne, 4, noticed each other on the first day of kindergarten and, as Mrs. Pick-Goslar described years later, Anne “turned and fell into my arms and I ran into hers, and we were friends ever since. “.
Hanneli plays a pivotal role in Anne Frank’s diary. In one of his earliest entries, June 15, 1942, he writes: “Hanneli Goslar, or lies, as she is called at school, is a bit strange. She is usually shy – honest at home, but aloof with other people. He tells his mother everything you tell her. But she says what she thinks, and I appreciate her a lot lately.
Completely unlike her friend, Anne was honest, talkative. “My fiery Anne was exuberant, prematurely developed, crazy about the boy,” Hannah noted, adding that Anne was so insistent on her own point of view that it led Hannah’s mother to notice that “God knows everything, but Anna knows better.”
When the Franks went into hiding in July 1942, Mr. Frank left a note that the family had fled to Switzerland. Hanneli’s family will be arrested and sent back a year later. Anne, still in hiding and unaware of her friend’s fate, felt guilty about treating her badly or ignoring her. In November 1943 she described a dream in which Hanneli came to her. “I saw her in front of me, dressed in rags, her face thin and worn. Her eyes were very large and she looked at me so sadly and reproachfully that I could read in her eyes: “Oh, Anna, why did you leave me? Help, oh, help me, save me from this hell! “
Then, in December, another dream: “Dear God, look after her and bring her back to us. Hanneli, you remember what my fate could have been. I still see myself in your place.
The Franks were discovered, arrested and sent back – Anne and her sister to Auschwitz – August 4, 1944. A few months later the sisters were transferred to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in northern Germany, the same camp where Hanneli was imprisoned.
As Hannah describes it in the documentary, I hope for it“Apparently, 7,000 women come to the camp. There is no place for them, so the Germans set up large tents for them. Then someone tells me, “Your friend Anne Frank is here.” I couldn’t believe it. We all thought they went to Switzerland. At night I tried to get as close as possible to [barbed wire] fence [stuffed with matting so the prisoners couldn’t see each other through it].
“And somehow I cry,” Hello? Hello?’ And a woman answers me. It was Mrs. Van Pels, the woman who had been hiding with Anne. We talked for half a minute – it was too dangerous. And she just said to me, “Oh, you want Ania?” And she went, and after about seven minutes she came back with Ania.
“And it wasn’t really Anne, the nice girl I knew from Amsterdam. Sad little girl. First, we both cried. – How did you get here? And I ask: “You’re not in Switzerland with your grandmother?” She said, “No, we never went to Switzerland, we hid in Daddy’s office and got betrayed.” And then we talked about the family very briefly. I told her my father was very sick. And then she asked if I could help with the food. So I said, “Anna, I’ll see what I can do. Come back in two or three days. And I really didn’t come with anything after three days, right? That’s so much. A bit of football with a few cookies – we got, you know, that bread that you can keep for a long time – some of this and some prunes, and I don’t remember, a piece of sugar. And we put something in our clothes, gloves and socks. And I said, “Ania, watch out, I’m throwing it over the fence.” But I couldn’t see her – had to quit on hearing it. And there were many other hungry women, and one of them grabbed the package and ran away with her, and Ania screamed and cried, it was so sad. I needed to calm her down. And then I said: “Ania, we will try again. Come back in two or three days. And we did it again and she grabbed the package but that was over. We saw each other at the end of February, but then we didn’t see each other anymore. “
In April 1945, Hannah and her sister were among 2,500 prisoners in a German train heading west to another camp, but the train was stopped outside the city in later East Germany. The German guards escaped, leaving the emaciated passengers for release by the Red Guards, which later handed them over to the Americans. In July of the same year in Amsterdam, Hannah heard from Otto Frank that Anne had died. In 1947, Hannah emigrated to Israel, where her sister joined her two years later. She trained as a nurse and looked after Israeli soldiers in combat zones during the Revolutionary War.
As a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, she often wondered how it could have been otherwise with Anne, a survivor testifying to her lost friend, Hannah.
“When I go and talk about the Holocaust,” Hannah said, “I always say that I think we’re all made in God’s image, and if we have a different color, a different religion, or even a different meaning, we should try to live more in peace together. I hope.
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