Diary of Helene Berr, “France’s Anne Frank” Published
Filed Under: Music & Film, World | Posted: 01/11/2008 at 11:07PM
Comments | Region: France
The young Jewish woman known as Helene Berr is deemed to be the French version of Anne Frank. Her diary is an account of two years living under the Nazi occupation of France. It portrays how her life was shattered before being deported on her 24th birthday and then dying in a concentration camp.
Helene Berr’s diary was supposed to be for Jean Morawiecki, her fiancé. Jean had left Paris to become part of the Resistance. It was turned over to Jean after her death in April 1945.
For the first time this month, the diary of Helene Berr was published. While the diary had small joys in the entries, it mostly had angst and horror against the Nazis under its occupation. However, it would look as if Berr did not know the word of hate. She was an advanced student of English at the Sorbonne.
“There is something in the soul of Helene that is very luminous, despite her darkness … Never hate but indignation,” according to Mariette Job, Helene Berr’s niece said in an interview.
She had spent years trying to get her aunt’s diary and have it published.
The original is already part of the permanent exhibition at France’s Holocaust museum known as the Memorial of the Shoah. The diary was turned into book form and completed with both photographs and footnotes. It was published as “Helene Berr Journal.”
Helene Berr is the Anne Frank of France according to French Media. Both Helene Berr and Anne Frank had died of typhus a month apart at the Bergen-Belsen camp in Germany.
However, Job point out that there are differences in the age and circumstances of both Berr and Frank. Anne Frank wrote while in Amsterdam and was only a teenager. Helene Berr started writing when she was 21. Berr was still able to attend class and move throughout the city.
But, the diary of Helene Berr is still exceptional because it is the first account of life under the Nazi occupation of France by a student.
While the diary is in French, it will be published in at least a dozen other languages including English.