Anne Frank has to a great degree, become the embodiment of Holocaust victimhood. Her diary, which has been translated into over 50 languages and has sold 30 million copies, is often one of the first experiences that young Americans have with the Holocaust. The plays and films based off of her diary only add to the way in which Americans identify the victims of the Holocaust with the young German Jew.
While her diary certainly depicts one victim’s life, responses, and attitudes under the Nazi regime, that her’s represents Holocaust victimhood to Americans is notable. In the first image we see a well dressed, young girl studying at a desk in what appears to be a well-made building. She is not at all stereotypically Jewish. In fact, she could be an American student in the 1930s. In the second, she is taking part in a tea party along with friends. Certainly a Western, almost Anglo setting that portrays her as assimilated into Western culture.
While her diary contains clear depictions of her “Jewishness,” the American play and screen versions of the 1950s downplayed such aspects of her life. While still Jewish, she is depicted as a victim of fascism/totalitarianism rather than one of anti-Semitism. As such, she safely represents all victims of the Nazis and, in spite of this, states that “in spite of all, I still believe men are good.” Certainly a lesson from her diary, but one written before her experiences in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. Nevertheless, the placement of this statement at the end of the theatrical and screen versions of her story places her narrative into a positive, hopeful, American context.
What then can we see in these images? We can recognize that for many Americans, the Holocaust victim is primarily Western, educated, and assimilated. She is innocent and safe. Furthermore, although she did not survive, she leaves us with hope for mankind.
In the next post, we will contrast Anne with images of the vast majority of Holocaust victims.
Anne Frank(1940). 1940. Collectie Anne Frank Stichting, Amsterdam. Accessed January 17, 2017.
Jewish refugee girls from Germany, including Anne and Margot Frank, have a tea party with their dolls at a private home in Amsterdam. 1934. USHMM, Washington, D.C. Accessed January 17, 2017.
Mintz, Alan. Popular Culture and the Shaping of Holocaust Memory in America. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2001.
Novick, Peter. The Holocaust in American Life. Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1999.
On the 13th of April 2001 in Washington, terminal cancer patient 64 year old Jerry Heiman was beaten and stabbed to death by five teenagers in his home he shared with his frail 89 year old mother. 8 days later his body was found in a shallow grave.
Investigators were led to Barbara Opel, who was a live in carer for the Heiman’s. In order to steal the $40,000 she was after Opel hired her 13 year old daughter Heather, Heather’s boyfriend Jeffrey Grote, 17, Marriam Oliver, 14, Kyle Boston, 14, and Boston’s unnamed 13 year old cousin. They all received around $200 with Jeffrey getting a car. It’s also claimed that Barbara’s 7 and 11 year old children were made to clear the blood.
At trial, Barbara narrowly avoided the death penalty
In 2003, Barbara Opel was sentenced to life Jeffrey Grote received 50 years Heather Opel received 22 years Marriam Oliver received 22 years Kyle Boston received 18 years Boston’s cousin was released at 21 years of age
1. Samuel L. Jackson (1991) / 2. Jennifer Garner (1996)
3. P. S. Hoffman (1991) / 4. Hayden Panettiere (2001)
5. Kerry Washington (2001)
Beginning in the 1990s, the LAW & ORDER franchise had the best casting of any show on TV. No other series in the modern era can boast as many “Before They Were Famous” actors. Offering a few photos here and more to come. None of these actors were famous at the time they were cast in guest-starring and bit roles.
The Huntington’s Education staff recently formed a partnership with WriteGirl,
a Los Angeles-based creative writing and mentoring organization that,
according to the WriteGirl website, “launched in December 2001 to bring
the skills and energy of professional women writers to teenage girls who
do not otherwise have access to creative writing or mentoring
programs.” Huntington reader Ayana Jamieson is the founder of the Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network, a group of scholars, artists, activists, and fans devoted to the works of science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler, whose papers reside at The Huntington.
Jamieson helped develop curriculum for the partnership, which included a
one-day creative writing workshop at The Huntington using Butler
materials. She shares a description of the day.
captions: Octavia E. Butler near Mt. Shuksan, in the state of Washington, 2001. Photographer unknown. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
The Butler archive, which The Huntington acquired in 2009, includes more than 35 cartons (350 boxes) of correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, and ephemera. Photo by Kate Lain.
(Note: When we originally posted this, we quoted from the VERSO post. The wording of that bit of the blog post has changed a little in response to a great note from racheldoinglines, and the quote block above now reflects that.)
Timeline: Present Day-ish
Summary: A little AU drabble in which our long lost William was never floated off in a basket and has, instead, lived a pretty normal life with mom and dad.
