جمعه نهم ژوئن 1944

کتاب: آن فرانک: خاطرات یک دختر جوان / فصل 80

آن فرانک: خاطرات یک دختر جوان

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جمعه نهم ژوئن 1944

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FRIDAY, JUNE 9, 1944

Dearest Kitty,

Great news of the invasion! The Allies have taken Bayeux, a village on the coast of France, and are now fighting for Caen. They’re clearly intending to cut off the peninsula where Cherbourg is located. Every evening the war correspondents report on the difficulties, the courage and the fighting spirit of the army. To get their stories, they pull off the most amazing feats. A few of the wounded who are already back in England also spoke on the radio.

Despite the miserable weather, the planes are flying dthgently back and forth. We heard over the BBC that Churchill wanted to land along with the troops on D Day, but Eisenhower and the other generals managed to talk him out of it. Just imagine, so much courage for such an old man he must be at least seventy! The excitement here has died down somewhat; still, we’re all hoping that the war will finally be over by the end of the year. It’s about time! Mrs. van Daan’s constant griping is unbearable; now that she can no longer drive us crazy with the invasion, she moans and groans all day about the bad weather.

If only we could plunk her down in the loft in a bucket of cold water! Everyone in the Annex except Mr. van Daan and Peter has read the Hunaarian Rhapsody trilogy, a biography of the composer, piano virtuoso and child prodigy Franz Liszt. It’s very interesting, though in my opinion there’s a bit too much emphasis on women; Liszt was not only the greatest and most famous pianist of his time, he was also the biggest womanizer, even at the age of seventy.

He had an affair with Countess Marie d’ Agoult, Princess Carolyne Sayn- Wittgenstein, the dancer Lola Montez, the pianist Agnes Kingworth, the pianist Sophie Menter, the Circassian princess Olga Janina, Baroness Olga Meyen- dorff, actress Lilla what’s-her-name, etc., etc., and there’s no end to it. Those parts of the book dealing with music and the other arts are much more interesting. Some of the people mentioned are Schumann, Clara Wieck, Hector Berlioz, Johannes Brahms, Beethoven, Joachim, Richard Wagner, Hans von Bulow, Anton Rubinstein, Frederic Chopin, Victor Hugo, Honore de Balzac, Hiller, Hummel, Czerny, Rossini, Cherubini, Paganini, Mendels- sohn, etc., etc.

Liszt appears to have been a decent man, very generous and modest, though exceptionally vain. He helped others, put art above all else, was extremely fond of cognac and women, couldn’t bear the sight of tears, was a gentleman, couldn’t refuse anyone a favor, wasn’t interested in money and cared about religious freedom and the world.

Yours, Anne M. Frank


TUESDAY, JUNE 13, 1944

Dearest Kit,

Another birthday has gone by, so I’m now fifteen. I received quite a few gifts: Springer’s five-volume art history book, a set of underwear, two belts, a handkerchief, two jars of yogurt, a jar of jam, two honey cookies (small), a botany book from Father and Mother, a gold bracelet from Margot, a sticker album from the van Daans, Biomalt and sweet peas from Dussel, candy from Miep, candy and notebooks from Bep, and the high point: the book Maria Theresa and three slices of full-cream cheese from Mr. Kugler. Peter gave me a lovely bouquet of peonies; the poor boy had put a lot of effort into finding a present, but nothing quite worked out.

The invasion is still going splendidly, in spite of the miserable weather-pouring rains, gale winds and high seas.

Yesterday Churchill, Smuts, Eisenhower and Arnold visited the French villages that the British have captured and liberated. Churchill was on a torpedo boat that shelled the coast. Uke many men, he doesn’t seem to know what fear is-an enviable trait!

From our position here in Fort Annex, it’s difficult to gauge the mood of the Dutch. No doubt many people are glad the idle (!) British have finally rolled up their sleeves and gotten down to work. Those who keep claim- ing they don’t want to be occupied by the British don’t realize how unfair they’re being. Their line of reasoning boils down to this: England must fight, struggle and sacri- fice its sons to liberate Holland and the other occupied countries.

After that the British shouldn’t remain in Hol- land: they should offer their most abject apologies to all the occupied countries, restore the Dutch East Indies to its rightful owner and then return, weakened and impoverished, to England. What a bunch of idiots. And yet, as I’ve already said, many Dutch people can be counted among their ranks. What would have become of Holland and its neighbors if England had signed a peace treaty with Germany, as it’s had ample opportunity to do? Holland would have become German, and that would have been the end of that!

All those Dutch people who still look down on the British, scoff at England and its government of old fogies, call the English cowards, yet hate the Germans, should be given a good shaking, the way you’d plump up a pillow. Maybe that would straighten out their jumbled brains!

Wishes, thoughts, accusations and reproaches are swirling around in my head. I’m not really as conceited as many people think; I know my various faults and shortcomings better than anyone else, but there’s one difference: I also know that I want to change, will change and already have changed greatly! Why is it, I often ask myself, that everyone still thinks I’m so pushy and such a know-it-all? Am I really so arrogant? Am I the one who’s so arrogant, or are they? It sounds crazy, I know, but I’m not going to cross out that last sentence, because it’s not as crazy as it seems.

Mrs. van Daan and Dussel, my two chief accusers, are known to be totally unintelligent and, not to put too fine a point on it, just plain “stupid”! Stupid people usually can’t bear it when others do something better than they do; the best examples of this are those two dummies, Mrs. van Daan and Dussel. Mrs. van D. thinks I’m stupid because I don’t suffer so much from this ailment as she does, she thinks I’m pushy because she’s even pushier, she thinks my dresses are too short because hers are even shorter, and she thinks I’m such a know-it-all because she talks twice as much as I do about topics she knows nothing about. The same goes for Dussel. But one of my favorite sayings is “Where there’s smoke there’s fire,” and I readily admit I’m a know-it-all.

