Monday, June 1, 2015

June Reading Theme - Anne Frank/the Holocaust

For this June, I decided to have a reading theme, and I chose Anne Frank for many reasons. Most importantly, I have read her diary countless times beginning in childhood, when it had a profound effect on me and led to me reading about and studying the Holocaust. I realized I haven't re-read the diary in the past several years, so it seemed like a good time to revisit it. I chose June in particular because Anne was born in June (June 12, 1929 to be exact), so it seemed like a fitting way to remember her during her birth month.

Another reason I chose her as this month's theme was that it's long been my ambition to read her diary in the original Dutch, ever since I was able to purchase the Dutch version on a trip to Amsterdam during which I was lucky enough to visit the Anne Frank House, the actual "achterhuis" in which Anne and her family and 4 other people hid from the Nazis, many years ago. At the time I knew maybe 2 words in Dutch, but now thanks to a class and some confidence gained through the Language Freak Summer Challenge, I feel like I can muddle through the diary in Dutch. In addition, since I know it fairly well in general, that will help my comprehension. Yet another reason was that I also happen to have a copy of the diary in French (it was a gift that I am still very thankful for), but I never had enough confidence in my ability to read it to actually sit down and do so. Of course I regret my lack of self-discipline and self-confidence thus far, so I want to stop making excuses and realize this goal after having it in mind for a couple decades now (gulp).

So my reading plan is this: I will read an entry in Dutch, then read the same entry in French, and then read the same entry in English. Read-alongs seem to work very well in terms of comprehension. And this time, as I mentioned, I have my past history with this book, which will really help comprehension.

I know that people sometimes criticize those who uses Anne as a symbol of the Holocaust; they claim this takes away from the six million who were systematically murdered by the Nazis, and etc. I understand what these critics are saying, but as I mentioned before, reading about Anne led me to read about the Holocaust in general, and to read many stories of other people who were victims, or who helped the Jews, as well as histories of specific camps, etc. So while I do not claim to be a scholar on the subject, I like to think that I have a reasonable amount of knowledge. My reading list for this month includes books that are about the Holocaust and that don't center on Anne, too. If you know of a book that fits this theme that you would like to recommend to me, please leave a comment, I would love to hear from you!

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