Anne Frank in a photograph at her grammar school in Amsterdam, and a similar image in ‘Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation,’ published in English in 2018 (courtesy: Anne Frank Fonds)
Packed with lavish illustrations and a pinch of sauciness, “Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation” manages to give readers a more intimate take on the diarist than most of its cinematic and stage predecessors.
The graphic novel adaptation was a years-long labor of love for Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman. Oscar-nominated for his Lebanon War-based “Waltz with Bashir,” Folman approached the acclaimed “Diary of a Young Girl” with caution.
“If we were to illustrate the entire text in a graphic rendition it would require the better part of a decade and likely be 3,500 pages long,” said Folman in a Q&A released by publisher Pantheon. “The trickiest task, then, would be to retain roughly only 5 percent of Anne’s original diary while still being faithful to the entire work,” said Folman, whose parents survived the Holocaust.
Published in English this week, the Anne Frank graphic novel came out in Israel and parts of Europe last year. There is, however, very little context about the genocide of Europe’s Jews within the novel’s 160 pages. Folman is currently working on a full-length animated film adaptation, set for release next year, that will paint a broader picture.
For his partner on the novel, Folman chose David Polonsky, an award-winning children’s illustrator who also worked on “Waltz with Bashir.” Together, the artists brought visual expression to Frank’s cutting observations of those around her.
“I think her power was the way she could observe the world of the adults surrounding her, because she did not have a normal maturation process in hiding,” said Folman, adding that the teen was “unbelievably intelligent and in many ways funny.”
In terms of the diary’s iconic nature, Folman attempted to check some of his reverence for Anne Frank at the door.
“I tried to disconnect from the issue of what it means to deal with ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ as much as I could, because I think the more you are frightened by the iconization of the literary piece, the more you are paralyzed,” said Folman. “We also did a lot of research to find good solutions within the framework we had to stay in.”
‘A bit like an homage’
Despite the text limitations of a graphic novel, Folman and Polonsky created a more detailed portrait of Anne Frank than is typically offered by adapters of her diary.
Notably, the novel fleshes out the personality of Margot, Frank’s older sister who is rarely given much to do on stage or screen. A series of intimate letters exchanged between the sisters about Anne’s burgeoning romance with Peter is included, and the Frank sisters’ competing traits are cleverly illustrated in a page labelled, “It’s always about me and my sister.”
According to Folman, “Anne’s repeated — and unresolved — comparisons throughout the diary on her ‘problematic’ self with her ‘perfect’ sister Margot, we chose to encapsulate on a single graphic page that visualizes the contrasts.”
Image from ‘Anne Frank’s DiYour Profileary: The Graphic Adaptation’ (courtesy: Anne Frank Fonds)
Folman did not skirt around Frank’s anxiety and depression, portraying the diarist taking Valerian pills and waking up from nightmares. To help express her moods, the creators deployed — for example — a morphing of her angst-ridden face with Dali’s “The Scream.”
Some of the diarist’s nightmares are depicted in grimy detail, including the image of a flooded Amsterdam in which the “Secret Annex” inhabitants would have to swim. A scene of Anne and Margot “fishing” children from the canal to clean them offers comic relief, as does the notion of Mrs. van Pels “hiding another Jewish family” within the confines of her tooth cavity, as expressed by dentist Fritz Pfeffer.
An image from ‘Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation,’ 2018 (courtesy: Anne Frank Fonds)
“The diary as a book itself is alive — it has a lot of humor… it will not disappear, it will not be replaced,” said Polonsky in the Pantheon Q&A. “It is a beautiful work by a beautiful person. We are thinking of it a bit like an homage, and the best thing we can do is just carry on this spirit and treat it as a work of art, and I am not afraid to say that it should even have a bit of entertainment.”
‘Did you see that pair of melons she’s sprouted?’
Although there have been quite a few graphic and comic-based diary adaptations over the years, this is the first to have been produced in partnership with the Anne Frank Fonds. Based in Basel, the foundation was set up by Anne’s father, Otto Frank, to carry on her legacy.
