Rubin, Susan Goldman. 2009. The Anne Frank Case: Simon Wiesenthal's Search For The Truth. Illustrated by Bill Farnsworth. Holiday House. 40 pages.
I love finding great nonfiction picture books for older readers. Especially if they're Holocaust-related. Though this one is an illustrated book, don't mistake it for being for too young a crowd. The text is rich in detail. (And the content naturally leads itself to an older crowd--upper elementary to middle school, perhaps.)
One night in October 1958 at nine thirty, the phone rang in Simon Wiesenthal's apartment in Linz, Austria. "Can you come at once to the Landes Theater?" asked a friend, who sounded upset. Simon's friend told him that he was attending a performance of The Diary of Anne Frank. But it had been disrupted. "Traitors! Swindlers!" a group of teenagers had shouted at the actors, booing and hissing. The show had stopped as demonstrators dropped leaflets from the balcony that read: This play is a fraud. Anne Frank never existed....
The book follows what happens next. It follows Simon Wiesenthal's quest to "prove" that Anne Frank did exist. His goal? To find the Nazi SS officer who captured the Frank family. It's a journey that would take him several years. But that was part of his life's goal: to find Nazis and bring them to justice.
The book is interesting--as you'd expect it to be--and it's very beautifully done. I loved the ending as well.
When a fellow survivor from Mauthausen congratulated Simon on his detective work, he said, "If you had gone back to building houses, you'd be a millionaire. Why didn't you?" Simon replied, "When we come to the other world and meet the millions of Jews who died in the camps and they ask us, 'What have you done?' there will be many answers...But I will say, 'I didn't forget you.'"
That's a wow moment for me. How about you?
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews