Movement 13: The Capture and the Concentration Camp
On August the 4th 1944,
a car pulled up at Prinsengracht.
Several figures emerged,
armed, and dressed in civilian clothes.
The eight residents of the Annexe
were taken to prison,
and from there, transported to Westerbork,
ad onwards to the concentration camps.
The atmosphere is stifling,
outside you don’t hear a single bird.
A deathly silence hangs in the air.
It clings to me as if it were going to drag me
into the deepest regions of the underworld.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their sound is gone out
through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
Their blood have they shed like water,
and there was none who could bury them.
The young and the old lie on the ground;
the maids and the young men are fallen.
How would you feel if everything around you was taken away? Has anything ever made you feel so hopeless and lost, like there was almost no light to be found?
Theme in other Musical Examples:
Green Day – Wake Me Up When September Ends:
John Williams – Theme from Schindler’s List:
Avenged Sevenfold – So Far Away:
Can you imagine how Anne felt being taken away from her father? Why is it important to stay hopeful even in the darkest of times? It is important to appreciate every beautiful thing the world has to offer, because it can all be taken away in a matter of seconds.
Examining the Theme and Historical Context through the Text/Music:
Due to a tip from Dutch informers, the Gestapo found the Franks on August 4th, 1944. Anne, Margot, Edith, and Otto were transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. The men were immediately separated from the women, and Anne’s father was taken away from his family. Anne, Margot, and Edith stay in a barrack together, and worked all day hauling heavy rocks and stones. They were required to stay outside for roll call even in the worst conditions. If a prisoner at the camp would not show up for roll call or somehow misbehaved, they were shot (“their blood have they shed like water”). Prisoners received very little food and lived in extremely horrible conditions filled with disease and death (“A deathly silence hangs in the air…it clings to me as if it were going to drag me into the deepest regions of the underworld”).
Soon, Anne and Margot travelled by train for three days to another large concentration camp, Bergen-Belsen. The girls carried out similar chores at Bergen-Belsen, but the living situations were even worse. As the Russians approached, there is little to no food with horrible sanitation conditions; even the officers become sick. Death fills the air, and there is no sound except for the cries of dying people. Bodies were covered the ground, adding insult to injury, as Jews must bury their dead the day after death: “and there was none who could bury them…the young and the old lie on the ground; the maids and the young men are fallen.”
In the winter of 1944, just weeks before the Allies liberated the camp, Margot and Anne die of typhus.
Note – Anne did not continue her diary after she left the Annex. However, some aspects of life in hiding are similar to life in concentration camps. This excerpt is written about the Annex, but echoes the atmosphere described by others in different concentration camps.