Anne Frank: A writer’s birthday

Today, June 12 (1929), is Anne Frank’s birthday. Anne was a writer, so we know a lot about her.  Because she was a writer, Anne chose a diary as a gift for her 13th birthday. She chose it from a shop window with her father when it was still possible for the family to be out and about. They didn’t know that less than a month later (on July 6, 1942), they’d go into hiding and never go outdoors again—until they were eventually deported to concentration camps. The diary became a friend and a solace to Anne for more than two years when she lived in cramped quarters with her family and others, creeping about as silently as possible, so as not to betray their presence to anyone below.

Because Anne was a writer, millions of people know her story and care about her fate. We can feel the experiences of one Jewish family, persecuted for no reason. By extension, we can imagine the feelings of any group of people persecuted simply because of their identity. It’s a profound gift. Anne had no idea how important her story would be. Most of us can’t see the meaning in our own stories. 

Edit Schecter: A quiet hero’s birthday

Yesterday, June 11, was the birthday of Edit Schecter. I can’t tell you much about her. She wasn’t a writer. She worked with a Zionist Youth organization in Hungary during Word War II.  The group helped find shelter for Jews who fled Slovakia when the Nazis invaded. They smuggled Jews across the border.They forged identity cards and birth certificates to give people Christian identities. To be a Jew was a death sentence.  All of these activities were illegal and many members of the group were arrested. Edit survived. We don’t know any details of her story. But we remember and honor her by making her portrait in The Memory Project Productions Face-to-Face workshops so people can be inspired by her quiet heroism. (Links to her portraits and story below.)

I’m a lapsed writer. I stopped because when I got to college I felt there was nothing more mundane than my middle-class life in suburban Long Island. I never handed in a single assignment and flunked the class. I abandoned creative writing for forty years. Now I want to write again. After ten years working with Holocaust stories and contemporary people’s stories of life-changing events, and after my own 61 years of life, I finally think I have something to say. I hope you’ll come along for the ride. And if you want to write, write!

Link to Edit Schecter portraits throughout June 2018

Link after June

June 12, 2018 would have been Anne Frank’s  89th birthday. Learn more about her life from the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam.


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