the key to the anne frank mystery – The Times Hub

Posted By on January 24, 2022

Home Entertainment the key to the anne frank mystery January 21, 2022

Manuel P. VillatoroFOLLOW, CONTINUE

Updated:21/01/2022 02:41h


mario escobar could not imagine that his new novel, Childrens house (Editions B) was going to be so fashionable these days. In full effervescence of the figure of Anne Frank after it has been revealed who was the traitor who handed her over, the prolific historian a Stakhanovist of letters presents a book that recounts the adventures of a Sephardic Jewess who saved more than six hundred children in Nazi-dominated Holland. True facts to which I apply some fiction, as he reveals. The work runs through the same streets that the most famous girl of the Second World War stepped on. And not only that; It also discusses the importance of the Jewish Council, which these days has risen to fame for being a key player in the Vince Pankoke investigation.

I like to talk about these issues because the public who is interested in Anne Frank will find in my novel a story of overcoming many similarities, he explains to ABC.

Are you a supporter of the theory that solves the mystery of Anne Frank?

I think there are many others that may be valid. There is another older one that talks about a friend who knew her from before she locked herself up. And another that explains that the family was seen through the only window of the hideout. It is difficult to know because most of the SS reports on the Jewish archives in Amsterdam were destroyed. The Germans thought that the city was going to be conquered. In any case, we must wait.

Why did the character of Anne Frank become so important?

Anne Frank became a personalization of the Holocaust. One of the problems with the systematic killing of Jews is that we tend to approach it from a statistical perspective. This girl, with her diary, put a face to the persecution in Germany and the Netherlands. The sad thing is, if he had held out a little longer, he would have survived because the Allies were about to hit the field. At least the diaries came to light thanks to his father. At first he did not want to make them known because there were parts that spoke of his sexual awakening, but in the end he decided.

What was the Jewish Council that is talked about so much these days?

A body that was chosen by the Nazis themselves. It was formed, forced, by the most important people in the city. Its mission was to concentrate the registration of Jews from all over Holland, make them go to Amsterdam and take them to the Westerbork transit camp. What must be clear is that they collaborated because they had no other choice, but they did not agree with the Nazis. It was that or die. They knew that Hitler would kill people, but that it would not be an extermination. They could not imagine what they had in store for the Jews.

Do you find it strange that the new investigation into Anne Frank uses as its cornerstone lists of places where Jews were hiding that the Council allegedly had?

Is rare. In the case that I know of, that of the Pimentel nursery, they never informed the Jewish Council. They could have said they were saving children, but they didnt because they knew they were collaborating with the Nazis. His maxim was that no one find out because that protected them and helped the children to meet their parents. There were many hunters of Jews, and it was dangerous to make known what was being done.

Why such a big hunt for Dutch Jews?

The Dutch Nazi party put a price on the head of the Jews. Economic rewards were given to civilians in return. That made many people rat on their neighbors to get some money at a time when there was a brutal crisis. On the other hand, the Dutch Jews had money and many inhabitants tricked them into hiding them in their houses, handing them over and keeping their possessions. Hunting was sadly a very lucrative thing. There was even a mobster who had lived in North America and who used criminal techniques to trap refugees.

Lets get into the novel. Spanish Sephardim in the Netherlands

The Sephardim, after the expulsion by the Catholic Monarchs, went mostly to Portugal, France and North Africa. It is logical because they thought it was going to be something provisional, as had happened other times. But it didnt last. On the one hand, the Portuguese and Gallic monarchs also expelled them from their territories; on the other, the Muslims persecuted them because they saw them as Christians. Most of those who had to leave the Peninsula then went to the Netherlands because of their relationship with the Portuguese kings.

How was the evolution of this community in the Netherlands?

Most settled in Antwerp and Amsterdam. The second city, in fact, was one of the most respectful towards foreigners. Already in the 17th century they began to allow them to exercise any type of profession, organize their communities in a semi-dependent way that is why the Jewish Committee was created~ and build their own temples. That is why it has one of the largest synagogues in Europe. Interestingly, the Sephardic community was very important here. They stood out for their experience in jewelry and trade thanks to their connections with the Americas. This made it easier, being a minority group which reached 4,000 at its peak, it could have great economic influence in the kingdom. They were great patrons, lenders to kings And they never lost their Spanish identity. They always saw the king as theirs and, until the arrival of the Nazis, they published a newspaper in Spanish with news from the Peninsula.

Did they keep their traditions?

Jewish Castilian was heard in the streets of Amsterdam, the recipes kept from the time on the Peninsula were smelled and romance songs were sung. Going through his neighborhood and feeling that there was a part of Spain there must have been exciting. This is what I wanted to convey in the novel.

