This book definitely teaches you more about the family of Anne Frank than the Diary Of A Young Girl in the sense that most of the book is written like a novel, and focuses on the correspondence between Anne's Aunt Leni, her Grandmother, Alice and her father Otto whilst he was in Auschwitz looking for his family after their separation. The book contains original letters, written exactly as they would have been, and photographs of documents and family members. The book switches from a 'documentary style' in writing, to family saga, (the book begins with a young Anne playing with her cousin Buddy)and this shows us the 'pleasant side' to life for the Frank family before it all went horribly wrong. The letters from a young girl who met Margot and Anne in Belsen to Otto vividly describing the horrendous conditions and disease are nothing short of heartbreaking. I'm not one to cry whilst reading a book, but during these sections I found myself fighting back tears. But this book shows the true determination Otto had to give his daughter what she always wanted - her own book published. A brilliant testimony to a girl who will certainly never be forgotten.
This was fascinating. It gave so much background on Anne Frank's ancestors that I began to see her in a completely different context from that of the diary. It would have been so interesting to see how she developed had she survived.
I did get really bogged down in the earliest bits, though, and had to re-read it to work out how all the generations fitted together.
A book exploring the other members of Anne Frank's family with entire chapters devoted to branches. Buddy Elias is an interesting life. Anne Frank's first cousin, her father and his mother were brother and sister. He only recently died and kept the Anne Frank flame alive. He was a professional actor and skater starring in "Holiday on Ice" which went to London and I realise I must have seen him when I was a young girl as we saw the show twice. Hindsight is a great thing and probably Otto Frank wished he had taken his relative's advice and moved to Switzerland before the War, or at least before the Jewish communities were really set upon. But he loved The Netherlands he said and chose to stay, a tragic decision but the outcome by the German authorities could not ever have been imagined in one's worst nightmares, but it did.