Annelies by David Gillham

We Must NEVER Forget

Annelies by David Gillham is a powerful and heart breaking historical ‘what-if’ novel – what if Anne Frank had survived and returned to her father Otto Frank?

I have read widely around Anne Frank and visited her house in Amsterdam in 1983. The novel has accurately been constructed around her diary pre August 1944 and eye witness events up to her death in March/April 1945. Post April 1945 is a product of the author’s imagination. It is a compelling read, although the Anne Frank we ‘know’ from her diary is very different to the fictional Anne Frank who returns from Belsen. “This is Bergen Belsen, and here the angel of death has made his home.” She has been to hell and back. She survived but carried a burden of guilt. “I’m guilty of the crime of surviving.”

During the war years Anne Frank had had a difficult relationship with her mother but adored her father. “As long as God and Pim are on the job, she [I] was protected.” I cannot believe that the Anne Frank portrayed after the war would feel so differently towards him.

Annelies is a compelling read. It is a heart breaking read because we know that the real Anne Frank perished at Belsen. She never had the chance to grow up. She is forever a fresh faced smiling teenager. If she had known her father had survived, would she have fought to live? Believing her whole family to have perished, Anne Frank surrendered her soul to death.

The treatment of Anne Frank and the six million innocents was a terrible crime against humanity. We owe it to them all to keep their memory alive. Thank you David Gillham for writing Annelies and helping to preserve the memory of the innocents.

JULIA WILSON

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