I’m now into the 13th week of my year-long journey of letter-writing. I am enjoying it immensely – and I’m surprised by how many people have told me that they have written someone a handwritten letter because of my efforts. Maybe we’ll start a mini writing revolution.
I’ve been thinking about throwing a party at the end of the year and inviting everyone who has been following along as well as those who I’ve written to during the year – and of course anyone who has written me a handwritten letter! I did that with they Year of Giving and it was a lot of fun. Stay tuned for details and if you have any ideas or suggestions on how to make the party unique, please drop me a note.
I recently received a very nice handwritten letter from Mr. and Mrs. Bresnan who I wrote on Day 45. It was a thoughtful note on nice monogramed stationery. I had asked them for advice on writing good letters – they said, “I don’t think you need any tips on what makes a great letter. You certainly have that down pat.” That was very kind of them to say.
I’ll share one last item with you. Last Monday Bernhard “Buddy” Elias, a cousin of Anne Frank, died at the age of 89. He was the teenage Holocaust diarist’s last close relative. Anne Frank started a diary on her 13th birthday and kept it until she and her family were discovered and arrested. She later died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp 70 years ago this March.
She wrote regularly to Kitty – the name she gave to her diary. Through her diaries we get to know her and discover what it was like to be jewish during Nazi controlled Europe during WWII. Her father Otto, the only member of her immediate family to survive the concentration camps, later said of her diaries, “There, was revealed a completely different Anne to the child that I had lost. I had no idea of the depths of her thoughts and feelings.”
Buddy Elias was the president of the Anne Frank Fond which has the original diaries. When you look at how she filled the pages, the steady strokes of broad ink that she used, the way it was organized, you learn more about her than just the words. She even made an entry talking about her fountain pen – a prized possession of hers that she received as a gift from her grandmother when she was nine.
Thinking about the this part of history makes my stomach curl. I find it unbelievable that something so horrible could have happened so recently. And while my heart aches when I read through her diaries, I’m thankful for them. Because of her determination to document her story, generations to come will never forget the Franks and know that for every Anne Frank there were millions of others whose story we sadly may never know.
RIP Mr. Elias.