Reading Anne Frank at a New Stage of COVID

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, a handful of writers found solace and inspiration in Anne Frank. PJ Grisar of the Jewish Daily Forward, essayist Leigh Stein, and others wrote about how "the world [looked] to Anne Frank" during the first wave of the crisis (Grisar) and how her experiences contrasted with and mirrored our own.

Two years later, Anne Frank and her "mirror" have not gone away. Some continue looking to her for inspiration, while others, such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., compare living as an unvaccinated American to living as a Holocaust victim, thereby stirring controversy and anger. But no matter how Anne Frank fits into the pandemic landscape, she remains a major part of it for many people.

How do you think readings and discussions of Anne Frank’s diary will change as the pandemic enters a new stage and hopefully ends soon? Why do you think she resonates, even though comparing our situation to the Holocaust and Nazi Germany is rightfully offensive? Are there examples of classic or current fiction that could be read alongside Anne Frank as a study of the pandemic, lockdowns, and similar situations? Discuss.

  • Oooo I like this. I think adding the being cooped up inside and the antisemitic parallels to this article would really set it off. What we deal with is always compared to the past, but in this case, it’s usually in a wrong way and racist. Diving into this would be great and produce such a good story – mynameisarianna 7 months ago

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