Ana Frank ABC

I understand that, by the surname, one of the protagonists is Spanish

Yes. Pimentel came from a Malaga family that tried to withstand the pressure until the 17th century. They then decided to move to Amsterdam. His father was a diamond polisher. She was a woman ahead of her time who was allowed to study pedagogy at the university. Soon she became in charge of directing one of the most important Jewish schools in the city at the nursery and primary level. She was recently recognized for her schoolwork in the Netherlands. He knew how to speak Spanish and had that Castilian culture in his DNA.

Lets go with World War II. How was the invasion of the Netherlands?

The Netherlands had declared itself neutral in World War I. Therefore, there was no idea of revenge that Hitler did have with Poland or France. The government did the same in 1939 and hoped that the Reich would bypass them. They always harbored the hope of not being invaded; to such an extent that they did not organize any defense plan. Their pacifist tradition endorsed them. When the Nazis invaded Holland, Blitzkrieg caught them by surprise. They tried to resist, but they were intimidated by bombings like the ones in Rotterdam. That made the monarch give up.

And the Nazi policy with the country?

It was smooth. From 1941 Hitler avoided repressing society and tried to turn it into a Nazi because they were convinced of its Aryan origin. With the Jews something different happened and, that same year, there were the first arrests. What is surprising is that the Dutch people went on a general strike when they learned that 2,000 Semites had been taken to camps; it was one of the few countries where it happened. That surprised a Reich that did not want to keep troops in the country because they needed them to march on the USSR. Although in the end they ended up giving up due to the white glove treatment of the Reich. They assumed the conquest to such an extent that the Netherlands was one of the states that gave the most volunteers to the Germans in World War II.

How many Jews were in the country?

Some 160,000, 25,000 of them of German origin. It was the country in which the most Jews were murdered in relative numbers: more than 70%. To such an extent that only about 30,000 survived, and thanks to the help of people who hid them. In France, in return, 50% died; and in Denmark, 10%. The same thing happened with the Sephardim: they were exterminated and only 800 remained. The reality is that the Dutch people ended up abandoning that resistance they had had.

Did the theater that acted as a registration point for the ghetto Jews really exist?

Its true. When the Jews began to concentrate, several registration points were set up in the city. They were temporary prisons to take them to Westerbock, the main concentration camp in the country. One of them was a theater that was in the Jewish quarter. Being in the ghetto made it easy for the Nazis. They put in command Walter Sskind, a German Jew with a Dutch father who had been the director of a butter company. This happened a lot: they did not put a Nazi, but a local businessman to try to reassure the population. He accepted because he knew he could try to do something for the inmates.

Walter Sskind

How did Sskind start saving children?

When the special envoy for the registration of all Jews in Holland arrived, a convinced Nazi, they discovered that they had been classmates in a small border town. That empathy was used by Sskind to deceive him. Walter and one of his secretaries noticed that the Germans were leaving the registration to the Jews. In practice, this meant that children could be removed from the list without their knowledge.

Where were they sent?

Walter saw the long queues in front of the theater and that families spent weeks sitting in the seats without hygienic measures, and he knew how to use it to his advantage. He convinced the director of the SS in The Hague that the youngest children be temporarily sent to a nursery across the street. It was the one that ran Pimentel. Putting them in kept them out of sight of the Nazis and gave them a chance to get them out.

How did they get them out of the system?

Thanks to a third coincidence. Wall to wall with the nursery was a Protestant school run by Johan van Hulst, a very young pedagogue who had just entered the post. When he saw the situation he spoke with Pimentel. They devised a simple plan: pass the children through a wall and they were taken out by the teacher in a thousand ways. In backpacks, in shopping carts If they were older pretending to be someones children Thats how they saved some 600 people.

What did they do with them?

Most of the children they could save were blond and Aryan-looking. They were integrated, through resistance groups, into families located in the outskirts and willing to collaborate. They said they were boys who came from the big cities fleeing the war.

Was anyone suspected?

Yes. There was pressure for the children to be annihilated in the extermination camps. That made him want to speed up the process. The SS investigated the nursery but, finding no evidence, took Pimentel and the remaining children to an extermination camp. What happened with them and with the rest of the protagonists was narrated in the novel.

How was the Dutch resistance?

It was even smaller than the French one. It is true that the country is more urban, which made it difficult for the partisans to hide. There were also elements that prevented it, such as local agents who infiltrated it to blow it up. Something could be done with arms shipments, but what demonstrates its scant effectiveness is that it was the last country in Europe to be liberated. What there was was a lot of passive resistance like that of Pimentel, people who fought daily to save prisoners.

How would you define the Netherlands?

There was a very collaborationist minority, a large passive majority and a small minority that resisted. Almost everyone adapted to the circumstances. In the end, the Germans only needed a tiny number of people to make the country work. The rest just stayed out of trouble and waited for the Nazis to be shot down.

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