It was on this day in 1947 that the world first saw the publication of one of the most influential books in history, the Diary of Anne Frank. Frank and her Jewish family hid for two years in the attic of a family friend's house during the Nazi regime before being discovered in 1944 and sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where she would die of typhus. The diary she kept during that time was later submitted for publication by the only surviving member of the family, Otto Frank.
The book is compelling because it puts the most honest face on the time period that you could possibly use. As a teenager Frank is still more consumed with her own emerging sexuality, and the day to day life that she lives, than with the global events of the Holocaust. Ironically, it is this specific focus on herself that makes her story undeniable, free from all the bullshit pretention that permeates other "diaries" like Go Ask Alice and Jay's Journal.
Such a towering, tragic figure of history was bound to inspire some musicians along the way. This week's playlist we dedicate to Frank. In hopes that a mixtape might be heard in whatever afterlife she found following her untimely death at the hands of the biggest assholes in history.
Say Anything, "Alive With the Glory of Love": Say Anything's Max Bemis is the grandson of Holocaust survivors, and grew up on their stories. His song was inspired by their experience, and not by Anne Frank, but there's something about the little girl in the music video that has always seemed to hearken to her.
Regardless, the sentiments expressed by Bemis are the same as every reader, who knows that she never makes it from the get-go, but vows to save her while reading her words.
John Frusciante, "Anne": The idea that Frusciante was inspired by Anne Frank to write this amazing tune from 2005's Curtains is merely fan conjecture, but it does mesh well with the story. The lyrics seem to suggest that Frusciante identified with the isolation that Frank must have felt locked away so long, as well as the feeling of constant oppression and dangers.
East of Eden, "Diary of Anne Frank": I got in touch with Hugh Ozumba of East of Eden to find out what about Anne Frank inspired him to pen a song to her:
We are [a] Christian faith-driven band whose focus is partly to broadcast the often harsh reality of living the Christian life. In this case, the song was written as a tribute to living with the tension of the belief that an all loving God exists and yet there is so much suffering in the world, but more pertinently, suffering in your life and around you.
No more evident is the tension than in the life of Anne Frank (albeit Jewish), who would have had to view some of the most horrific atrocities against people she knew, yet emerged with still her beliefs in tact. This song is about undergoing a journey of self discovery in the midst of hardship and realizing that although some questions will remain unanswerable, God will always be with you.
Neutral Milk Hotel, "Holland, 1945": Most of 1998's In an Aeroplane Over the Sea is considered to have been inspired by the Diary of Anne Frank. Jeff Mangum has remarked before the effect the book has had on him. After reading the book he would dream nightly about having a time machine that he would use to save her.
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Portastatic, "In The Manner of Anne Frank": Do you ever wonder what Anne Frank would think if she knew her diary would be assigned reading in schools? Our last tune from Portastatic laments the futility of keeping a journal of thoughts.
Either it would be ignored as trite, or you'd suffer nothing but ridiculed. Maybe Frank thought the same thing, but in the end her words reached millions and put a face on one of the greatest tragedies in history. So maybe you should take a moment to jot down a sentence or two. Who knows how it might be relevant to those who come after?