In 1945, close to the end of World War II, Anne Frank died at the age of fifteen. However, her diary and her close friend Hannah Gosler survived to tell her story. Hannah lived next door to Anne until the day when the Frank family seemed to abandon everything and disappear.
In Memories of Anne Frank, Alison Leslie Gold recounts Hannah Gosler’s memories of her friendship with Anne, and writes of Hannahs’ own struggles during the war. Hannah tells of a young, funny, bright Anne Frank who had sleepover parties, and flirted, and wanted to be famous, a girl just like any other girl.
Ms. Goslar’s heart-wrenching story takes the reader one step beyond The Diary of Anne Frank, describing Anne and Hannah’s last tearful meetings at Bergen Belson soon before Anne’s death.
Gold brings to life Hannah’s remembrances of two teenage girls who, despite the utter hopelessness of their situations, kept hoping anyway.
On Tuesday morning, July 7, 1942, after a day of heavy rain, the sun came out in south Amsterdam, Holland. Hannah Goslar was dressed for summer in a light cotton dress. The school year was finished, the graduation ceremony had been the previous Friday. The days were now long and the sky was probably filled with big puffy Dutch clouds.
Hannah’s mother had sewn the yellow six-pointed star—which all Jewish people had been ordered to wear—to the front of Hannah’s dress above her heart. The Star of David usually made Hannah feel proud to be Jewish, but because Jews were now being arrested and persecuted by the Germans who had conquered Holland, it made her conspicuous, like a target at a shooting range.
At age thirteen Hannah Goslar was fun-loving but also quite religious. She went to Hebrew school two times a week and to synagogue. She was gangly, tall, had creamy skin, and brushed her mahogany-brown hair so fast that electric sparks crackled. Hannah’s best features were her hair and her soft, brown eyes.
This morning she was going to call for her friend Anne Frank. Anne was outspoken, even impudent: she loved having fun. She was more interested in socializing and boyfriends than Hebrew lessons. Lately the differences between Hannah and Anne had become more pronounced.
With the war raging and both of them being thirteen, life was not as simple as it used to be when they were little girls sitting side by side at school.
Hannah had kissed her father before she left the house. Because of a new law that Jews were forbidden from working in most professions, Mr. Goslar was no longer allowed to work as a professional economist. This meant it was difficult for him to support his family.