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Course Description

Anne Frank: Her Diary in Perspective (3 cr.)
Bieneke Haitjema
GER-E 341 Dutch Culture: The Modern Netherlands #22982/ WEUR-W 405 Special Topics in West European Studies #22827 / WEUR-W 605 Selected Topics in West European Studies #22331
TR 4:00-5:15 / Films on R 7:15-9:15

The diary of Anne Frank, written in Amsterdam during World War II, has become a world classic and the most read book after the Bible. This course would like to put her book in the necessary perspective because to fully understand the significance of her diary, one has to do more than just read her diary.

First, we will look at the Jewish history of the Netherlands from the 16th century until now. We will also explore all aspects of WWII in the Netherlands:  what led the Dutch Jews and German Jewish refugees to believe (shared by the rest of the Dutch population)  that The Netherlands would be neutral in this world war and how the country would function as a safe haven to all of them; what differences were there between the Netherlands and other occupied countries; why was the resistance starting up so slowly; what concentration camps were in the Netherlands itself.

A large part of the course will involve the literary capacities of Anne Franks’ diary. Therefore, the different versions of her diary will be compared: her own texts (her first text and her own rewriting and editing), her other writings,  and other diaries written during the same time period  like Etty Hillesum’s and the prominent position of WWII in Dutch literature after the war. Last, but certainly not least, we will discuss the place and function of this diary in the world since its first publishing in 1947. We will view the movies and read theater plays made after the diary and study its significance in education.

Beginning Summer 2011: CASE S&H, CASE GCC
Before Summer 2011: S&H, CSB, JS Literature & the Arts, Language & Literature, or History & Society