The authenticity of real-life Holocaust accounts

By Alina Berganovsky
Correspondent

Professor Friedman reads and discusses true Holocaust stories. (Ashley Long / Photo Editor)

A beautiful day turned dark as English professor Ellen Friedman presented a somber close reading on the Holocaust in the Business Building Lounge on Thursday, Feb. 23, sponsored by the English department.

Friedman’s presentation focused on “Night” by Elie Weisel and “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

According to Friedman, depending upon what version of her diary is read, reader opinions of Anne Frank can change. In “Night,” the ending’s meaning can also vary according to what language the book is read in.

The overall presentation seemed to question if, as Friedman put it, the “instabilities in the diary” changed the authenticity of the Jewish pain expressed throughout the book.

Friedman also talked about two art projects that involved the subject of Anne Frank — the Anne Frank Project, a theatre project started at Buffalo State College, and Anne in New York.

Anne in New York was a series of Anne Frank’s image plastered across New York City through graffiti. This street art was placed in wealthy and poorer areas.

Friedman said that this project showed, “that we are so use to it (the image of Anne Frank) that we are inoculated to the image and to the history.”

The questions that followed the presentation showed just how the topic of Anne Frank intrigued faculty and students alike. Questions ranged from whether or not reading “The Diary of Anne Frank” is a rite of passage for young girls to asking about Friedman’s personal family memoir, “Seven.”

“I’m taking a philosophical approach to writing it and it is a very personal rendition of events that happened to my family,” she said.

When asked what people thought about the event, Megan Mihalik, English and secondary education double major said, “I thought it was really interesting. I feel like I read a complete different version of ‘The Diary of Anne Frank.’”

Even though the topic was a somber one, Friedman managed to keep the audience captivated.