Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Anne Frank Remembered (1995)

Anne Frank Remembered is must-see viewing.

Director Jon Blair (Bin Laden: The Early Years) includes interviews with several key people who helped the Frank family, who were Jews, hide from the Nazis in the Netherlands during the Second World War and witnessed the final days of Anne, her sister and mother in 1945. This is vital history captured on film.


This 1995 documentary includes contributions from Anne Frank's childhood best friend and Miep Gies, an employee of Otto Frank, who risked her life to get food on the black market for his family and four other Jews who were in hiding with them. Otto Frank appears in interviews from 1976 and 1979. He died in 1980. There are contributions from Frank's childhood best friend, Hannah Goslar, and the woman who confirmed Frank's death to her father.

The Frank family left Frankfurt in 1933 because of Nazism's rise. They moved to Amsterdam where Otto Frank managed a pectin factory. A year after the Second World War's start in 1939, Germany controlled much of Europe including the Netherlands. Freedoms enjoyed by Jews were gradually reduced. Frank prepared a secret hiding place in his office building and created a cover story that suggested his family fled to neutral Switzerland to throw off authorities.


Anne began to write in a prized gift from her 13th birthday, a diary. Her entries are shown on screen as different passages are read.

There are several fascinating strands that make Anne Frank Remembered compelling to watch.

Otto Frank could have fled to Switzerland, where he had family, but chose to move to Amsterdam instead. There's a powerful scene with the son of dentist Fredrich Pfeffer, one of the eight in hiding, meeting with Miep Gies for the first time. How differently people reacted while in captivity, for two years, is explored. Hopes were raised with the Allied D-Day invasion of Normandy in 1944, but the Franks were betrayed by an anonymous phone call tipping off their location. Everyone but Otto was killed including Anne on March 12, 1945, less than two months before V-E Day.

Anne Frank dreamed of Hollywood stars and becoming a published author who would be known internationally and live on after her death. She achieved her goal, but at a terrible price. Frank was 15 when she died at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

The documentary ends with a brief clip of the only known film footage of Frank from 1941.

Anne Frank Remembered is narrated by Kenneth Branagh with passages from Frank's diary read by Glenn Close.

The film won the Oscar for best documentary in 1995.

RATING: 10/10



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