May 09
Lorraine Berry lives in the Fingerlakes region of New York, although it's her transplanted home. On weekends, she can be heard throughout the area, cheering on her beloved Manchester City F.C. When not writing at Does This Make Sense? or Talking Writing, she can be found hiking with her two dogs, hanging out with her two daughters, eating what her beloved Rob has cooked for her, or teaching creative writing at a small college in the area.


Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 2, 2009 7:29AM

The Girl in the Window: Anne Frank video surfaces

Rate: 82 Flag



Ha'aretz, the Israeli newspaper, is showing remarkable footage today. The Frank House, in Amsterdam, has realeased this short 20-second video snippet from the life of Anne Frank. The video was shot approximately a year before Frank and her family went into hiding. 

From her window, Anne looks down as a wedding couple emerges. She looks back at someone in the room, and we see her smile.  Perhaps her mother has asked her what she is seeing, or whether the bride looks pretty. The mundane conversations of an ordinary life. 

Looking, for just a moment, at that happy girl, my heart fills. And then, I feel a chill move across my rib cage. 

I know what's coming for Anne. 

But, on that bright day, with a couple beginning a new life, Anne must have thought that life was grand, the world outside held all sorts of fascinations, and it was good to be alive. 

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For some reason, I seem to recall seeing this video many years ago. And yes, it is chilling to see it again, knowing what followed.
Horribly chilling - especially when you think about the hell that was Bergen-Belsen. Rated with sadness.
I went to the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam in 1993.

How bittersweet to see her joy and energy on this day and know what is coming her way.
Cartouche--I wonder, did you see this at the museum?
Cymraeg--Yes. Chills.
littlewillie--I'd like to hear about that experience.
mamoore--life is like that, isn't it? Like looking at old snapshots and then remembering what happened in your life afterward.
It all looks so ordinary. So mundane. So safe.

So chilling.
This looks familiar to me, too. I'm wondering if I saw it in Amsterdam.

Thanks for posting this.
Remarkable footage. Where has it been kept all these years?
Sad and oh so chilling indeed. rAted!
News reports are stating it was available to those who visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, and in documentary films; it just wasn't available to the general public until now. That would explain why some of us have seen it already.
Made me cry. My heart wants to tell her to come and be safe. Yeah, I know it's stupid....
Baww. We'd better green-light Israel's attack on Iran, then. And forget about all that Goldstone Report nonsense. And, golly, Israel can go ahead and exterminate all the remaining Palestinians.

I went to the Anne Frank Museum in 1985. Sad.

But what a public relations goldmine! You wouldn't know propaganda if it walked up to you and asked to borrow your credit cards.
I visited the Anne Frank museum quite a few years ago, but don't recall seeing this. It really is very moving footage.
Interesting. The calm before the storm.
Thanks for making it clear where some of you have seen it before.
I assume that the Anne Frank material is being released to YouTube now for several reasons, not the least of which is that it's the 80th anniversary of her birth.
Thank G-d we don't know what the future holds in store.

I have to wonder, also, how many other twenty-second snippets of happiness and joy she had after that. Did they make up for the other stuff? Make it more bearable?

Amazing how a little twenty second video can raise so many questions, stir so much emotion.
Beautiful, thought provoking post. I suppose we all could have our "20 second videos" shown and get a before and after response at some point in our lives. I, too, am glad I don't know the future events of my life. Just one day at a time for me.
Anne Frank is the "face" of the Holocaust for many - and seeing this makes me think of all of those, throughout history, including now, who had/have these everyday moments . . . until they don't. It's humanity of it all that is so chilling, and sometimes so crushing. Thanks for posting this.
Wow! Unbelievably sad after the initial shock.
I literally shivered; it's like (sorry to be mundane) "Flashforward" only we know the future and she doesn't.

