Everytime I look at pictures of her, I cant help but look back on the past. They bring back good memories of her. But they also bring back sad ones to.
My name is Augustijin Dom.
During my teenage years, I was fortunate, or rather unfortunate, to have experienced the second World War. It was a frightful experience I can tell you that, as well as other youngsters who had to bare witness to it all.
One good thing about it is that I was not old enough to have legally fought in it, which is a relief as I heard about the horrors of men that did fight in the war. They told me the traumatic stories of seeing their friends being blown up, getting shot etc. Hell, even some boys of my age were getting drafted though, thankfully I didn't.
Still, even then I got to witness the horrible side to it of buildings getting blown up, people getting bombed etc. I could even see some family members with limbs blown off and such. It made me throw up many times seeing these. It certainly wasn't a pleasant time to live in I tell you. Thank god all those of you born afterwards avoided the nasty thing. Though we still had to live on rations and such, which wasn't easy getting food.
However, there is one memory that forever holds a place in my heart. During that time, I had met the most beautiful girl I had ever seen in my life.
Who was she you may ask? She was one of the most well known diarists that existed during that time.
That's correct. She would be none other then the famous diarist, Anne Frank.
As the world knows, she was from a Jewish background. Of course, her family were liberal Jews, and did not fully convert to the customs of the religion. However, as we all know, Hitler hated Jews, as he blamed them for Germany's defeat in the first world war, and believed it would make the world a better place if he were to exterminate them all.
And of course, he managed to brainwash his followers into doing the evil deed by capturing them and placing them in concentration camps and subjecting them to nasty deaths.
During my youth, my country was called Holland ,as it had been known for centuries, but after the war ended, it was renamed as what it is now known as Netherlands, though many people still call it by it’s old name.
In the early 1930’s, Anne’s family moved to Amsterdam, which is where I was born, after her father, Otto, was offered to start a company in the city though Anne and her family had been travelling back and forth between Germany and Netherlands.
However, after Hitler came to power, the family decided to move here permanently. They were among over 300000 Jews that had escaped Germany prior to the war starting.
I first met her when she started coming to my school, which was the 6th Montessori School. It was in April 1934 when she joined our kindergarten class. She and I were both only five years old back then. The school had only just been built when we had both started attending, and there were also other kids there that had escaped Germany mostly Jews because of the uprising. They knew Hitler wasn’t particularly fond of Jewish people, and knew their lives would be in danger if they stayed there.
I myself am not Jewish, but I was always friendly towards them. I had nothing against them and some of my best friends were Jews. Anne of course, was one of them. When I first met her, she was the kindest and most caring girl I had met. She always gave good advice and a shoulder to cry on. I thought that she was the most lovely girl that I had ever known.
In the summer of 1941, Anne was no longer allowed to attend the school, because Jewish children had to attend schools specially made for their religion. We were two years into the war and thing’s were not looking good for the Jewish people.
The Axis had already invaded Poland at the start of the war, which had a large Jewish population, and they began rounding up all the people from their religion and sending them off to concentration camps, such as Auschwitz and others.
Even today people go to these camps and see the horrors of what these prisoners went through. Being tortured, gassed, Starved etc. It was horrifying. No one was exempt from this order. Not even children.
Anne and her sister Margot had to go to the Jewish Lyceum, which was an exclusive secondary school in Amsterdam which had only been built that year.
I was saddened to see Anne go. She had been such a good friend and I trusted her with all my heart. We said our goodbyes and hugged and swore we would see each other again. I gave her my address to write to and send letters so we could stay in contact.
The next year, Germany invaded my country and they were aware that a large number of Jews had migrated here and they were ordering the authorities to hunt them down and extract them. I was worried about Anne because I feared she would soon be captured as well as her family.
Another year had passed, and I still had heard nothing from her. I was beginning to suspect that she had finally been caught and was probably dead now. I was getting upset because I really did like her.
Then one day, I was in my home when my mother gave me a letter that was addressed to me. There was no sender named or returning address so I was rather suspicious as to who sent it to me. I opened it and read it when I couldn't believe my eyes when I found who the sender was...
