Letty Cottin Pogrebin

Letty Cottin Pogrebin is the author of the novel. Three Daughters and the memoir Deborah, Golda, and Me; Being Female and Jewish in America.

I read the diary when it was first published in the United ( States in 1952. I was 13 and dreamed of becoming a journalist or writer. Anne was 14 and dreamed of becoming a journalist or writer. I remember thinking that I could have been Anne had my grandparents not been driven out of Eastern Europe in the early years of the 20th century by anti-Semitism, economic duress, and the spectre of pogroms.

I read the book in one sitting in the backyard of my sister’s house in Peekskill, New York. My sister, 14 years my senior, had two children, and I was supposed to be minding them, but I was a criminally negligent babysitter that day, so mesmerizing was Anne’s story. When I looked up from the last page, I realized that my two little nephews, who’d been playing virtually unsupervised, would probably not exist had my grandparents not had the courage to leave their shtetl for the New World. It struck me as tragically ironic that an earlier persecution of the Jews was responsible for my family being safe in America while Anne and her family had been hiding in an attic in Amsterdam.