Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Francine Prose + Anne Frank

I'm reading "Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife" by Francine Prose, and I came across this beautiful section of writing on pages 68-69. She is describing the arrest of the residents of the hidden annex, and how close the world came to never seeing the diary at all. It had been kept in a briefcase...
"But now the briefcase was being put to a different use. Silberbauer dumped out the papers, along with some notebooks, and handed the satchel to his colleagues to stuff with jewels and cash.
The details of the briefcase could have come from one of those fairy tales that counsel reflection, patience, morality -- lest one wind up like the thoughtless, greedy man or woman (usually the wife) who mistakes the rhinestones for diamonds or cooks the magic fish for dinner. Eventually, Silberbauer realized he'd filled the briefcase with pasteboard and scattered rubies across the attic floor.
But how could he have imagined that what he had discarded --loose sheets of paper, exercise books -- was not only a work of literary genius, not only a fortune in disguise, not only a record of the times in which he and its author lived, but a piece of evidence that would lead to the exposure of his role in the Nazis' war against the Jews, even as so many like him slipped back into their old lives and kept up their furniture payments?
There was no way he could have known what the briefcase contained. How could anyone have suspected that a masterpiece existed between the checked cloth covers of a young girl's diary?"

No comments: