Beyond this account of their tragically curtailed friendship and their brief, painful reunion, My Friend Anne Frank, written with Dina Kraft, is as much Hannah’s story as it is Anne Frank’s ... Pick-Goslar certainly has a story, and she tells it here with great clarity and conviction. In many ways her experience parallels Anne Frank’s ... Much of Pick-Goslar’s account may seem familiar to those who have read widely about Frank. So, I suppose the question arises: Do we really need another Anne Frank book? To which I would offer an unequivocal yes ... She has a story, a piece of history, and she tells it straightforwardly and well. She describes, touchingly, and as very people few could, what it was like to read Anne’s diary after having known its author.
The title of Pick-Goslar’s memoir, My Friend Anne Frank, is misleading and – however unintentionally – does it a disservice. This is not really the story of Frank, who achieved posthumous fame through the diary she kept while in hiding, even though, as a neighbour and close friend of the author, she is a significant presence in the first third of the book. It is, in fact, the vivid and extraordinary story of Pick-Goslar ... Pick-Goslar, who was increasingly frail and would speak for two hours at a time before stopping to nap, died last October, just two weeks shy of her 94th birthday. In finishing the book without her, Kraft has done her proud.
Dina Kraft, who worked with her on the book, is to be thanked, along with Hannah’s family, for ensuring that this memoir exists at all. Pick-Goslar worked incredibly hard at Holocaust education, but it would have been a loss if there were no book to capture the tale. And Kraft should also be thanked for making a good job of it. She has clearly relied on documentary evidence as well as Pick-Goslar’s recall, but she does so in a way that strengthens the book without losing Pick-Goslar’s voice. The facts and the personal memories are integrated well. The book is readable and moving.
This book is well worth reading. It is deeply moving, beautifully written and, yes, you will need a tissue or two to get through it. But if you are one of the few people who have never read Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl, then you should read it, or re-read it, before opening Hannah Pick-Goslar’s remarkable memoir ... Pick-Goslar’s autobiography was written well after the war. Born in Berlin in 1928, she died aged 93 in Jerusalem last October. This story, very much her own, was co-written and edited with deft compassion and diligence by journalist Dian Kraft. It is as moving as Anne’s because not only did they play together as children, but Hannah knows how it ends.