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In those dark days during the war we didn't stand on the sidelines. We offered a helping hand, we committed our very lives. We couldn't have done any more than that.
‘It was the fourth of August. It was quiet in the office. We were working and I happened to look up. The door opened and a small man entered. He pointed the revolver in his hand at me and said 'Stay seated! Don't move!' Of course I was frozen with fear. He closed the door and left again. I couldn't see or hear what happened after that because I was ordered to stay at my desk. Later I heard everyone coming downstairs, very slowly. They had been able to pack in the meantime. I wasn't allowed to go to the window, I had to stay in my seat. And I did that. Afterwards, Bep and I went upstairs to the Franks’ bedroom. And there we saw Anne's diary lying on the ground. 'Let's pick it up', I said, because Bep stood there looking in a daze. I said 'Pick it up, pick it up, let's get out of here!', because we were so frightened! We went downstairs and there we were, Bep and I. 'Now what, Bep?' Then she said: 'You're the oldest. You should keep it.' That seemed right.’
My story is a story of very ordinary people during extrgordinarily terrible times. Times of which I hope will never, never come again. It is for all of us ordinary people all over the world to see that they do not.
I certainly think that another Holocaust can happen again. It did already occur, think of Cambodia, Rwanda, and Bosnia.
I hope and believe that many Dutch people will be more helpful in the future than they were during the Holocaust. Only 11,000 Jews were safely brought through the war. The others, about 105,000, perished and that could have been a considerably lower figure if all Dutch people understood their responsibility to help.
The message to take from Anne's story is to stop prejudice and discrimination right at its beginning. Prejudice starts when we speak about THE Jews, THE Arabs, THE Asians, THE Mexicans, THE Blacks, THE Whites. This leads to the feeling that all members of each such group think and act the same. That results in prejudice. Lumping entire groups of people together is RACISM, because it denies the fact that everyone is an individual. Even our own brothers and sisters or parents are not exactly like we are. So how do we dare to lump entire groups of people together? If any German had ever asked Anne to tell something about herself, I think she would be still with us today. However, nobody asked: she was just a Jew! Therefore, never base your opinion about anybody else on the color of that person's skin, or on the passport that a person carries, or on the family that person comes from, but only on what the person says and does and on NOTHING ELSE.