فصل 23

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فصل 23

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CHAPTER TWENTY THREE

Tuesday, 11 April 1944

I don’t know where to start - so much has happened. Thursday, when I wrote to you, everything was as usual. Friday and Saturday too. Then on Sunday evening at nine-thirty, Peter knocked at our door. He asked Father to come upstairs and help him with some English words. But I didn’t believe him.

‘That’s strange,’ I said to Margot. ‘I think we’ve got burglars.’

I was right. They were breaking into the warehouse at that moment. Father, Mr van Daan and Peter went downstairs as quickly as possible. Margot, Mother, Mrs van Daan and I waited. Four frightened women need to talk, so that’s what we did. Then we heard a loud noise, but nobody came back until ten o’clock.

Father looked quite white when he came in to us. ‘Lights out, and get upstairs quietly! The police will be here soon!’

The men went back downstairs, so we still didn’t know what had happened. But ten minutes later they were back. They told us that burglars broke down the warehouse door and that Mr van Daan had shouted ‘Police!’ They tried to put the door back, but the burglars kicked it down again. Then a man and a woman on the street shone a lamp in from the street. (We later found out that this was Mr van Hoeven, the man who brings us potatoes, and his wife.) We waited and waited in the dark until after eleven o’clock. Then there was more noise downstairs, and finally someone tried to move the bookcase. We were so frightened. I thought the police were going to take us away. But then the person went away, and the house was quiet. We had to stay quiet all night too, and use a large tin for a toilet. We tried to sleep on the floor.

‘We should hide the radio!’ said Mrs van Daan.

‘If they find us, it doesn’t matter if they find the radio too,’ answered Mr van Daan.

‘Then they’ll find Anne’s diary as well,’ said my father.

‘So we should burn it!’ suggested someone.

Oh, not my diary! If my diary goes, I go too! But fortunately, nothing was done.

At seven, we rang Mr Kleinian, and at last Jan and Miep arrived. They had to go off again to the police to inform them about the burglars, so we had half an hour to tidy up the house and get everything straight. It was an awful smelly mess!

We were in terrible danger that night. Just think, the police were by the bookcase, but they didn’t find us. God was truly watching over us. ‘You have saved us, please save us in the future!’ That’s what our prayer is now.

From now on, we must be more careful too. Dussel will do his work in the bathroom, and Peter will walk round the house between eight-thirty and nine-thirty every evening. Somebody noticed that Peter’s window was open, so he must keep it shut now.

It has reminded us that we are Jews, and that we must live like prisoners. We must forget our personal feelings and be brave and strong. One day this terrible war will be over. The time will come when we’ll be people again and not just Jews!

Who has made us suffer like this? Who has separated us from all the other people? God has made us like this, but God will lift us up again. Perhaps afterwards, if there are any Jews left, our suffering will teach people something. Perhaps they will learn something about goodness, and this is why we have to suffer. We can never be just Dutch, or just English - we will always be Jews as well.

Be brave! There will be a way out. God has always looked after us. All through history, Jews have had to suffer, but there are still Jews, and the suffering has made us stronger.

I thought that I was going to die that night. I waited for death like a soldier. But now that I’m still alive, I want to stay in Holland after the war. I love the Dutch, I love this country, I love the language. I want to work here.

If God lets me live, I will do more than Mother ever did. I want my voice to be heard! I’ll go out into the world and work for all human beings!

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