Katina's Reviews > We All Wore Stars: Memories of Anne Frank from Her Classmates

We All Wore Stars by Theo Coster
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Feb 07, 12

bookshelves: 2012

Theo Coster (who went to create the game "Guess Who?") was Anne Frank's classmate at one of the segregated school Jewish children were forced to attend during WWII in Amsterdam. This book retells the stories that Coster uncovered while he created a documentary to tell the stories of his and Anne's fellow former schoolmates. The concept of this book is probably better suited for film, but I enjoyed it anyway.

Of course, this book hammers in the importance of remembering and retelling stories of war and genocide. It also shed light on the wide variety of experiences that a particular group of children underwent during the Holocaust. Although the experiences certainly differed from child to child - often based on the good fortune of happening to have blonde hair or obtaining some random bureaucratic favor - all of these kids lost their childhood - whether they survived in hiding, survived the camps, or died. And all of them faced the world after the war with what seemed like very little support. I found this striking, and was also just appalled by the discussion of hunger and food shortages.

The book also offered some interesting critiques of the popularity of Anne Frank's diary. I hadn't thought about it, since I read the diary as a girl, but some of Anne's contemporaries raised a legitimate concern about the book gaining so much prominence because the Dutch want to believe that ordinary people did hide Jews and that the majority of them did not stand idly by and were not complicit in the genocide of 80% of Dutch Jews. This book gives lie to that myth and it would be a great follow-up for anyone reading the Diary for the first time.
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