He sunk another tomato plant into the loamy earth of the garden. William paced the porch, anxiously waiting for his mother to come home from work. Anxious, not to see her, but to ask permission for a night out with the guys from school, one of whom just got his driver’s licence. Mulder was against the idea and said as much. Scully had been in favor of giving him a little more freedom lately and William lept onto that little scrap of hope like a liferaft. Mulder told him that he and mom would likely be a united front on this one. This earned him an exasperated groan and a stomping retreat from the garden as Will reached for his cell phone.
“You’ll have to wait til she gets home, buddy. We can’t reach her while she’s in surgery,” he’d called after him.
“Whatever,” Will grumbled in reply, stuffing his phone back into his pocket.
So now he was pacing the porch, clearly engrossed in a game or text conversation. Mulder had to remind her often that even miracle babies grew into pretty typical teenagers, angst and all. Gone were the Friday evenings with the three of them snuggled on the couch together for a movie or stargazing on the roof. They could barely get a sidelong glance out of him, let alone a hug.
“He’ll come back,” he’d told her. He remembered his broody teenage years, wanting nothing to do with his parents, although for completely different reasons.
They both perked up at the sound of her tires grinding through the driveway gravel. William wasted no time as he galloped to her car door, barely giving her enough room to get out. He was too far away to make out the conversation but everything about her body language said it had been a long day. William trailed her onto the porch and into the house, his near frantic explanation of why he just had to go out was exhausting even from afar.
Mulder returned his attention to the remaining tomato plants to be set in the ground. Can’t make marinara or salsa without tomatoes, after all.
The all too predictable slam of the screen door barely caught his attention. He suspected his son would spend the rest of the evening chucking rocks into the pond. What did rouse him from his task was William’s howl.
The way the boy’s voice cracked at the top of the “ah” told him everything he needed to know. Something was wrong. He pushed himself up and rather than opening the garden gate, he lept over it, tearing off his gloves as he narrowed the distance between them.
“What happened?” he asked as he cleared the stairs onto the porch.
“I don’t know!” shouted William, who was visibly shaken.
Mulder’s heart felt like it might explode, every beat feeling like a bass drum reverberating through his whole body. He cleared the doorway and found her crumpled on the floor at the bottom of the stairwell. Will lingered at the threshold, arms crossed over his chest and sobbing.
He reached her and witnessed a nightmare coming to life. She was unconscious and there was blood, lots of it, spilling from her nose.
“Will, call 911!” he called as he dropped to his knees next to her.
The boy was frozen, panic and shock clearly having taken over.
“William! Go call 911, NOW!”
The gangly boy snapped to attention and ran for the phone.
“Did she say anything?” he asked as he pulled her into his arms.
“To get you,” the boy said as he dialed. “She said to get you.”
In the 10 minutes it took for the ambulance to arrive, Will paced the room, talking to the dispatcher while Mulder kissed her temple, combed his fingers through her hair and beckoned her to come back to him.
She did not wake.
In the car, behind the red and white strobe lights of the ambulance, William fidgeted and sniffled.
“Tell me again,” said Mulder as his blood stained hands tensed on the wheel. “Tell me exactly what happened.”
William took a shaky breath. “We went inside and I asked if I could go out with Nick and Max. She said to hang on a second, to let her get an aspirin. I asked what was wrong because she didn’t look right. She said to get you.”
“‘She didn’t look right’? What does that mean?”
“I don’t know! Like pale or sick or something!” he shouted.
“Was her nose bleeding? Was she conscious when you came to get me?”
“She was awake, her nose wasn’t bleeding. She was holding onto the railing and said, go get Dad.”
“Maybe she hit it when she passed out,” he murmured to himself.
“What’s wrong with her, Dad?” he asked.
He glanced over and saw her eyes staring back at him. They’d never told their son about the cancer. They didn’t tell him a lot of things.
“I don’t know, buddy.”
Just let him be a normal kid, she’d implored. He didn’t need to know about aliens or conspiracies, any of it. He’d followed her lead, letting their son be blissfully unaware. He feared now that it had been the wrong choice.
They reached the hospital, her hospital and followed the medics who pushed her into the ER.
“Fox? Will?” a nurse called from the desk.
“Maya, thank God. Can you get in there with her?” Mulder asked.
She nodded and followed the team into a long hallway.
Mulder wrapped an arm over his son’s shoulders as he guided him to the waiting room. The boy looked shell shocked as he sat down. Seeing his mother unconscious, having her clothes cut away so she could be assessed, watching her roll out of their living room on a gurney, it was easy to understand why. Will hadn’t ever seen his mother in peril before, save for the time she tripped over his tennis shoes left in the hallway and sprained her ankle.
