Anne Reincarnated

Since today is Throwback Thursday as well as Anne Frank’s birthday, I want to share a story to tie them both together.  As I’ve said before, my grandparents raised me.  My grandfather was stationed in Japan during World War II, then he and the family lived in different areas of the Far East during the reconstruction years following the war.  So growing up, my house was filled with Oriental and Asian furniture, paintings, knickknacks, and other keepsakes.  I heard a lot of firsthand stories about Japan during wartime.

My grandma had a large family, and all but one of her many brothers were stationed in either Asia or Europe.  She had one brother who was a German prisoner of war for more than two years.  But my grandma was an odd woman.  She was very tight-lipped and secretive about just about everything.  So, getting any stories of Germany out of her was like getting military secrets out of Hitler himself.  In fact, the only thing she did ever share about it was that every week she’d go to the store and buy a carton of cigarettes to send her brother because he could trade them for something or other while he was in the prison camp.  (After I got older, I found it particularly odd that the foreign prisoners of war were treated better than the Jewish citizens of Germany!)

Now, while all this talk was going on during my childhood, I attended a private Christian school.  And at school, we didn’t focus on such things as World History or American History.  We focused on Biblical History.  So, yes, learning about ancient Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams of a bajillion years ago took precedent over the more recent Word War.  (No offense intended either to God or the dream-plagued king.) 

As such, I really had no idea about German or Italian involvement in the war (so I was obviously not a fan of Hogan’s Heroes)… until the fourth grade, when my teacher, Mrs. O’Brian, assigned us to read Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl.  I was hooked!  I thought Anne was just about the bravest girl to ever have lived!

And now comes the odd part…  I’ve told you before that because of my Asperger’s Syndrome, I don’t have very good facial recognition.  Well, keep that in mind…

My grandparents had a child who was just over a year older than my birth mom.  Her name was Dawn, and she died from a hole in her heart early in 1962, shortly after her 14th birthday.  There were photos of her all over my house when I was growing up.  And after I read Anne Frank’s Diary, I was convinced that Anne (who died in 1945) had somehow reincarnated (even though at Christian school such thoughts were a HUGE no-no!) herself into my aunt who I’d never met and who was born four years after Anne’s death.

And BELOW (hopefully), you’ll see why.  The top two pictures are Anne Frank.  The bottom photo is of Dawn.  Am I wrong to have thought (actually I still think) they look amazingly alike?

Anne Frank

Anne Frank

Aunt Dawn

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41 thoughts on “Anne Reincarnated

  1. Thank you Rachel, for sharing this wellwritten and interesting story!
    I agree! Your aunt Dawn looked very much like Anne Frank. I don’t think you have to be an asperger to see that.
    On the other hand I too have some asperger in me. Mayby thats why I see it like you. Don’t know.
    It has just never occured to me that my aspie might give me “problems” recognizing people in the way you describe. I forget names, on anything! People, streets, books etc.
    Thank you! Also for the insight!

  2. This story is amazing! Yes, she looks very much like Anne Frank, it’s scary. Wow! I don’t think I have Aspergers, but I have something. Maybe I’m just different. :). I love people who have Aspergers they are normal to me. Well, I get along with those that I know.

  3. You are certainly not wrong to think that your aunt Dawn and Anne Frank look alike–I would even be bold enough to say that they are twins!

    • Today was the first time when I opened an email that said you liked something that it had links to your blog. Every time before it just had your photo but nothing to click on. Otherwise I would have liked and followed you sooner. 🙂

  4. Striking similarities between the two – not just in looks but in character it seems: both had suffered and yet both have a captivating, charming smile on their faces.

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