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Survivors tell a new generation about Anne Frank

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'She was attractive and opinionated'

April 20, 1997
Web posted at: 11:39 p.m. EDT (0339 GMT)

From Correspondent Cynthia Tornquist

NEW BRUNSWICK, New Jersey (CNN) -- In 1942 Anne Frank stood up Ed Silverberg for a date.

"I had an appointment to see her in the afternoon," Silverberg says. "I rang the doorbell and the door was not answered."

Silverberg was the last to see Anne Frank publicly before she and her family went into hiding from the Nazis.

"The Diary of Anne Frank" -- Anne's private writings during the two years she and her family hid from the Nazis -- was published in 1947. The diary -- and the hope and fear expressed by the young girl -- has become one of the war's most vivid stories.

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Silverberg kept his friendship with Anne a secret for 50 years until recently, when he agreed to participate in a film project in which witnesses to the war, especially those who knew Anne, share their memories.

"And Then They Came for Me" is a mixed-media spin-off of "The Diary of Anne Frank." The production has toured schools throughout New Jersey and puts a human face on an event that might otherwise be seen by students as just another chapter in their history books.

"I think what theater can do very uniquely is to make it personal, immediate and to find the heart of that story," says director Susan Kerner.


'She was attractive and opinionated'

The production features the experiences of Silverberg and Eva Schloss, who lived across the street from Anne in Amsterdam. Schloss later gained a closer tie with the Frank family when her mother married Otto Frank -- Anne's father -- after World War II.

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"We were both 11 years old when we met," Schloss says. "She was a lively girl and a little more mature than average girls of that age."

In the show, interviews with Schloss and Silverberg are interspersed with wartime photographs, while actors recreate how the Schloss family fled Brussels and took refuge in Amsterdam.

"Two years we were in hiding, until May '44, and then we were betrayed by a Dutch nurse who worked as a double agent," Schloss says. "We were all rounded up and sent to (the) Auschwitz (concentration camp)."

Silverberg escaped to Belgium, but he never saw Anne again. Captured by the Nazis in 1944, she died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

But he remembers her. "She was attractive and opinionated," Silverberg says. "She was a communicator."

 
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