As holders of the rights to Anne’s writings, the Fonds allowed Folman and Polonsky not only use of the text, but the ability to switch some of what Anne wrote into modern lexicon.
Ari Folman (left) and David Polonsky (courtesy: Anne Frank Fonds)
In all probability, for example, Anne never referred to Mrs. van Pels as “a diva from hell.” Likewise, it’s hard to imagine Peter whispering “Penis!” to Anne from across the dinner table, in front of both families, during the pair’s courtship.
Other memorable touches include Anne burning Dr. Pfeffer’s underpants after he lazily leaves a pair of them on top of her diary, as well as a glimpse into a short story Anne wrote called “Cady’s Life,” in which a young woman is released from an asylum to discover her boyfriend is a Nazi.
Among scenes of despair in the Annex, there are office thefts, illnesses, and a handful of bodily function jokes — known to have been a favorite of Otto Frank’s — to break up the gloom. Among the giggle-inducing one-liners, Anne comments about a girl, “Did you see that pair of melons she’s sprouted?”
The ‘lost’ seven months
Only a few of the novel’s 160 pages are devoted to illustrating the plight of Dutch Jews under Nazi occupation, including the deportation and murder of more than 100,000 members of the community.
Importantly, the adaptation includes depictions of the Jews’ exclusion from Dutch society under Nazi rule. Later, there are scenes of “round-ups” in Amsterdam, during which Jews were arrested for deportation. However, very little context about the Holocaust is given apart from an image of cattle cars — with actual cattle boarding them — and another of a death camp that resembles a bungalow. While adult fans of the diary do not need historical context, they are not the target audience.
A photo of Anne Frank at the opening of the 2009 exhibition: ‘Anne Frank, a History for Today,’ at the Westerbork Remembrance Centre in Hooghalen, northeast Netherlands. (AP Photo/Bas Czerwinski, File)
Despite meticulous research, a few mistakes made it into “The Graphic Adaptation.” For example, the Frank family is shown celebrating Hanukkah with a large Christmas tree in their pre-war apartment. Although the family celebrated Christmas with their Dutch “helpers” during the hiding period, the Franks did not celebrate Christmas in their pre-war home, much less with a tall, well-decorated tree next to the menorah.
According to reports, Folman’s animated film will not be based on the diary alone. Rather, the plot involves Frank’s fictional friend “Kitty” — for whom she named the diary — coming to life in the present day. Within the framework of Kitty attempting to discover what happened to Anne, the last seven months of the diarist’s life will be recreated.
Unlike the graphic novel, the film will focus on what took place after the Annex Jews were captured by the SS and Dutch Nazis on August 4, 1944.
Teaching about the Holocaust’s mechanisms “[was] not above everything else” in creating the graphic novel, said Folman. The upcoming film, however, is based on the testimony of survivors who saw Anne Frank during the final months of her life. As such, viewers will be taken far from her comforting letters to Kitty, the diary to which she never returned.
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration — which seeks to criminalize criticism of migration — is nothing more or less than a dangerous effort to weaken national borders, to normalize mass migration, to blur the line between legal and illegal immigration, and to bolster the idea that people claiming to be refugees enjoy a panoply of rights in countries where they have never before set foot.
One thing about the agreement, in any event, is irrefutable: almost nobody in the Western world has been clamoring for this. It is, quite simply, a project of the globalist elites. It is a UN power-grab.
The waterfront in the Chilean city of Valdivia. Photo: Arvid Puschnig via Wikimedia Commons.
Top Jewish groups have welcomed a Chilean government decision made earlier this week to ban municipalities across the country from boycotting Israel.
The ruling — issued by the Comptroller General of Chile – stemmed from a complaint filed by the Chilean Jewish community over a move of the Valdivia municipality to ban the city from signing contracts with Israel-linked companies.
New immigrants to Israel arrive at Ben-Gurion International Airport, Aug. 17, 2016. Photo: Reuters / Baz Ratner.
A top Israeli minister called on the government on Sunday to craft a “comprehensive plan” to encourage the aliyah of French Jews.
In Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett’s view, there has been a “historic missed opportunity” in recent years to bring more French Jews to Israel as immigrants.
“There are 200,000 French Jews who want to come here, and the state bureaucracies simply aren’t prepared for it,” Bennett, who also serves as education minister and head of the right-wing HaBayit HaYehudi party, claimed at a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. “These are ethical people, Zionists, lovers of the Jewish people and the Land of Israel, and it is our moral obligation to help them.”
Israel has started uncovering and destroying Hezbollah’s attack tunnels under the Lebanese border, but destroying the group’s ambitious precision missile project will be much more difficult.
The Israel Defense Forces placed a camera into Hezbollah’s secret cross-border attack tunnel before sunrise on Dec. 4. They pushed it into the Lebanese side, under the Blue Line that separates the two countries. At dawn, two Hezbollah operatives reached the spot on their morning rounds. In the video disseminated by the IDF on Tuesday evening, one of the operatives is seen approaching the camera with suspicion. He stuck his nose in its direction and started to sniff around until something exploded in his face and he ran back the way he’d comVisibilitye.
The timing of Operation Northern Shield, to destroy Hezbollah tunnels leading from Lebanon into Israel, suggests that considerations other than security were behind the decision to launch it.
An Israeli commando from Yahalom, an engineering unit, takes part in a tunnel-hunting drill near Tel Aviv, March 7, 2012.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech to Likud activists on Dec. 2 that was both defensive and combative toward law enforcement authorities. He complained about the supposedly suspicious timing of the police announcement recommending his indictment for taking bribes in Case 4000, coming as it did one day before Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh concluded his term in office.
This week, for the first time, Israel made public its discovery of the tunnel constructed by Hezbollah and reaching into Israel’s sovereign territory. This brought to an end a long period during which a large number of Israelis living in communities adjacent to the Lebanese border reported hearing sounds of digging as well as feeling tremors in the walls of their homes.
Attack tunnels are intended to allow for significant numbers of armed infantry bearing weapons, artillery and supplies, to traverse them within a minimal time span, avoiding Israeli lookouts and thereby gaining the element of surprise.
Last Saturday, Iran’s “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani called Israel “a cancerous tumor” in a speech at the regime’s annual Islamic Unity Conference.
Rouhani’s fellow speakers included deputy Hezbollah chief Naim Qassem and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh. Both terror bosses called for the destruction of the “cancerous tumor.”
With the predictability of a Swiss clock, the Europeans rushed to condemn Rouhani. The EU in Brussels condemned Rouhani. The German Foreign Ministry condemned Rouhani. And so on and so forth.
We could have done without their statements.
It was clear that with the onset of Operation Northern Shield—meant to neutralize terror tunnels Hezbollah has constructed along the Israel-Lebanon border—some would call it a public relations stunt by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Those who believe the timing of the police’s recommendations in Case 4000—announced on the last day of Roni Alsheikh’s tenure as the police commissioner—was reasonable, somehow complain about the timing of the operation.
On Sunday evening, December 2, the people of Sderot, Israel – a town located a mere kilometer from the Gaza border – gathered to light the first candle of the town’s menorah to commemorate the first day of Hanukkah. Jews around the world celebrate this holiday, which marks the time some two millennia ago when the Jews regained control of Jerusalem and rededicated the Second Temple.
What makes the candle lighting in Sderot worth mentioning is the fact that it is particularly symbolic of how the Jewish spirit looks for ways to turn tragedy into triumph.
This is obviously a short-lived honeymoon that will end the day after the UN General Assembly vote on the anti-Hamas resolution. The morning after the vote, Abbas will wake up to the realization that Hamas was a strange bedfellow indeed.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s hatred of Hamas is far from secret. But Abbas is now defending Hamas because he despises the Trump administration, which has sponsored a UN draft resolution that condemns Hamas. Pictured: Abbas (right) meets with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on May 30, 2007 in the Gaza Strip. (Photo by Abu Askar/PPO via Getty Images)