We All Wore Stars: Mem­o­ries of Anne Frank from Her Classmates

Theo Coster
  • Review
By – November 1, 2011
In 1941, the Nazis sep­a­rat­ed all Jew­ish stu­dents and made them attend a spe­cial school, the Ams­ter­dam Jew­ish Lyceum. Theo Coster was a stu­dent at this school and one of his class­mates was Anne Frank. His fam­i­ly went into hid­ing, but unlike the Franks, they all sur­vived. He returned to Ams­ter­dam, fin­ished his uni­ver­si­ty stud­ies, and immi­grat­ed to Israel, where he mar­ried and became a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man. In 2001, Dienke Hondius wrote a book about the Lyceum and invit­ed any sur­viv­ing stu­dents to attend the launch par­ty. Real­iz­ing that all of the sur­vivors were now in their eight­ies, he decid­ed to make a film to doc­u­ment their mem­o­ries of the war and their impres­sions of Anne. This book is based on the 1995 film, The Class­mates of Anne Frank. It intro­duces read­ers to a remark­able group of peo­ple who remem­ber Anne as vain and gen­er­ous, ordi­nary and cre­ative, rebel­lious and pre­co­cious. Not­ing that the sit­u­a­tion caused chil­dren to grow up quick­ly, this book becomes a trib­ute to their resilience. Among Anne’s class­mates are Albert Gomes de Mesqui­ta, who hid in ten dif­fer­ent towns across Europe dur­ing the war, and Han­nah Goslar, who sur­vived the hor­rors of Bergen Belsen and recon­nect­ed with Anne just before her death. This is a won­der­ful chance for read­ers to learn more about Anne Frank as well as to meet oth­er chil­dren who survived.
Bar­bara M. Bibel is a librar­i­an at the Oak­land Pub­lic Library in Oak­land, CA; and at Con­gre­ga­tion Netiv­ot Shalom, Berke­ley, CA.

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