WWII Diarists…Pocket Notebooks: http://ss1.us/a/cg8wfuqG
Two stand out diarists of the WWII period are Anne Frank and Roi Ottley. Anne Frank, her jewish family living much of their life near Amsterdam, died at the age of fifteen in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The diary she kept during the war and her families secret confinement, was returned to her father, who survived the camps, by the employees that helped hide them before their discovery in Nazi occupied Netherlands. The diary, like other famous historical journals, provides an invaluable window into the experience of thousands of other persecuted societies during the Nazi invasion of Europe and Russia. Anne Frank stands as a monument to hope in the face of despair. “Our many Jewish friends and acquaintances are being taken away in droves. The Gestapo is treating them very roughly and transporting them in cattle cars to Westerbork……We assume that most of them are being murdered. The English radio says they’re being gassed.” …“It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.”
Her writing stands in stark contrast to Joseph Goebbels, writing during the same period and providing a prime example of the dangers and power of demigods, in which blind worship and narcissism replace empathy and humanity, “Hitler is there. Great joy. He greets me like an old friend. And looks after me. How I love him! What a fellow! Then he speaks. How small I am. He gives me his photograph. With a greeting to the Rhineland. Heil Hitler! I want Hitler to be my friend. His photograph is on my desk.” Goebbels stands in contrast to, not just civilian victims of war but soldiers forced to fight immoral and disastrous outcomes. From the diary of Hayshi Ichizo, a Japanese kamikaze pilot or Divine Wind, “To be honest, I cannot say that the wish to die for the emperor is genuine, coming from my heart. However, it is decided for me that I die for the emperor.” “I dread death so much. And yet, it is already decided for us … Mother, I still want to be loved and spoiled by you. I want to be held in your arms and sleep.”
Roi Ottley was an author and WWII war correspondent reporting on historical events such as the Normandy Invasion, the hanging of Mussolini and interviews with important Allied leaders and politicians. His personal diary of the time, discovered after his death, provides historians with a journalistic depiction of race relations amongst Americans G.I’s stationed in Europe. His accounts include mess hall brawls between Southern white soldiers and their black counterparts, efforts to enforce Jim Crow regulations in Europe, British racism and lack of recognition for the contributions and heroism in all black regiments.
These invaluable personal accounts of historic periods, unedited and unfiltered, give us the purest renditions of history we can access. For this reason only, journaling becomes a vital, social and cultural activity worthy of our attention
Next….20th century diarists: artists and authors
For more on the art of journaling go to our how to page…. http://www.oberondesign.com/pages/all-about-journaling
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