Religion & Beliefs

One Woman’s Lifelong Grudge Against Anne Frank

Remembering the late Rabbi Helga Newmark, the only girl on the block not invited to Anne Frank’s birthday party Read More

By / March 13, 2012
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Today in Tablet Magazine, Betsy Morais remembers the time the late Helga Newmark—the first female Holocaust survivor to be ordained a rabbi, and the oldest graduate of the Hebrew Union College rabbinical school—visited her Hebrew School class:

Rabbi Newmark sat down to face us where we had gathered at a table stacked with empty pizza boxes. She looked to me then like a person for whom it is impossible to imagine eating anything without a fork. And then she told us: “Anne Frank was a brat.”

In the late 1930s—when Newmark was not much younger than I was upon hearing her tell the story many years later—she was living in a German-Jewish refugee neighborhood in Amsterdam, a few houses down from the Frank family. Their parents were friendly. Helga was three years younger than Anne, who had invited all the other girls from their block to her birthday party. “Everyone except me,” Newmark explained bitterly to my class.

Frank Talk [Tablet Magazine]

Photo: Anne Frank, second from the left, at her 10th birthday party in 1939 in Amsterdam. (Anne Frank Fonds)