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Buddy Elias

Anne’s Cousin and head of the Anne Frank Foundation, Buddy Elias, has died at the age of 89.

New York Times article

And an article from a few years ago, in the New York Times

(Thanks to my NL contact for notifying me of this news.)

Two News Items Related to WWII Nazi Trains

Pending parliamentary approval, France’s national railway has agreed to give some recompense to surviving Holocaust victims, spouses of victims, and heirs. The organization’s was complicit in deporting tens of thousands of people to death camps during WWII.

BBC News

The Westerbork Memorial Center has purchased a WWII cattle car discovered in Germany. Five were discovered on an abandoned track near Butzbach. The WWII-era cattle cars presumably were matched satisfactorily to documents and archival film/photos as the type used to ship prisoners out of Westerbork. It’s not certain if these particular boxcars were used to transport prisoners from Westerbork to death camps, but they will be restored and will become a part of the visitor exhibits.

News Story (in Dutch)
Another News Story(also in Dutch)

You may notice some photos of trains in some news stories show trains with windows and some do not. I remember reading that, when people were transported from freedom to a camp,  the trains were fairly nice. This played into passenger’s and onlooker’s hopes that things were not going to be so bad. But when camp prisoners were then transported from one camp to another (such as the trip from Westerbork to Auschwitz-Birkenau), there was no pretense at comfort or humanity: they were forced into cattle cars. Of course, in either case, they found themselves locked in. 

Thanks to my helpful NL contact for pointing out the news about the boxcar going to Westerbork.

3 April 2015 UPDATE:
The trains have been restored and installed in the museum site: Dutch article and video. The article explains that Westerbork was destroyed in the 1970s. It was rebuilt as a museum site. They have restored and placed into the Westerbork museum site two cattle cars of the same type Anne and other Westerbork prisoners were sent on, sent on the long trip to Auschwitz.

New Edition of Muller’s Biography of Anne

I have been busy, but have finished reading Melissa Müller’s new edition of her biography of Anne Frank. It has been expanded by about 1/3 with a lot of newly uncovered information. (It has some 480 pages now.) There is more information about her friend, Hello Silberberg and other friends, more photos which I had not seen before, and more about the villains. Even the old parts were amazing to read. I had not remembered her book being so insightful, but I checked those parts against the original and they were pretty much the same. So it was well worth the time to read, even if the new information did not interest me. I have not updated this site with the new information (and won’t any time soon). If you want to get your hands on the new edition, double-check it is the correct one (is about 480 pages long and has a more subdued photo of Anne on the cover, shown here).

The book not only brings greater understanding of Anne Frank, but also of her family and circle of friends, and the reach of the Holocaust. The sheer numbers killed and affected by those deaths are hard to comprehend. A book like this helps bridge the comprehension gap of huge numbers versus one brilliant young woman. So many people were killed, like Anne was, so many barely survived and lived on, like her father did, some escaped by hiding and luck, like Anne’s friend, Hello, some were able to live with a false identity card, like Barbara Ledermann, some helped, like Miep, some were nasty, like Jansen, and the list goes on.. it’s staggering yet mentally and ethically rewarding to try to comprehend what happened in the larger picture while reading about this one person’s life and circle.