Paper Sky

Paper Sky: What Happened After Anne Frank’s Diary Ended by: Beth Jacobs What happens after the most famous diary in the world ends? Anne Frank’s diary ended on August 1, 1944, but her life continued for seven more months. In this meticulously researched portrayal of those months, the end of Anne Frank’s life story is imagined through her eyes. From the “secret annex,” the family journeys to Westerbork Transit Camp and then is on the last train from Westerbork to Auschwitz, before they are separated. Anne and her sister, Margot, end up at Bergen-Belsen, where they barely lose the race against time and die shortly before the end of the war. Read and accompany the real person through this sad, short journey. $ 5.99 - BUY BOOK

What happens after the most famous diary in the world ends?  Anne Frank’s diary ended on August 1, 1944, but her life continued for seven more months.  In this meticulously researched portrayal of those months, the end of Anne Frank’s life story is imagined through her eyes.  From the “secret annex,” the family journeys to Westerbork Transit Camp and then is on the last train from Westerbork to Auschwitz, before they are separated.  Anne and her sister, Margot, end up at Bergen-Belsen, where they barely lose the race against time and die shortly before the end of the war.  Read and accompany the real person through this sad, short journey.

Testimonials

Beth Jacobs’ Paper Sky is a powerful addition to the works of those artists and writers from around the world, who, more than half a century later, continue to be inspired by Anne Frank’s diaries.  Haunted by the Gestapo’s brutal scattering of Anne’s precious pages and the forced cessation of Anne’s voice after the family’s arrest and deportation, Jacobs re-creates Anne’s voice as she continues to confide in her beloved Kitty.  With stubs of pencils on scraps of paper, Anne records, with clarity and compassion, what she sees and experiences in the unimaginable circumstances of the camps.  In this important addition, Jacobs allows Anne the voice that the Nazis cut off while she was still living; here, so long as Anne lives, she speaks.

― Evelyn Torton Beck, Ph.D. Professor Emerita, Women’s Studies and Jewish Studies, University of Maryland

 

I began reading The Paper Sky with trepidation.   How could anyone capture the mental and emotional turmoil of someone facing daily life in a concentration camp, especially Anne Frank – the young girl the world has come to love for her courage, her honesty, and her hope? This author felt a calling- through extensive research she was able to imagine Anne Frank’s life in the camps up to her death through continuing Anne’s diary.  She felt it was important to reveal the whole truth of what happened, not only to Anne, but to the thousands of children who were forcibly taken to the camps.  We need to hear this…to imagine with her and open our minds and hearts to the evil that human beings are capable of…and the courage of spirit that even such a young girl is capable of…Our commitment is ‘to never forget’ and yet it is easy to distance from this reality and not really feel it. This book is a significant contribution to the Holocaust literature and a must read.

― Doralee Grindler Katonah, Psy.D, M.Div. is adjunct faculty at Sofia University/The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, CA.  She is a clinical psychologist who offers spiritually integrated psychotherapy.  She has taught internationally and has published in the area of somatic psychology.  Doralee is a practitioner of Zen Buddhism for many years.

 

Highly imaginative, sensitive, and thoughtful book from a talented writer.

― Paul C. Cooper “Choshi” (New York, N.Y.)

 

There is something so very intimate about reading someone’s diary, yet millions of us have in fact read Anne Frank’s diary.  Now Beth Jacobs, in her newly released book Paper Sky,  reaches even deeper into that intimacy of Anne’s heart by following her after the August 4, 1944 arrest of the small group living in that secret Amsterdam annex.

Jacobs’ exhaustive research is apparent with every entry in this continuing diary as she follows Anne and her family for nearly 8 months, until Anne’s death at the German Bergen-Belsen camps.  

On July 15, 1944, Anne wrote, I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty, too, shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.”  

However, that peace and tranquility was not the case for Anne and her family.  In Paper Sky, Jacobs reveals her acute awareness of Anne’s every -often times- conflicting human emotions, of every holocaust scene, that somehow we don’t want to see.  We feel our own senses ignited by the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of the camps.  The lice quickly multiple, leaving us scratching and checking to make sure there is nothing on our own arms or legs.  

