Hiding in Plain Sight:
What if Anne Frank’s Sister Survived the Holocaust?
By Neely Kennedy
In the October Ladies' Home Journal Book Club selection Margot, seasoned teen and adult novelist Jillian Cantor continues the story of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl. Cantor’s imagining focuses on Anne’s sister, Margot, and the fictional premise that she survived the holocaust and lived in Post-War America under the assumed Gentile name Margie Franklin. Desperate not to be discovered, but desperately wanting to reveal herself to the man she loves, Margie struggles to hide her true identity, a burden that becomes increasingly difficult when the film adaption of Anne’s diary is released in 1959 and talk of it is everywhere.
Below are examples of Margie’s identity crisis as she silently suffers from the memories of the painfully real past, while Americans are haunted with an idealized and muddled version of what really happened.
“Perhaps he would look at me and say now that he understands that you really cannot hide forever, even in your mind. A hiding space can only remain secret for so long. That always, eventually, you are discovered.”
“I loved her and I resented her. I failed her and I miss her. She died too young. She was murdered. I writhe in guilt. But my mouth says nothing.”
“He raises his eyebrows as if I’ve confused him, and then I know it: I’ve said too much. I’d opened myself for a moment, and then I’d forgotten to close back up again.”
“As a liar, a pretend person, you cannot really truly ever be someone’s friend. My American life, it is lonely. Often, it is very, very lonely.”
“But sometimes I cannot tell what to believe. Sometimes, the only thing I’m sure is real is the thick dark ink on my arm, and that is only because it is permanent, inerasable, unchangeable.”
“I do not want to talk to the rabbi, a Jewish man of God. I feel he might look at me, maybe the way Bryda has looked, and call me a snake. It is so much easier to hide, to slip inside a second skin, so you can simply avoid anything that falls around the first skin.”
BOOK CLUB BONUS: Write a private journal entry about something about yourself or your past that you hide to most people. Does keeping this hidden make you feel secure or vulnerable?
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