Tag Archives: Anne Frank

Apology accepted, RFK Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has just learned a lesson that I think should be spread throughout the world as it grapples with the issues of the day.

It is that no one ever should compare whatever discomfort one is enduring in the moment to what occurred during the dark, horrible era of The Holocaust. RFK Jr. uttered a most despicable comparison the other day at an anti-COVID 19 vaccine rally in which he bellowed that people who are forced to be vaccinated against a killer virus are enduring trauma similar to what Anne Frank suffered while she was hiding out in her apartment in Amsterdam during World War II.

Kennedy has apologized for his remarks. I accept his apology. I also hope he — nor any other public figure — makes the same hideous analogy ever again.

Anne Frank died at the age of 15 at the hands of her Nazi captors after she and her family were taken from that apartment and sent to a death camp. She was one of about 6 million European Jews who died during The Holocaust, which was the most unspeakable act committed during the 20th century … or perhaps in all of human history.

Kennedy sought to make some odious comparison between what governments are doing now in ordering vaccines to what the Nazis did to Europeans. Good God in Almighty heaven!

I want to add a personal point of privilege. My wife and I saw the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam in 2016 and were moved to tears at the tale of horror it told of the suffering she and her family endured while they hid from their Nazi captors.

The Holocaust stands alone and should never — not ever! — be held up as something to which one can compare other controversial acts.

Lesson learned, RFK Jr.? I damn sure hope so.


No doubt about it, these are bizarre and frightening times

I have seen a lot in my 70 years on this Earth, but to be candid, nothing so far in my life experience has equipped me for what we’re going through at this moment.

I am not frightened for my own health, although I do harbor plenty of dread for my family. This coronavirus pandemic is getting closer and closer with each passing hour.

We’re all taking necessary precaution. We’re practicing the “social distancing” that’s become so common at this time. Our local governments are telling us to “shelter in place.” We’ll do what we’re told.

I don’t know what the immediate future holds. However, I take considerable comfort and solace with this knowledge: This crisis won’t last forever.

Moreover, I also take comfort in understanding that what we’re all going through now pales in comparison to what others over the arc of history have experienced. My wife reminded me of something we saw during a trip we took to Europe in 2016.

We rode the train from Nuremberg, Germany to Amsterdam, The Netherlands. A friend greeted us at the train station and took us to his home near The Hague. The next day we returned to Amsterdam to tour a museum.

It was the home where Anne Frank once lived. It was there that we learned in detail about the pure and unadulterated horror Anne Frank and her family experienced during World War II. Shelter in place? Hah! They were hostages in their own home. Nazi occupiers were looking for Jewish citizens. When they found them they took them into captivity and hauled them off to death camps.

Anne Frank and her family were outed eventually. The SS broke in, they took the young girl and her family into custody. Anne Frank died at age 15, after chronicling the horror she endured.

We’re living a bit uncomfortably. The coronavirus pandemic will pass eventually. Our government is asking us to do certain things. It is asking to avoid doing other certain things.

I’ve never lived through anything quite like this. The feel-good phrase of the day is “We’re in this together.” Yes. We are.

We also will pass through it together.

Anne Frank’s wish came true


AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands — Anne Frank wanted her words to outlive her

They have done so, but perhaps not in the manner the little girl ever thought.

There’s a museum on a street corner in downtown Amsterdam. Inside the museum is the girl’s house, where she lived with her mother, father and older sister.

The house was their prison. They had to hide there, inside where Anne Frank’s father, Otto, ran his business. They couldn’t go outdoors. They couldn’t be heard by anyone beyond the walls. They had built a bookshelf to hide the doorway where the family was hidden.

The house imprisoned them, but there were no bars.

Their imprisonment was due simply to their religion. They were Jews and Adolf Hitler had begun his genocide against them.

Anne Frank kept a diary. It has become the stuff of literary legend. It has been published in countless languages.

This German girl whose family fled to The Netherlands to escape the persecutors of Nazi Germany wrote of her life in “prison.” She wrote with stunning eloquence.

One of the most stunning elements of this exhibit lies in the silence that envelops it. All the scurrying, the noise, the hustle and bustle outside the walls of that place is lost the moment you walk inside. It reminds me mildly of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., where one can hear chatter right up to the moment you stand before The Wall; then it becomes something of a religious experience.

One gets the same sense of spirituality when walking through Anne Frank’s house.

She lived just 15 years on Earth. The Nazis from whom she and her family were hiding found her and her family eventually. They sent them to Auschwitz.

Only her father survived. Otto Frank lived until 1980, and only after retrieving his daughter’s diary and ensuring that it was published.

It is an astonishing exhibit to see up close. The courage of this girl has lived through the ages since her death.

My sense is that it will live forever.

I don’t know if Anne Frank knew she would die so soon after she wrote these words in her diary on April 5, 1944: ” When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived!” She died of typhus in February 1945.

It doesn’t matter, really, what she might have known.

This little girl should inspire all of us who have followed her.