Saturday, May 3, 2008

Anne Frank inspires...

Throughout time parents have lost children. Most of these parents want to have their children remembered, want to talk about their children and want others to know them as they knew them.

One such father and now famous daughter is Otto Frank and his daughter Anne. The Jewish family fled to Amsterdam, Holland, at the start of WWII, lived there until one day they either had to go into hiding or be caught and sent to concentration camps. They chose hiding and lived in the annex of Otto Franks office building for two years before they were betrayed. All went to concentration camps, but only Anne's father survived. Anne died a month before liberation. After returning to Holland, Otto Frank was given Anne's diary that she had kept during that period. It was found by friends. After reading the intermost thoughts and feelings of Anne from ideas and beliefs on happiness, courage, giving, goodness, freedom and usefulness, he realized there was much he didn't know or understand about her, particularly under the circumstances they lived. Do we ever really know our children? He decided to share her gift of writing and wisdom with the world. The book, "The Diary of Anne Frank" is now the second most read book in the world next to the bible.

For the fourth time I toured the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, Holland, last week. The stairs and the hidden bookcase leading to the secret rooms used by the Frank family are still in place as are some pictures on the walls. It is both an emotionally moving and educational journey to go there, but most importantly, it is simply the story of a parent who lost a child and did not want his child to be forgotten.

I, too, feel this way, as I'm sure most parents do who have lost children. I now have a book that includes my daughter's story. Although it is written from the parent's perspective, not the child's, it was as important for me to tell my story as it was for Otto Frank to let the world learn about Anne.

I have set up memorials, foundations and remembrances for my daughter, Marcy, as Otto Frank has for his daughter Anne. Parents do not differ in the feelings they have for their child, but one thing is certain: building some type of memorial for your child whether they become famous or not will help them to live on in your heart and in others' hearts forever.

To read more about Anne Frank go to: . You can learn about the various memorials and foundations started by Otto Frank and even place a leaf on Anne's tree, the one she was able to see from the attic window looking towards the sky.

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