My Friend Anne Frank
The Inspiring and Heartbreaking True Story of Best Friends Torn Apart and Reunited Against All Odds
by Hannah Pick-Goslar
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Pub Date 8 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 31 Aug 2023
THE LONG-AWAITED, MOVING MEMOIR OF HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR HANNAH PICK-GOSLAR.
'Heartbreaking and life-affirming' - Edith Eger, bestselling author of The Choice
'An extraordinary story of love, loss and the power of friendship in the darkest time.' - Jack Fairweather, Costa prizewinning author of The Volunteer
When five-year-old Hannah Pick-Goslar and her family fled Nazi Germany to live in Amsterdam, she soon struck up a friendship with a precocious, outspoken and fun-loving girl named Anne Frank. For several blissful years, the girls were inseparable, enjoying carefree childhood games and sleepovers in their neighbourhood of Rivierenbuurt.
Then, one day in 1942, two best friends' lives were about to change for ever. As the Nazi occupation intensified, Anne and the Frank family vanished. As Hannah puzzled over the fate of her friend, hoping she was safe, her own family's fate began to unfold: they were captured and taken to Westerbork transit camp, before being transported to Bergen-Belsen.
Amid horrific conditions and surrounded by death, Hannah heard astonishing news about her dear friend and risked her life to help her.
'As a girl I witnessed the world I loved crumble and vanish, destroyed by senseless hatred, and with it, my best friend Anne.'
In an incredible memoir of hope, strength and defiance, Hannah's story of survival is testament to the enduring power of friendship, love and remembering.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 44 members
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to be an ARC for 'My Friend Anne Frank'. What an amazing real life story beautifully told and how sad to hear Hannah passed away peacefully in October 2022. The story of her early friendship with Anne Frank and the diverse ways their lives went is well told. The volume of murders and the barbaric treatment of the Jewish people is well known but also excellently described in this book. The statistics through the book and at the end make poignant reminders of the horrendous atrocities. Thoroughly recommend purchase of this book.
Could there be a more poignant and important memoir than this one, other than Anne Frank's herself? Especially as it turns out that Hannah passed away in October 2022.
To get the chance to read about two remarkable women as girls, as just friends, before they were who they were, is just amazing.
I'm always impressed when someone can remember the goings-on of their childhood. I know there was a lot going on and you tend to remember the difficult times, but I can barely remember ten minutes ago let alone ninety odd years!
It doesn't matter how many books about the war and the Holocaust I read, there will never be too many. Every single person's story deserves to be told and deserves to be heard and this is right up there.
Hannah explains early on that Anne Frank's first name was actually pronounced Anna - her full name was Annelies. This may not be a big thing, almost negligible, easy to gloss over. But I think if we're going to remember this remarkable girl, I think we need to be pronouncing her name correctly. "Anna" Frank.
I know a fair bit about WW2, or as much as was taught at school and that you learn as you get older, but to read about it from, not only the perspective of someone who was there, but from a child...it serves as a terrible reminder that this was happening by real people to real people, and not that long ago, historically.
Even though I have a copy, I've always been a bit on the fence about whether Anne's diary should have been published, especially as she was so secretive about it during her life. But I feel the importance of it has outweighed the negatives. And I think this book can be put on the same pedestal, which is nice to think about for the two childhood friends.
My general rule is I only read happy or uplifting books in bed. And I couldn't exactly say this book was happy. Yes there were happier moments, but in a book about WW2, unsurprisingly, it was quite hard reading. But I couldn't' bear to put it down at the end of the evening. It felt too much like an insult. And so I stayed up until I could no longer keep my eyes open, trying to absorb this unbelievable story.
At times I even forgot it was a true story, trying to fathom how someone's imagination could come up with it, and then of course, there's the stark reminder that it was unimaginable.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that I cried reading this. At the horrors of war but also the horrors closer to home, the devastation of families and friendships.
What I find absolutely beautiful but heartbreaking is how positive these people can be when they've literally been through hell and back. The power of the human spirit.
A lot of war books tend to only focus on that six year period, and lots of survivors don't like to dwell on their memories. But we see what happened post-war to Hannah and I think that's as important. It shows that there is hope in any situation and we must remember that during turbulent times.
At the end, Dina has provided little bits about the friends mentioned in the book. Who survived and who did not. And I think this is of immense importance to their memories.