This book was on my tbr for over a decade… I know! I bought it when I was around 12 years old and went on a school trip to the Netherlands and visited Anne Franks House, I’ve always been a bookworm so of course, I picked it up. However, I felt intimidated and honestly kind of scared by this intense topic. We had read Anne Frank’s diary in class, but reading this by myself felt like a task I couldn’t do just yet. So I left it, at the back of my bookshelves, for a decade. Then we come to me being more active within the online book community, the Bookternet as I hear Jessiethereader call it on YouTube (I love that phrase so much!), and I was actively going through and checking out all of the books I had on my tbr shelves (to be read). I found this one again, and now, age 21, I felt like I could tackle this concept so I picked it up. Now, this isn’t to say that you have to be a certain age to read this book, this was just my own personal experience (and the blurb made it look kinda scary, truth be told).
So, onto the book. As the front cover says, we follow the stories of 6 women who interacted with Anne in her last few months alive. What I didn’t realise from the outside of the book alone is that this is the work compiled for a documentary and that there was so much more gathered about the individual women in the research progress of this. They couldn’t use it at the time as the documentary focused on Anne alone, but Willy Lindwer couldn’t just let these stories sit untold when these women had something to say. And that is how this book came into being.
These stories range from deep and emotional, to factual and informative, with all the women having a variety of experiences within the different concentration camps used by the Nazis. These women all survived the Holocaust, and they tell the stories of both themselves and those who could not make it through. It is a very touching read and definitely made me appreciative of everything I have in my life, as well as worried about the current state of politics and racism. We cannot have a repeat of these events, and maybe, just maybe, more people being educated about what happened when the Nazi’s decided that their way was the only way can help to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.