on 20 May 2008
This book tells the story of Hannah Goslar and her own memories of her childhood friendship with Anne Frank.
The book tells of Hannah and Anne's circle of friends, and her own family.
Both girls met when they were four, and both were from families that fled from Nazi Germany to the Netherlands.
Their carefree girlhood, swimming, playing ping pong, having sleepovers, gossiping about boys and giggling in class, was brought to an end by the Nazis who had occupied Netherlands in 1940 and began their persecution of the Jews, sweeping them into poverty and humiliation.
Hannah Goslar had thought that Anne and her family had escaped to safety in Switzerland and knew nothing of their hiding in the Secret Annexe.
Later Hannah and her family were swept by the Nazis together with thousands of other Jews into a deportation center in the Netherlands.
The fact that the Goslar family were on the list of those who were to be allowed to immigrate to Israel, these lists were cancelled due to an agreement between the Nazis and the Palestinian leader Arab Mufti Haj Amin Al Husseini that no Jews were to go to Israel.
At the various concentration camps and at Belsen, Hannah kept her strength so that she could keep her baby sister Gabi alive (Gabi was only three when the family was forced into a deportation camp and four when they were deported to Belsen).
Hannah actually met her friend Anne through the fence at Belsen, a few months before Anne's death.
This book, for young readers aged about ten and up, is a wonderful educational guide to the horrors of the holocaust and those who survived.
A heartrending passage in the book describes how "Gabi and other small children didn't know what cookies and holiday cakes were, nor did they know what chicken was anymore. When someone tried to explain to the children what sugar tasted like it was hopeless because no one could find accurate enough words to describe to describe the glorious taste of sugar or cookies or cakes".
Hannah Goslar, as Hannah now lives in Israel, is a nurse, and had ten grandchildren as of the mid-1990s. Most holocaust survivors live in Israel today as do hundreds of thousands of their descendants
'The Little Dipper Minus Two' was the name five young girls jokingly bestowed on their ping-pong club. After weekly games, they would troop off to an ice cream parlour with their arms around one another, gossiping in a lively fashion - until the day that signs saying 'No Jews' appeared on the doors of most cafes, the girls themselves were forced to wear yellow stars proclaiming their religion, and one by one they either went into hiding or were shipped off to the Nazi concentration camps.
Hannah Goslar, a childhood friend of Anne Frank, has collaborated with Alison Leslie Gold to write a haunting and powerful book that describes her deportation to Bergen-Belsen as a 'privileged' Jew - and her eventual reunion with her friend Anne, who was dressed in rags, sick to her stomach, and definitely not in the 'privileged' section of the camp. Hannah and her young sister escaped death by sickness or in the gas chambers and returned with their faith in God still intact, even though their entire family had died in the camps. The description of the liberation makes you want to dance and sing for joy - especially when Gabi tastes her first ever sugar cookie.
Only two members of the Little Dipper club survived, and yet Hannah remains positive in a way that few people can - for, as she explains, the 'pulsating old stars move majestically, eternally across the heavens'. Hannah Goslar has remembered well. The ones who died are not forgotten.