The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank
By: Willy Lindwer
Reviewed By: Shannon Day (about the author) (back to main page)
In The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank, Willy Lindwer presents the transcripts of six in-depth interviews with women who survived the Holocaust that he used to create a documentary film. Some of these women knew Anne and her family as children, and some first met Anne and her mother and sister in camps. They all spent time with her during the last seven months of her life, so their interviews situate Anne in their own personal experiences during the time. These women survived the concentration camps and their fears of death by having courage and by remembering that they too were people who deserved to live.
Most people only know about what they have read in Anne’s diary, which ends when she was forced out of the attic in August of 1944, but Lindwer’s book continues Anne’s story so people can learn what happened after her final diary entry. After their arrest, the Frank family was transferred to a prison and were then transported to the Westerbork detention camp in Drente where they were kept in disciplinary barracks for a month. They were brought to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp on September 5, 1944, where the Frank women were separated from Anne’s father, Otto. This is where Anne’s mother, Edith, eventually died. Anne and her sister, Margot, were finally sent to the Bergen-Belsen camp where they died of typhus, just weeks before the British liberation. As someone who has read The Diary of Anne Frank, I was moved because obviously Anne couldn’t finish her story, but these women do. They have helped to carry on the legacy that Anne herself started but sadly couldn’t finish. It is sad to think that these women who knew her survived, but that Anne didn’t. It is also very powerful to hear about the courage that these six women had during a time when most people felt utterly hopeless. It’s difficult to think about what they must have gone through, but their descriptions are so vivid it is hard not to. Finally, the pictures in this book are very interesting, and it adds a lot to the interviews to be able to match the words with a face.