What’s so difficult about my personality is that I scold and curse myself much more than anyone else does; if Mother adds her advice, the pile of sermons becomes so thick that I despair of ever getting through them. Then I talk back and start contradicting everyone until the old famthar Anne refrain inevitably crops up again: “No one understands me!”

This phrase is part of me, and as unlikely as it may seem, there’s a kernel of truth in it. Sometimes I’m so deeply buried under self-reproaches that I long for a word of comfort to help me dig myself out again. If only I had someone who took my feelings seriously. Alas, I haven’t yet found that person, so the search must go on.

I know you’re wondering about Peter, aren’t you, Kit? It’s true, Peter loves me, not as a girlfriend, but as a friend. His affection grows day by day, but some mysterious force is holding us back, and I don’t know what it is.

Sometimes I think my terrible longing for him was overexaggerated. But that’s not true, because if I’m unable to go to his room for a day or two, I long for him as desperately as I ever did. Peter is kind and good, and yet I can’t deny that he’s disappointed me in many ways. I especially don’t care for his dislike of religion, his table conversations and various things of that nature. Still, I’m firmly convinced that we’ll stick to our agreement never to quarrel. Peter is peace-loving, tolerant and extremely easygoing. He lets me say a lot of things to him that he’d never accept from his mother. He’s making a determined effort to remove the blots from his copybook and keep his affairs in order. Yet why does he hide his innermost self and never allow me access? Of course, he’s much more closed than I am, but I know from experience (even though I’m constantly being accused of knowing all there is to know in theory, but not in practice) that in time, even the most uncommunicative types will long as much, or even more, for someone to confide in.

Peter and I have both spent our contemplative years in the Annex. We often discuss the future, the past and the present, but as I’ve already told you, I miss the real thing, and yet I know it exists!

Is it because I haven’t been outdoors for so long that I’ve become so smitten with nature? I remember a time when a magnificent blue sky, chirping birds, moonlight and budding blossoms wouldn’t have captivated me. Things have changed since I came here. One night during the Pentecost holiday, for instance, when it was so hot, I struggled to keep my eyes open until eleven-thirty so I could get a good look at the moon, all on my own for once. Alas, my sacrifice was in vain, since there was too much glare and I couldn’t risk opening a window.

Another time, several months ago, I happened to be upstairs one night when the window was open. I didn’t go back down until it had to be closed again. The dark, rainy evening, the wind, the racing clouds, had me spellbound; it was the first time in a year and a half that I’d seen the night face-to-face. After that evening my longing to see it again was even greater than my fear of burglars, a dark rat-infested house or robberies.

I went downstairs all by myself and looked out the windows in the kitchen and private office. Many people think nature is beautiful, many people sleep from time to time under the starry sky, and many people in hospitals and prisons long for the day when they’ll be free to enjoy what nature has to offer. But few are as isolated and cut off as we are from dle joys of nature, which can be shared by rich and poor alike.

It’s not just my imagination-looking at dle sky, dle clouds, dle moon and dle stars really does make me feel calm and hopeful. It’s much better medicine than valerian or bromide. Nature makes me feel humble and ready to face every blow with courage!

As luck would have it, I’m only able-except for a few rare occasions-to view nature through dusty curtains tacked over dirt-caked windows; it takes dle pleasure out of looking. Nature is dle one thing for which dlere is no substitute!

One of dle many questions that have often bodlered me is why women have been, and still are, thought to be so inferior to men. It’s easy to say it’s unfair, but that’s not enough for me; I’d really like to know the reason for this great injustice!

Men presumably dominated women from the very beginning because of their greater physical strength; it’s men who earn a living, beget children and do as they please. . . Until recently, women silently went along willi this, which was stupid, since the longer it’s kept up, the more deeply entrenched it becomes. Fortunately, education, work and progress have opened women’s eyes. In many countries they’ve been granted equal rights; many people, mainly women, but also men, now realize how wrong it was to tolerate this state of affairs for so long. Modern women want the right to be completely independent!

But that’s not all. Women should be respected as well! Generally speaking, men are held in great esteem in all parts ofthe world, so why shouldn’t women have their share? Soldiers and war heroes are honored and commemorated, explorers are granted immortal fame, martyrs are revered, but how many people look upon women too as soldiers?

In the book Soldiers on the Home Front I was greatly struck by the fact that in childbirth alone, women commonly suffer more pain, illness and misery than any war hero ever does. And what’s her reward for enduring all that pain? She gets pushed aside when she’s disfigured by birth, her children soon leave, her beauty is gone.

Women, who struggle and suffer pain to ensure the continuation of the human race, make much tougher and more courageous soldiers than all those big-mouthed freedom-fighting heroes put together! I don’t mean to imply that women should stop having children; on the contrary, nature intended them to, and that’s the way it should be. What I condemn are our system of values and the men who don’t acknowledge how great, difficult, but ultimately beautiful women’s share in society is.

I agree completely with Paul de Kruif, the author of this book, when he says that men must learn that birth is no longer thought of as inevitable and unavoidable in those parts of the world we consider civthzed. It’s easy for men to talk-they don’t and never will have to bear the woes that women do! I believe that in the course of the next century the notion that it’s a woman’s duty to have children will change and make way for the respect and admiration of all women, who bear their burdens without complaint or a lot of pompous words!

Yours, Anne M. Frank

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