@Gordon: Your comments bear absolutely no relationship to the post.
Upon further reflection, I deleted my comment to Gordon. Those who know me, know my politics. I'm not in the mood to fight.
Wow! Thank you so much for sharing that! I have read everything on Anne Frank that I could find over the years! Awesome to see any footage of her!
Such a bittersweet post.

@Gordon, many of us (including me) have seen this footage before. If it was propaganda, what good is it to show a video that people have seen before?
It is sad but how remarkable we can feel that way after so many years since her death...there are others in that video that may have had the same end or worse, but they are nameless. We know about her and care about her because of what she left of herself. Never doubt the power of written word.
Amazing how, in 20 short seconds, one's eyes can become so filled with tears. Thanks so much for posting this.
In my twenties I traveled in Europe. Went to Amsterdam and toured the "Anne Frank" house and got so caught up in the museum that, somehow, had put out of my mind the conclusion. When I came upon the black and white, written notice of Anne's fate it was like a punch in the stomach. It must happen often to people because right there, was a good supply of Kleenex. I used more than my share. Like the old folksong says, "When will we ever learn?"
that face. that poor child. what she endured. I can't stop clicking on that video. her gentle child face so far away.
I can't see the video because I'm at work. But I got a chill just reading about it. Thinking about it. I've read so much on Anne Frank. Her story has never left me. How could it?
I shudder to think what an empty, gaping, howling void lives inside Gordon, that he could view something like this without a twinge of ... anything, except bile.

Banality of evil, indeed.
A great smile! And the wedding couple, the new buildings, automobiles, everything looked so modern and progressive. What a powerful image of the era, and an eerie prelude of what was to follow. Rated
Thank you must look up this link,rated
The film looks like it's from another an over 40 person, I can relate to the images because they remind me of family photos of moms/grandmas. (Doesn't hurt that I was a history major, either.)
But I can't help thinking that teenagers today would view a clip like this and just say, "meh, that was so long ago - what does that have to do with anything?"

Some enterprising filmmaker needs to remake the AF story for today's kids.
Has anyone checked into whether this is real? The technology at the time seems far better than some footage I see today.

However even if it is not real it could have been so. That is the important point. RTD
I suddenly imagined that maybe there are more ghosts from the Holocaust on this video; Anne is remembered, but maybe the neighbours next door, the people who are walking down the street on the video, also died under the same circumstances and almost nobody remembers them...
more information about the YouTube video project:
@Gordon: at what point does your obsession with Jews end? You can't even let a moment having nothing -- NOTHING -- to with with Israel pass if it involves a statement of sympathy for a Jewish girl -- who died years before there even *was* an Israel -- without using it as an opportunity to flog your own personal demons. No one on this post said anything about Israel until *you* brought it up.

You're really a pig, Gordon. A damn pig.
Like others, I saw the video and some stills made from it in Amsterdam and in Israel at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial. The footage has been digitally cleaned up from the grainier images I remember, but it's real. And I still have chills.
We tend to think about the holocaust in isolation--separate from what came before and what came after, and it's important to see films like this that show us that the world for Anne Frank and the Jews and non-Jews destroyed by the war was an ordinary place.

My parents were in their late teens when the Nazis invaded Poland. Before that day, they always felt that life would just be simply life. That they would live ordinary lives like their parents lived, but life was never ordinary again.

The Nazis and all the people who collaborated with them brought an evil into the world that never allowed the world to be an ordinary place again.

We all discovered that evil could be ordinary too.
Very sad indeed, to think of such a promising young life, murdered before she got a chance to blossom. Those of good conscience all around the world, those who say "Never Again," have wasted Anne's chance to make a difference in the world if we ONLY mourn her - and do not let her story spur us to action.

We must speak out against all who despoil her memory by commiting violence against children. Not least to speak out against the actions of the Jewish state - established in memory of Anne and those who died with her - this Jewish state that murdered over three hundred young children in Gaza this year alone.
"Whole families were killed; parents saw their children shot before their very eyes; relatives watched their loved ones bleed to death; and entire neighborhoods were obliterated."

To honor the memory of Anne Frank - who believed that people were "good at heart" - we must join the ranks of those like B'Tselem, a Jewish human rights group, and protect the lives of EVERY human soul.

Far from being "off topic," the fate of the Palestinians is inextricably bound with the story of Anne Frank. Palestinian homes and land and lives destroyed, in order to give safe haven to the Jews fleeing their own destruction.

A great and terrible irony and tragedy. Never again!
Amazing. I had never seen it before.
Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for this. I'm sorry that some chose to sully this poignant post with inappropriate comments.
I highly recommend reading John Guzlowski's blog and I would love to hear from others about their trips to the Anne Frank museum, haivng never been there myself.
Thank you for posting this at OS. Her shining girlhood vs. the horror that came after--there is no greater contrast in the world.
Thank you for this, Lorraine. Hard to fathom sometimes how life can change on a dime and we can do nothing about it. Better I think that we do not know in advance what lies ahead.

A reminder to cherish each mundane moment, because you never know.

Thanks for sharing this.
In a few brief years the world was changed forever. Anne was a witness to history and a reluctant participant as well. May she rest in piece.
There's a reason you may think you have seen this clip before. It was included in the 1996 film Anne Frank Remembered. I quote from Roger Ebert's review:
"In thefilm's most extraordinary discovery, we see the only existing film footage ofAnne Frank, taken one day in 1941, before the Franks went into hiding. There isa wedding party in the street below, and from her window on the third floor, ayoung girl looks out, smiles, and then turns away. Anne Frank."
I may know why this video looks so familiar to everyone. I don't know how long the entire video has been available in the public realm, but one of the "frames" that clearly shows Anne looking out the window was presented as a still photo in a book written by Miep Gies, about 20 years ago. I believe the title is "Anne Frank Remembered", and it is actually categorized as the autobiography of Miep Gies, not as a biography of Anne Frank, or a commentary on the diary. I still have that book-and I took a quick look-the "photo" in it is definitely from the video. Ms. Gies has been involved in other books-I have another more recent book that is authored by someone who interviewed Ms. Gies. But it is the older book, from the 1980's, with Miep Gies listed as the author, that has the photo. It is an excellent book in its own rite-it starts with Miep's childhood in Vienna, how she ended up living in Holland, and how she first encountered the Frank family. Once you arrive at the section where Mrs. Gies' life begins to intersect with the Frank family, on through the "secret annexe"years, it does sort of follow the chronology of events as we know them from Anne's diary. For example, Anne mentions the arrest of a grocer that had been providing additional food-but all we hear from Anne is about the resulting food shortages in the annexe, not how the grocer managed to provide the additonal food, was he aware that he was feeding people in hiding, etc. Miep is able to enlighten us on these events-including how many people actually relied on that grocer (there were a lot-most of them also in hiding), and Miep's efforts to locate a replacement for the source of food-and the book also explains where the additional ration books came from-Miep's husband Jan was "making" them. Also, the book is written from a very different perspective-not just the obvious ones-like being able to go outside--but a more "adult" view-Mrs. Gies' book was the first book about Anne Frank that I read after the diary-I know there is a multitude of books available now, and I have read some of them. However, I think the reason I still count Mrs. Gies' book as one of the more engaging and informative sources is that it was my first opportunity to examine the events from the point of view of the adults involved. While it is obvious in the diary that Anne is aware of the danger that her family is in, as well as the risks that their "protectors" are taking, I doubt she was included in the discussions that the adults had to be having regarding security and such. Even though Anne's diary shows a depth and maturity not possesed by all teenagers, she was, after all, just a "young girl", and her parents were doing their best to protect the children from as much anxiety-causing information as possible...and this book fills in some of those gaps. It does not comment on the occasionally contentious dynamics of the relationships between the people in the secret annexe as much as the diary, probably due to Mrs. Gies' sense of loyalty-while the diary makes it quite clear that the stress, close quarters, etc., caused some grievances amongst the inhabitants, most of the commentary in this book is more positive on that issue. Along with many other pictures, there is also interesting information about the people who are in the "periphery" of the diary, and a lot of first-hand observations of what life was like in Nazi-occupied Holland; and the book does continue on into the post-war years, which provides the opportunity to learn what happened to the protectors of the occupants of the secret annexe. Mrs. Gies went on to have a pleasant and interesting life with her husband and children-she even managed to keep Mr. Frank's business going so he had something to come back to, and Mr. Frank lived with the Gies family for quite some time after the war. Rather nice to know that the entire story did not end in tragedy, like so many from that era. So, not just an earlier source of the familiar photo we are all looking at here, but also an excellent book.
I don't remember ever seeing this film when we visited there. This is a first. It all looks so pristine and hard to believe. Almost surreal.
This breaks my heart. It also makes me ever-more determined to do all within my power to make the world safer for children.
I love how people have congregated here--to share information, commiserate, mourn, acknowledge, honor. I'm happy to know that the film was previously out there. I think the decision to make these films available on YouTube is a wise idea. As I have learned from my students, YouTube is the source of most things (or Hulu or their social networking sites). Perhaps, Anne will go viral on YouTube, and someone will be inspired to read more about the Holocaust.
I'm glad that I was able to find this. As I said, it was in the Israeli newspaper. I encourage my students to read internationally, mostly because you never know what you will find.
I don't know what to say. What a sweet moment in a short life. She was a lovely child and it makes my heart hurt to think of her and all those lost at the camps.
Beautifully written post. Amazing how one person was able to capture the essence of youth and the tremendous loss of life that occurred.
Simply, thank you. (Rated).
How interesting and sad at the same time. Life looked so normal in this video.....and to think Hitler didn't consider the Jews to be human. That little girl looked human to me.
Powerful, thanks for showing it. Rated.

