Upwards of twenty people gathered both virtually and in the Meyerhoff Library space to hear a lecture from Dina Kraft, a writer and journalist from Tel Aviv on Thursday, Nov. 2. The lecture focused on the story of Hannah Pick-Goslar, a friend and “memory keeper” of Anne Frank.
Kraft explained that Pick-Goslar was Anne Frank’s childhood friend who “helped share the story that Anne did not get to tell.”
The widely known Holocaust account “The Diary of Anne Frank” ends with the last entry before the Nazi Party arrested the Frank family. Pick-Goslar’s story fills in the gaps in Anne Frank’s life before going into hiding and after her arrest.
The book tells the story of Hannah Pick-Goslar’s experiences from the Holocaust and her eventual reunion with Anne Frank in the concentration camps where Frank ultimately died.
In writing the book, Kraft describes, “I knew we were in a race against time, [Hannah] was still razor sharp of mind but increasingly frail body at 93.”
Hannah Pick-Goslar passed away last year on October 28th, 2022.
Kraft posed this question to the group:
“Hannah’s death leaves us with a question…how do we become memory keepers?” Kraft said.
In telling Pick-Goslar’s story, Kraft emphasizes the importance of keeping these stories alive so as to be “keepers of humanity.”
After the lecture, Andrew Weiss, an environmental science and technology major, said he is exploring what it means to be a memory keeper for himself.
“Looking at history through multiple lenses allows me and others to have more compassion generally and to aid in kind of a healing structure,” he said.
The speech was also rooted in the context of the current Israel-Hamas War. “We’re bearing witness to another very difficult time in history,” said Kraft.
She invoked Hannah Pick-Goslar’s belief that “when we believe people are all one thing or one way we lose our humanity.”
Kraft emphasized that the idea of becoming ‘memory keepers’ has taken on added urgency with the rise in all kinds of hate, including antisemitism.
Kraft mentioned she feels as though “history is folding in on itself.” Describing this as “how wounded the Jews feel when allies turn on them.”
“There’s an understanding that antisemitic tropes will be peddled by white supremacists but there’s extra alarm when those myths persist in those who live among us,” she said.
She added that the lives of many Israelis and Palestinians “just vanished” and that “we don’t even have the language yet to describe what happened and we’re also still living through it and there’s also an incredibly horrific death toll out of Gaza.”