She said that her family had gone into hiding because of what was going on and said she wanted to see me again because I had been so kind to her out of all people.
She confided in me that not to tell anyone what her address was and she gave me a street name of where she was hiding.
Soon afterwards I told my mother that I was going into town to meet a friend of mine and she was not suspicious at all knowing that I was actually going to meet a girl who had gone into hiding. If my mother knew I was meeting a Jewish girl she would rat the family out.
I had reached the street by that time and a little time passed and I thought that it was a set up. They was only there to waste my time. The all of a sudden a woman came to see me. She asked me my name and when I replied she said her name was Miep and that she was a helper of the Frank family. She said Anne had been so excited to see me. She then escorted me to the house that Anne was hiding in
The house that the Franks were living in is well known today, as it is now a museum known as "The Anne Frank House" respectively. It attracts millions of tourists a year and I am glad it is still around as it reminds me so much of her each time I go there.
They had been hiding there for a year when I came to visit. When I went in there I couldn't believe how small it was. Certainly not for claustrophobic people. How they managed to survive there I don’t know.
However soon after meeting people I finally saw the girl I wanted to see for so long… Anne!
This time I saw her she was a little older but looked more stunning then ever!
We embraced having finally found each other again! It was wonderful. We caught up on old times and told each other how things were going on etc.
Time passed and we were secretly seeing each other. We vowed never to tell anyone because our lives would be in danger if we did.
I enjoyed secretly visiting her and made sure I wasn't followed to ensure her safety. I never told anyone about her. Not even my family and friends. I just couldn't take the risk of them getting caught.
Speaking of that, as it is known, the family were betrayed because in August 1944, Nazi Gestapos arrived at the house after receiving a tip off and arrested them.
It has never been found out who it was that it was that betrayed the family to the Nazis apparently. Conspiracy theorists, historians etc, have been trying to find out since though who the perpetrator was, and have drawn their conclusions and and such but none of them have ever been confirmed.
However, a secret that I have been hiding all these decades lies within me. I know who it is. I know who the betrayer is.
That traitor would be none other then myself. I am the one who betrayed the family!
See after a while, Anne started acting funny. I told her that I had feelings for her and at first she did say she had feelings to. However I suspected that she was seeing someone else. When Anne said that she couldn't be with me because she was getting cosy with with a boy who was living with them.
The boy was Peter Van Pels. He and his parents were another Jewish family who had taken residence in the house as refuge from the Nazis.
The longer they were together, the closer they became because Anne acted so funny the more I went there and seemed to be getting less interested in me.
Eventually I decided to spy on them.
One night, I sneaked out of my house and made my way to Anne’s. When I got there I knocked on the passage door to see if anyone would answer. Nothing. So with all my strength I managed to slide the door open and stealthily made my way up the stairs being very cautious as to not get caught even though I was dead scared that I would be.
I managed to memorize where Anne’s bedroom was and luckily the door was open a little bit. I peeked in just a tiny bit enough to see people inside the room but they couldn't see me.
There I saw Anne. And talking to her was Peter. They were chatting and seemed to be getting cosy and said how much they liked each other.
My face was filled with despair and anger. My childhood friend whom I started school with, whom had grown into a beautiful lady, whom I had grown to love actually was no longer having feelings towards me.
However, I loved Anne and wanted to keep this to myself.
But the longer I kept it in the more couldn't contain myself.
Eventually some months passed and no longer able to control myself, I exploded and searched through the papers to find the authorities to contact and upon finding the number I rang them up and gave them a hint that there was a Jewish family living in the street though I didn't mention the house that Anne was living in. I just for some reason stopped myself from telling them. Without the exact location of the house, I didn’t think they would be able to find the place.
When I had finished school one day, I was walking back to the street where they were and had seen no raids or anything in their house so I thought they were safe and that the authorities thought it was a hoax.
However a few days later, I then was walking to the same place when suddenly I saw some officers escorting people out of the house and it was none other then Anne's family. I was shocked! Had the family finally been found because of me?