@Eva T... I hate to be a cynic, but I don't think this world will ever be truly safe for any of us to exist freely as long as religion keeps everyone at odds. Shame, though.
I remember feeling the way you felt when I saw Robert Benigni's movie, Life is Beautiful. I kept knowing throughout the film what the reality was, what really was happening, even as the father only vaguely understood and the young son was clueless. Similarly when I saw Titanic--a movie I thought was overrated generally--during that one heartbreaking scene when the poor Irish maid tucked her children into bed. I knew that they would drown. So very poignant. People fantasize about looking into the future, but if we can't really control it, then it would only have the effect of having us look back in horror at our own innocence. Thanks so much for posting this.
I remember the day I visited the Anne Frank Museum. It was a rainy day in Amsterdam, and I was alone, walking on the cobblestones, avoiding the bigger puddles, wishing that the rain would stop and the sun would come out before my visit to Holland was over.

I think I really stopped in to get out of the rain. But as I walked through the rooms and saw her drawings and writings on the wall, I felt the presence of the thousands of Jews who died in the Holocaust. I actually reached out and touched the wall. I put my hand where her hand had been.

As I walked down the stairs again, I tasted salt, and realized how fast my tears were falling. I got to the bottom of the flight and there was a Rememberence Box and a book in which to write thoughts.

My tears fell on the lined page of the book as I wrote briefly, pulled out some money, and placed it in the Box. I heard a voice behind me say, "Don't cry. Let's go and have some tea." It was my eye doctor from the USA! His eyes too, were wet with tears.

We went out into the rain together.
It makes you forget your troubles, doesn't it?
It's quite amazing to see her alive. I remember reading her diary in school, and wondering how the families could stand being confined up there for so long with no opportunity to see the sun, exercise, go to a movie. But being in hiding as they were was far better than what was happening to the Jews without a hiding place.

This hit me almost as hard as seeing the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. An experience I recommend, even though it's an emotional gut punch.
Amazing how this little clip could bring tears to my eyes. And amazing that someone could look at this lovely, lively, intelligent little girl and think she was a threat that had to be removed.

There are times when I think the world would be a better place without the human race.
What the video doesn't show you is the 20 seconds of footage where she threw a water balloon on that bride and groom, which is the real reason they hunted her mercilessly.
This is not a first photo but in video first I've seen. In about 2003-04, I found photographs displayed at perhaps and posted them on line in one of their forums to share with a fellow poster in Rotterdam who works at ING. There were a number of photos of Anne and her friends.

Our fellow-poster shared many kinds of information with us, including what his parents had told him about going through the occupation. The Nederland population in general were subjected to a starvation policy because rations for the German military were by then that tight. He told me also of some less known things re: Audrey Hepburn who I knew had been in dance training for their country's opera-ballet until her mother had been able to bring her to the US. (I had another Dutch-Indonesian acquaintance whose father brought her from Java to go to school at the Hague; she was so emotionally disordered however that her behavior was intensely neurotic and distructive because of the Japanese occupation in her early childhood.)

The Franks were less fortunate as we soon learned, perhaps 2005 when The New York Times published what are now archived letters of Otto Frank, and can no longer be read in that original form on yellowed, aged paper accidentally found by a file clerk trying to clear up the back log in storage at the Immigration Authority in New York . They kept telling Otto Frank that he would have to find a sponsor who could guarantee him a job so that he would have the income to support his family if they were to allow him into the country. I may have saved the original site, or it may have been absorbed in that way that old data disappears; but, I hate to say this, our country does not change. They had the same immigration policies as are favored now by something like half our population, because it was that borderline of the Great Depression becoming WW2

The Dutch have been considerably kinder in their immigration policy, whether or not a result of that period, I think likely it was always so, since some of my forebears went through there centuries ago to escape France after the edict of Nantes was revoked,and went in the opposite direction crossing into Germany to Berlin and then down through Germany to Altrier at the confluence of the Moselle and the Rhine. Then eventually my great grandfather and my grandfather(and his mother) sailed from Antwerp to farm west of the Mississippi river.

I was surprised to find that neighbors of mine, in Southeastern Pennsylvania were in 2002 able to fly back to Holland to collect their welfare stipend, including air-fare reimbursement, as former colonials from the Dutch East Indies. In that year following 9/11, the Immigration and Naturalization department in Philadelphia was five years behind in documentation or even picking up a telephone. They had been absorbed into the Department of Homeland Security by the Bush administration. Believe me, the "Birthers" never asked them who they were, although I am told that now immigrants report more often than before much to the annoyance of many working and living here now. Do you get the feeling as I do that sometimes we are just a tad behind what had been going on?
It is strange to think how we don't know what is coming for us---good or bad.
Wow. Truly amazing. Sometimes she seems like a fictitious character from my childhood reading. To see this is a reality shifter for me.
This video has reinforced for me my own sense that we have to stay in the present, appreciating (as much as is possible) the mysteries of life. I just wish that it wasn't death that is too frequently the catalyst for a change in thinking.
Anne does look so happy! And although she would soon suffer inhumanely, its nice to see this small counterweight of a good life juxtaposed to the tragedy.
My first thought was of my own children. One is 13 and the other 10 not too distant in age from Anne Frank's age I think. Definitely a bitterweet moment especially when you think of all the hotspots of violence in the world today and how children are at risk everywhere of having their life ripped apart. Aggh. Sorry for the doomsday lament. Just strikes you though about how fragile life is and how thankful we have to be every day that we do live in a country where we shouldn't take this for granted.

Thanks for sharing!!
UNBELIEVABLE, really. It is chilling.
how the ordinary ties us all together.
Sad. That's what I feel when I think about this time in history.

I visited an Anne Frank exhibition at a Museum some years ago and that's just how I felt then too.