We experience with Anne a sense of freedom following their arrest that quickly turns to her longing for that small attic.  We are led to understand the constant game of ‘musical chairs’ expertly played to stay out of harm’s way, off the trains and to remain upright during roll calls.   We also understand Anne’s gentle awareness of the sudden smallness of her loving father Pim, as he struggles to protect his family.  

I find one of the most interesting parts of Paper Sky is Anne’s relationship to her beloved Kitty.  A relationship that changes over the months from Kitty being the one she shares her innermost thoughts with, to a Kitty that comforts and protects her, to Anne’s need to protect and comfort Kitty.  Kitty becomes the source of Anne’s sanity. Ultimately, without even the tiniest scrape of paper to write on, Anne and Kitty become one, watching the world slip away.  

You will walk away from reading this book, both longing to taste freedom and the final ending of this story, and the longing to keep that diary, scattered on the annex floor so long ago, safely locked away following Anne’s last entry.

― Rev. Tricia L. Teater, MPA, Director and Head Priest, Udumbara Zen Center, Evanston, Il.

Excerpts from Paper Sky

The Frank family was first sent to a transit camp in Holland where conditions were relatively tolerable and writing supplies were probably available:

Being at Westerbork is filled with extremes of happiness and despair.  Sometimes feeling the hot wind rolling off the heath and moving my hair and touching my cheek feels like the most beautiful blessing imaginable.  Then I walk into the barracks where the three-tiered endless rows of rickety metal beds seem to extend into infinity.  I wonder where the base of reality is and how I can ever manage experiencing such disparate emotions and seeing so much more than I can ever comprehend.  I will save my descriptions of this place for hopefully another day, as I am exhausted from my third day of work separating batteries.  I am so afraid, yet so relieved; to run, to see the sky change through the day, to speak loudly, to see new faces.  

At the moment that Mr. Kugler walked into the Secret Annex followed by the German soldier with his gun and the five Dutch police, I thought life was over.  A flood of images washed over me even as I froze in place.  I felt the incredible shock of that moment, but with a smoldering core of familiar inevitability and resignation.  Even as Mummy sank into the chair and Margot’s eyes welled with tears, I knew that this was always going to happen, would never not happen, was going to keep happening forever and I knew what to do.  I was like a sleepwalker moving through gelatinous fluid while my mind was flashing with the sharpness of Daddy’s razor blade.  It was over.  The long wait, the stretched hope, the endless days of safety and frustrating confinement, every false alarm and moment of heart-pounding anxiety, come to its natural and yet inconceivable end.

kitty kitty kitty kitty

help me kitty kitty kitty

kitty kitty kitty kitty

kitty kitty kitty kitty

pretty nifty swift and icky

wipe away the day of missing

kitty don’t you even listen

kitty kitty kity kitty

kitty kitty kitty kitty

mouth is dry, taste is gritty

kitty kitty kitty kitty

water, ouch, that person hit me

kitty kitty kitty kitty

kitty kitty kitty kitty

Later, at Bergen-Belsen, it is unlikely that Anne would be writing, but she might be thinking to Kitty as her situation deteriorated:

I have not felt well and the infirmary is full so I can lie on the bunk during the day.  Then I can really count the ripples in the ceiling well.  Margot and I are near the door and all day and night I have to call out to people to close the door.  Still the draught comes in and hits my skin.  I am far away from my skin now so that helps.  My toe is black.  The shoes I have had the top cut out.  Probably for a growing child.  Now I have a black toe and Janny says she will fix it after the war.

We go and see the Dutch children some days.  I rub their backs and tell them stories I remember.  I do not make up stories because they end up going sad and the children are already very, very sad.  They don’t know where their parents are and I at least know Mummy is waiting for me in Birkenau.  They are all eyes and at night in my dreams sometimes they come to me only as large, round, dark eyes, blinking and blinking in disbelief.

Beth Jacobs is a published writer of non-fiction and poetry.  She is also a psychologist who studies and supports the profound value of personal journaling,

For further information, or for a free copy of Paper Sky for library use, please contact her at paperskythebook@gmail.com.