One by one, they were escorting them all out and Anne was the last one to be taken out. I was beginning to feel guilty as I fear they thought it was me that ratted them out. Anne managed to look at me whilst the officers were doing one last search. When she saw me, she froze. I had my feelings that she knew it was me who told the Gestapo about their hiding place. I feared she would shout she hated me and would hope I would go to hell for it. Her face however didn't show any suspicion. In fact, as she opened her mouth, she quietly whispered the words with her lips I never expected her to say…
“I Love You”.
As she was taken away, My heart sank. I felt dead inside. Tears were rolling down my face and it was all my fault.
My jealousy, my hatred, my fury was the cause of it all.
Anne and her family all died because of me. It is all my fault!
I should be a man and reveal this to the world.
But I just can’t. I know. I’m a coward.
I couldn’t bare to face the music and tell the world that I was the one responsible for the deaths of nearly everyone who lived in that house. Anne, my childhood friend, my first love, my true love, died because I was the one who ratted them out to the Axis.
It was only when her diary was found and published that I found out the truth. She did like Peter at first, but then she came to reject him as she couldn't see a future with him.
Anne, please forgive me. Your family was arrested that day. You were all sent to concentration camps and you died because of my betrayal.
The horrors of hearing what you went through at the camp sends shivers down my spine to this day. I subjected you to that all. Having your head shaved, being used for slave labour etc. You was cold and malnourished.
You suffered a slow and horrible death Anne. When you knew that your sister and your mother had died, you lost the will to live, and then an epidemic swept and most likely you succumbed to it. I feel so terrible for this to happen to you. The day I had heard that you died my heart felt like it was ripped out, because, I am responsible for your demise.
"IT'S DIFFICULT IN TIMES LIKE THESE: IDEALS, DREAMS AND CHERISHED HOPES RISE WITHIN US, ONLY TO BE CRUSHED BY GRIM REALITY. IT'S A WONDER I HAVEN'T ABANDONED ALL MY IDEALS. THEY SEEM SO ABSURD AND IMPRACTICAL. YET, I CLING TO THEM BECAUSE I STILL BELIEVE, IN SPITE OF EVERYTHING, THAT PEOPLE ARE TRULY GOOD AT HEART".
That's one quote you wrote in your diary Anne and I can't help but thinking what an open mind you had. You thought that no matter how evil people were, there was always some good in them. I wish I could say the same because I don't think there is any goodness in me.
This pain has existed in my heart ever since that day. I have cried my eyes out continuously because of what I did. I was too consumed by jealousy, when I should have been more patient and waited for the war to end before making any assumptions. That's another reason why no one even suspected it was me to be the one who ratted them out because, who ever would believe that a fifteen year old boy would be the one who betrayed the Franks?
Every time I look at pictures of you, the memories come back to haunt me. I remember the day we first met, the stories we told, the games we played. Yet, I cant bare to live with the fact that I double crossed you, because I was jealous and thought you loved that Peter boy.
Anne, I know I don’t deserve to be forgiven, even though I feel so rotten for what I did. I deserve to be punished. I don’t expect you to forgive me Anne, even though you might have is there is an afterlife, but I could never forgive myself. It was truly wrong what I did, and I feel awful for it. I hate myself.
What's more, having read your diary, you rejected Peter because you found he wasn't the one for you, and once the war ended, it all could have ended happily for us, but thanks to me it wasn’t to be.
There was a secret about me that Anne wrote about in her diary. However, her father gave me those pages when he found her diary, because as respect for his daughter’s wishes, she told me him never to reveal to anyone about our relationship, and so he gave them to me and I kept them all this time and never told a soul.
"I DONT THINK OF ALL THE MISERY, BUT ALL THE BEAUTY THAT STILL REMAINS. THINK OF ALL THE BEAUTY STILL LEFT AROUND YOU AND BE HAPPY".
That's another quote from your diary Anne. I try not to think of the misery Anne and I try to be happy but I cant help but ball my eyes out when I see your photos as they remind me of the beauty that you were.
Anne… Anne… Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnee...