پنجشنبه نوزدهم نوامبر سال 1942دوره: آن فرانک: خاطرات یک دختر جوان / درس 18
پنجشنبه نوزدهم نوامبر سال 1942
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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 1942
Just as we thought, Mr. Dussel is a very nice man. Of course he didn’t mind sharing a room with me; to be honest, I’m not exactly delighted at having a stranger use my things, but you have to make sacrifices for a good cause, and I’m glad I can make this small one. “If we can save even one of our friends, the rest doesn’t matter,” said Father, and he’s absolutely right. The first day Mr. Dussel was here, he asked me all sorts of questions-for example, what time the cleaning lady comes to the office, how we’ve arranged to use the washroom and when we’re allowed to go to the toilet. You may laugh, but these things aren’t so easy in a hiding place. During the daytime we can’t make any noise that might be heard downstairs, and when someone else is there, like the cleaning lady, we have to be extra careful. I patiently explained all this to Mr. Dussel, but I was surprised to see how slow he is to catch on. He asks everything twice and still can’t remember what you’ve told him.
Maybe he’s just confused by the sudden change and he’ll get over it. Otherwise, everything is going fine.
Mr. Dussel has told us much about the outside world we’ve missed for so long. He had sad news. Countless friends and acquaintances have been taken off to a dreadful fate. Night after night, green and gray military vehicles cruise the streets. They knock on every door, asking whether any Jews live there. If so, the whole family is immediately taken away. If not, they proceed to the next house. It’s impossible to escape their clutches unless you go into hiding. They often go around with lists, knocking only on those doors where they know there’s a big haul to be made. They frequently offer a bounty, so much per head. It’s like the slave hunts of the olden days. I don’t mean to make light ofthisj it’s much too tragic for that. In the evenings when it’s dark, I often see long lines of good, innocent people, accompanied by crying children, walking on and on, ordered about by a handful of men who bully and beat them until they nearly drop. No one is spared. The sick, the elderly, children, babies and pregnant women-all are marched to their death.
We’re so fortunate here, away from the turmoil. We wouldn’t have to give a moment’s thought to all this suffering if it weren’t for the fact that we’re so worried about those we hold dear, whom we can no longer help. I feel wicked sleeping in a warm bed, while somewhere out there my dearest friends are dropping from exhaustion or being knocked to the ground.
I get frightened myself when I think of close friends who are now at the mercy of the cruelest monsters ever to stalk the earth.
And all because they’re Jews.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 1942
We don’t really know how to react. Up to now very little news about the Jews had reached us here, and we thought it best to stay as cheerful as possible. Every now and then Miep used to mention what had happened to a friend, and Mother or Mrs. van Daan would start to cry, so she decided it was better not to say any more. But we bombarded Mr. Dussel with questions, and the stories he had to tell were so gruesome and dreadful that we can’t get them out of our heads. Once we’ve had time to digest the news, we’ll probably go back to our usual joking and teasing. It won’t do us or those outside any good if we continue to be as gloomy as we are now. And what would be the point of turning the Secret Annex into a Melancholy Annex?
No matter what I’m doing, I can’t help thinking about those who are gone. I catch myself laughing and remember that it’s a disgrace to be so cheerful. But am I supposed to spend the whole day crying? No, I can’t do that. This gloom will pass.
Added to this misery there’s another, but of a more personal nature, and it pales in comparison to the suffering I’ve just told you about. Still, I can’t help telling you that lately I’ve begun to feel deserted. I’m surrounded by too great a void. I never used to give it much thought, since my mind was filled with my friends and having a good time. Now I think either about unhappy things or about myself. It’s taken a while, but I’ve finally realized that Father, no matter how kind he may be, can’t take the place of my former world. When it comes to my feelings, Mother and Margot ceased to count long ago. But why do I bother you with this foolishness? I’m terribly ungrateful, Kitty, I know, but when I’ve been scolded for the umpteenth time and have all these other woes to think about as well, my head begins to reel!
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2g, 1942
We’ve been using too much electricity and have now exceeded our ration. The result: excessive economy and the prospect of having the electricity cut off. No light for fourteen days; that’s a pleasant thought, isn’t it? But who knows, maybe it won’t be so long! It’s too dark to read after four or four-thirty, so we while away the time with all kinds of crazy activities: telling riddles, doing calisthenics in the dark, speaking English or French, reviewing books-after a while everything gets boring. Yesterday I discovered a new pastime: using a good pair of binoculars to peek into the lighted rooms of the neighbors. During the day our curtains can’t be opened, not even an inch, but there’s no harm when it’s so dark.
I never knew that neighbors could be so interesting. Ours are, at any rate. I’ve come across a few at dinner, one family making home movies and the dentist across the way working on a frightened old lady.
Mr. Dussel, the man who was said to get along so well with children and to absolutely adore them, has turned out to be an old-fashioned disciplinarian and preacher of unbearably long sermons on manners. Since I have the singular pleasure (!) of sharing my far too narrow room with His Excellency, and since I’m generally considered to be the worst behaved of the three young people, it’s all I can do to avoid having the same old scoldings and admonitions repeatedly flung at my head and to pretend not to hear. This wouldn’t be so bad if Mr. Dussel weren’t such a tattletale and hadn’t singled out Mother to be the recipient of his reports. If Mr. Dussel’s just read me the riot act, Mother lectures me all over again, this time throwing the whole book at me. And if I’m really lucky, Mrs. van D. calls me to account five minutes later and lays down the law as well!
Really, it’s not easy being the badly brought-up center of attention of a family of nitpickers.
In bed at night, as I ponder my many sins and exaggerated shortcomings, I get so confused by the sheer amount of things I have to consider that I either laugh or cry, depending on my mood. Then I fall asleep with the strange feeling of wanting to be different than I am or being different than I want to be, or perhaps of behaving differently than I am or want to be.
Oh dear, now I’m confusing you too. Forgive me, but I don’t like crossing things out, and in these times of
scarcity, tossing away a piece of paper is clearly taboo. So I can only advise you not to reread the above passage and to make no attempt to get to the bottom of it, because you’ll never find your way out again!
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