“Is she gonna be okay?” Will asked softly.
“Buddy, your mom’s been through a lot. A lot more than you’ll ever know and one thing she always does is persevere.”
“What are you talking about?”
He wrestled internally for a moment.
“Before you…before your mom and I were even together, she got sick, really sick.”
The boy’s quirked eyebrow and narrowed gaze was all her.
“Mom had cancer and one of the symptoms she had at the time was nosebleeds, bad ones.”
“That’s why you asked if she was bleeding.”
Mulder looked his son in the eye, his shaggy blond hair falling over his eyebrows. The look he had was the same as when he was little and terrified of monsters under the bed. Mulder was pretty terrified of this particular monster himself.
“I don’t know what’s happening right now. But I do know your mom. I know that whatever this is, she’ll fight it.”
“Why wouldn’t you tell me something like that?”
He stared at his son, his wide blue eyes, the smattering of freckles across his nose and cheeks, the stubble on his upper lip and chin. He’d just taught him to shave a few months ago.
“She did a lot of things so that you would never have to worry, so that you could be a normal kid.”
“What are you talking about?”
“She was dying with the cancer. Doctors didn’t have any way to treat her. There wasn’t anything left to do but let her go. But I found something, a chip, a medical miracle. And it saved her, pulled her back from the brink. It brought her back to me.”
“Yeah, a microchip embedded just under the skin on the back of her neck,” he said, a hand instinctively tracing the back of his own neck.
He woke to the snuffling sounds of the baby, swaddled tightly in his bassinet at the end of the bed.
“Hmmmm,” he sighed without opening his eyes. “Someone’s hungry,” he said as he reached for her. But her side of the bed was empty and judging by how cool the sheets were, she’d been up for a while.
He sat up and peered around the dark room. No Scully. He checked on William, giving him his pacifier and palming his downy head gently. The baby seemed to settle and drift back to sleep.
A pale shaft of light peeked from under the bathroom door. He idled up quietly, skipping over the creaky floorboards and looking like he was playing some demented version of hopscotch. He’d learned to move through the room like a ninja in the last 10 days or so. Anything not to wake the baby.
“Scully?” he whispered as he reached the door.
Recovery from the delivery had been slow going. Her massive blood loss coupled with the psychological trauma had put her at a disadvantage for healing, both physically and mentally. She was anxious, jumpy and hyper vigilant when it came to their son. She was also in a fair amount of pain, but refused relief, citing the possibility that they might have to run. She couldn’t be zonked out on painkillers and keep him safe, she reasoned. Her fear wasn’t unfounded, he’d conceded that. Nonetheless, he hated to see her hurting.
“I’m fine,” she whispered back. “Go back to bed.”
The thickness of her voice, the quiet sniffle gave her away and he didn’t hesitate to open the door. He couldn’t have begun to imagine why she was crying, however.
There were drops of fresh blood in the sink and a scalpel next to the faucet. Her left hand pressed a washcloth to the back of her neck. In her right hand, a pair of surgical tweezers holding the key to her survival. Her eyes, wide and teary, met his in the mirror.
“I had to,” she whimpered. “I had to take it out.”
“God, Scully. What did you do?” he said as he rushed to her side.
“It’s how they found us out there, I know it is,” she said holding the tweezers like they held nuclear waste rather than the chip that had been keeping her alive.
He took them from her trembling hand. “We gotta get you to your doctor, they have to put this back in.”
He glanced over his shoulder, making sure that the baby had not stirred. Her eyes were wild and shadowed as if she was seeing things in that little chip that he never could. Everything about her said she was in shock.
“Scully, you’re not thinking straight. This has to go back in.”
“Mulder, they used this thing to control me, to draw me out to that dam. What else will they do? What if they use it to get to him? What if they make me hurt him?” she asked, pleading with him to listen to her.
“I would never let that happen,” he said as he gently set the chip and tweezers on the counter. He pulled her close to him. “I would never let anything happen to either of you.”
“You can’t protect him or me, with this thing still in me, Mulder. And you know it.”
“And if you get sick, then what?” he asked as he pulled back and tipped her chin up so he could look her in the eye.
“Then I die, Mulder. And you raise our son.”
So matter of fact. So practical. As if his entire existence wasn’t dependent on her.
“I can’t,” he sighed, blinking tears out of his eyes. “I can’t live without you.”
He pulled her back into his arms, pressing his hand over the bloody washcloth.
“Then I won’t die,” she said with a soft sniffle.
A thin cry emanated from the bedroom. She sighed and looked up at him, a sad little smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. He nodded, realizing that there would be no more discussion. Her mind was made up.
