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The Only Existing Footage of Anne Frank

Recently a friend shared with me a short video clip called. “The Only Existing Video Footage of Anne Frank.” The video is only twenty seconds long. It gives the viewer a brief snap shot of a street in Amsterdam during 1941. It shows people walking down the street, a bicyclist, a couple who was just married. Then the camera pans upwards to a nondescript balcony. From the second the lens sets its sight on the balcony, one immediately recognizes the profile of this famous young girl. Anne Frank leans over the railing, then looks behind her as someone from within the house beckons her. Her unmistakable ringlets cascade as she looks down toward the street. She is not on the film for more than two seconds. This silent film clip is the only known footage of her.

She has become an icon, a cultural phenomena, an important bookend of an era full of the suffering and murder of countless Jewish families. Anne did not survive the war, in fact her father was the only survivor of the group that hid out in the secret annex. After being liberated, her father, Otto Frank, left Auschwitz in search of his family. Upon learning his wife has perished, he returned to Amsterdam with the hope of finding his two young daughters. He finds, of course, that they too have died. A friend gives him Anne’s writings and diary. Otto then works to fufill her one wish: to have her diary published.

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