By W. Wade DeVinney
For The Diamondback
Around 20 people gathered in Taliaferro Hall Thursday to hear a discussion from the journalist who co-authored the story of Hannah Pick-Goslar, a friend of Anne Frank.
Dina Kraft, a journalist based in Tel Aviv, Israel, headlined the first major event in the Jewish studies and Israel studies library by speaking about the book and current issues facing the Jewish community.
Over a period of three months, Kraft visited Pick-Goslar to speak with her about her experience in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and her relationship with the famous diary author. She used these interviews to co-write Pick-Goslar’s official memoir, My Friend Anne Frank.
“Memoir is an act of creative nonfiction,” Kraft said. “So I had to imagine certain moments. But what was really helpful was reading as much as possible and getting as many real details as possible.”
Kraft read passages from the memoir to the audience, describing Pick-Goslar’s memories seeing her teacher burst into tears after his wife’s arrest and her last interaction with Anne Frank when she threw a sock full of food over a wall to her friend.
Amid a recent surge in violence in Israel and Palestine, Kraft said telling people’s stories and preserving their memory is more important than ever.
“How do we become memory keepers?” Kraft asked the audience. “How do we remember their stories once they are no longer here to bear witness for us?”
Maxine Grossman, associate Jewish studies professor and director of the Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies, said Kraft’s talk was a strong first event for the center.
“It’s incredible to be able to have a speaker who is so nuanced and thoughtful,” Grossman said. “I am really eager to work across departments and across campus to bring people together to think about difficult topics and exciting topics, and frankly to show how relevant the humanities are to our daily life.”
Kraft’s friend of more than 40 years, Joe Landson, attended the talk and enjoyed hearing the passages Kraft selected to share with the audience.
“I was very happy to hear from Dina,” Landson said. “I have the book. I think she read the passages with great sensitivity.”
Kraft said Pick-Goslar, who died in October 2022, had a strong sense of “shlichut,” a Hebrew word meaning an agency to be an emissary.
Kraft said she is carrying on her work with her own shlichut by interviewing more Holocaust survivors, including her own 95-year-old cousin. She said she hopes to complete a project about her family’s story in Italy in the early 20th century.