He followed her into the bedroom, holding the washcloth against the wound on her neck. She lifted the baby from his bassinet and the three of them settled on the bed. She fed him and rocked him, so peaceful and serene. He wanted to freeze the moment in amber and wear it around his neck forever.
“We just sat there and stared at you until the sun came up. We left that day and didn’t look back. She lived…she lives for you, William.”
The boy blinked tears out of his eyes.
“She loves you too much not to fight, son.”
William began to sob again. He wrapped his arms around him and folded him in against his chest. He’d become all long limbs and dense muscle in the last year, towering over his mother in even her tallest heels. He’d become big, but he was still just a child.
They sat huddled together for the better part of an hour, or maybe it was the worst part of an hour. When Maya approached, her mouth in a tight line, he felt his stomach drop.
“She’s conscious,” she said as she sat on a wobbly table in front of them.
“Is she lucid?”
Maya cracked a little smile. “Yes, and telling everyone what they ought to be doing.”
“What’s wrong with her?” Will asked.
“The labs point to a heart attack,” Maya answered softly.
Mulder’s mouth bobbed open and closed. “A heart attack? You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“So far, everything points to this being a cardiac event. We’ll take her up to the cath lab soon and then we’ll know a lot more.”
“She’s eaten nothing but kale for the last 5 years! She jogs 3 miles a day! This is crazy!” Mulder nearly shouted.
“She’s also a woman in her fifties with a family history of heart disease.The second she woke up, the first thing she said was that it was her heart, she knew.”
“What about the bloody nose?” William interjected.
“It’s not broken, but she took a hit when she collapsed. There’s going to be a pretty good bruise.”
“That’s why she was trying to get an aspirin,” Mulder sighed. “Not because her head hurt, because she knew she was having a heart attack…Jesus.”
“She’s asking for you,” Maya said.
They both stood and followed the petite nurse through the labyrinthine halls of the old hospital. He kept a hand on the boy’s back, an offer of support since he was unsure as to what kind of shape she would be in when they got to her. He had to suppress a small laugh when they reached the room. Through the window, he could see her sat up in the bed, reading her own EKG printout and had clearly stolen someone’s reading glasses to do so. The only thing that pointed to her being unwell were the monitors and the hospital gown.
She lit up like Yankee stadium when the two of them were ushered in. Will practically fell into her embrace.
“Mom,” he croaked into her sternum.
“Oh baby,” she sighed. “It’s okay. I’m okay.” He combed her fingers through his hair and kissed the crown of his head.
Mulder wrapped himself around the both of them. “You gave us a scare, there, Mom,” he murmured against her cheek.
“You weren’t the only one,” she sighed.
Two Weeks later:
“The salsa is store bought?” she mumbled past a rapidly disintegrating tortilla chip.
“Well,” he said as he plopped into the creaky sofa. “My plants haven’t been getting much attention.”
She shrugged, the collar of his borrowed Henley shirt exposing the pale skin of her clavicle and the garish bruise left over from her central line I.V.
“Do you want M&Ms in your popcorn, Mom?” Will called from the kitchen.
“Sure, why not?” she replied as she tucked her bare feet under her and leaned into Mulder.
“Yolo,” Mulder added flatly as he wrapped an arm over her shoulders and clasped her upper arm.
“Ugh, Dad. Just…don’t,” Will sighed as he sat next to Scully.
“I don’t think anyone says, ‘yolo’ anymore,” Scully said gently, an impish smile tugging at her lips.
Mulder shrugged and dug a hand into the popcorn bowl, snatching a few M&Ms.
“What are we watching?” William asked as he fiddled with the remote.
“You didn’t want to go out tonight, sweetie?”
“Nah, it’s movie night. Besides, you just got home.”
She had come through the front door for the first time in 10 days just a few days before, sporting all kinds of bruising and a brand new stent. The heart attack came not from high cholesterol or blood pressure, but a malformed cardiac artery. There was nothing she or anyone could have done to prevent it. She’d gotten lucky, the cardiologist explained that a cardiac arrest from this sort of defect was often sudden and fatal. The fact that she was in excellent shape had likely saved her life.
“You’ve got the remote,” Mulder said. “You choose.”
Will grinned and clicked through the options.
“This one’s a classic,” Will said as he made his selection.
“Fast and Furious?” Scully asked with a chuckle.
“I’m getting a car like that when I get my license,” he said as he tossed a popcorn kernel into his mouth.
“I’ll bet you get the most out of it on all these dirt roads,” Mulder added sardonically.
“You’d be better off with a little pickup or an SUV,” she said.
“Just let me dream a little,” he said with a smile.
Mulder squeezed her arm and smiled down at her.
“Always,” she said as she reached out and patted his leg.