Dear Justin Bieber: A Letter from Anne Frank

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Kristin Farr/KQED Arts

Anne Frank weighs in on the Biebs' latest controversy, writing he hoped Anne would have been "a Belieber" in the guestbook at the teenage author and Holocaust victim's place of hiding in Amsterdam.

Dear Justin Bieber,

I bet I'm the last person you expected to hear from! As you may (or may not) know, I died a few weeks before the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp 68 years ago, after my family was betrayed in our hiding space by a still unknown person. You do know that, right? I'm only asking because your air of obliviousness after visiting the house in Amsterdam where I hid with my family to avoid Nazi persecution suggests you probably have not read my world famous The Diary of a Young Girl or are all that familiar with my fate. I'm usually not a letter writer... history shows I preferred to compose my thoughts in diary form. But for you, Herr Bieber, I'm making an exception.

When you visited the building where I lived in hiding, now known as the Anne Frank House, and were confronted with my original diary pages, the everyday objects the residents of the annex used to keep some semblance of normalcy during a time of such fear and the stories of the people who lived there and eventually perished in the concentration camps (the only survivor from that attic was my father, Otto Frank, who published my diary and helped add a human voice and face to the countless victims of Hitler's campaign against the peoples of Europe) you wrote the following in the guest book:

“Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a Belieber.”


Where to begin?

First of all, thanks for calling me "a great girl." Also, congratulations on knowing how to read and write. Now that pleasantries are aside, let's get to the real topic at hand: Would I, Anne Frank, author of one of the most famous personal documents written by a victim of the Holocaust (get an assistant to Wikipedia it if the word is unfamiliar) and subject of countless films, plays, documentaries and histories, have been a "Belieber?"

In a word, no. I, Anne Frank, do not "Belieb." Putting aside the fact that you thought it was appropriate to inject references to your own fandom into the guestbook at one of the most famous locations associated with the human cost of WWII, and the tremendous ego you must be in possession of to turn a trip to a place of such reverence into another public relations blitz, I'm just not into your music. I suffered a lot in my short life at the hands of ignorant goyum, what do I have to listen to "Smile" or "Baby" for? I already know that life isn't fair and is filled with pain: your music would just reinforce that. Besides, truth be told, another Justin long ago captured my fancy.

I, Anne Frank, am a HUGE Justin Timberlake fan.

Where to begin on the topic of JT? First of all, have you heard his new album, The 20/20 Experience? Is there anything that man can't do? He sings, he writes his own music, he dances (all that boy band training from his N'Sync days really paid off), he acts, he's a great comedian and best of all, when he visits famous historical sights he doesn't put his foot in it the way some performers do (ahem). You, on the other hand, keep changing your haircuts. I love the new album, but for me nothing will ever top his solo debut Justified. That album has both Cry Me a River and Rock Your Body on it. He could have just made that one album and as far as I'm concerned his legacy would have been guaranteed. Yes, it's been hard to wait the last few years for The 20/20 Experience to be released while JT made movies (loved him in The Social Network) and other, lesser artists seemed to release new albums biweekly (again, ahem), but good music is worth the wait. Also, there's just something about the way he looks at Jessica Biel where you know he's a good guy. Ask your ex, Selena Gomez, about that. I bet JT read my diary... I also fully approve of him not giving his fans some weird moniker like "Timberlakers" or "Justices." I would have happily decoupaged Justin Timberlake's photos on my attic walls. You know, if not for my family's betrayal, capture by Nazis and my death from typhus.

I'm sure you'll end up taking a lot of flack for the comments you wrote in the Anne Frank House guestbook. Maybe now would be the time to exit the public eye for a few months and learn a little about what is and is not appropriate to put in writing about Holocaust victims, or really the victims of any genocides. With that in mind, please avoid trips to Rwanda, Armenia, the Sudan, South Africa... well, maybe just stay in Canada for a while. Your fans, the "Beliebers" of which I am not one, are coming to your defense by pointing out that you're only 19-years-old and can't be expected to be worldly about all things all the time.

I'm only 15 and think I would have known better.


Anne Frank

P.S. In spite of everything, I still believe (notice, "believe" spelled correctly) that people are really good at heart.