Treasures from the Attic: The Extraordinary Story of Anne Frank's Family

Mirjam Pressler, with Gerti Elias, trans. from the German by Damion Searls. Doubleday, $28.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-385-53339-3
With her famous diary of life in the "secret annex," Anne Frank provided an achingly personal account of the terrors of the Holocaust and an intimate look at much of her family, particularly her cousin Buddy. Some of these figures have remained shadowy for years, but the 2001 discovery of over 6,000 new documents—letters, family histories, and poems—create a wider narrative history of the Franks, and reveal young Anne—who she was, where she came from, her legacy—with much more scope and clarity than before. Pressler, co-editor (with Otto Frank) of the excellent 1995 edition of Frank's diary, deftly takes readers through the family, from matriarch Alice to aunt Helene to family members living today, like Buddy's wife Gertrude (who discovered the new documents in Helene's attic). Though the narrative can occasionally get lost jumping across time, it's never less than compelling. Readers unfamiliar with the diary may have some initial trouble understanding the significance of particular family members, but Pressler shows excellent editorial sense in organizing a massive array of documents. This is a valuable addition to the Anne Frank story. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 05/02/2011
Release date: 04/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
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