Day in History 12 March – Anne Frank – John Cazale

On this approximate day in 1945, victim of the Holocaust and diarist, Anne Frank, died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Lower Saxony, Nazi Germany at the age of 15.  Born Annelies Marie Frank on 12 June 1929 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.  The Frank family moved from Germany to Amsterdam in 1933, the year the Nazis gained control over Germany.  By the beginning of 1940, they were trapped in Amsterdam by the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.  As persecutions of the Jewish population increased in July 1942, the family went into hiding in the hidden rooms of Anne’s father, Otto Frank’s, office building.  After two years, the group was betrayed and transported to concentration camps.  Anne and her sister, Margot, were eventually transferred to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where they both died of typhus in March 1945.  Otto, the only survivor of the family, returned to Amsterdam after the war to find that Anne’s diary had been saved, and his efforts led to its publication in 1947.  It was translated from its original Dutch and first published in English in 1952 as The Diary of a Young Girl. The diary, which was given to Anne on her 13th birthday, chronicles her life from 12 June 1942 until 1 August 1944.  The Final Footprint – Anne and her sister Margot were buried in a mass grave at Bergen-Belsen, the exact whereabouts are not known.  A memorial to the sisters has been erected there.  A bronze statue of Anne was erected outside the Westerkerk in Amsterdam.  A bronze plaque in Anne’s memory was placed at Beth Olam Cemetery in Los Angeles.  The plaque has the term of endearment; A Star shines in the dark.  The plaque also has a picture of Anne cast into the bronze and the following inscription from her diary; “This is a photo as I wish I still was.  If so, I would still have a chance to come to Hollywood.”


John_CazaleOn this day in 1978, actor John Cazale died in New York City from lung cancer at the age of 42.  Born John Holland Cazale on 12 August 1935 in Revere, Massachusetts.  Perhaps best known for his role as Michael Corleone’s big brother Fredo in Francis Ford Coppola‘s Godfather films.  During his six-year film career he appeared in five films, each nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture: The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon and The Deer Hunter.  He appeared in archival footage in The Godfather III, which was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.  He is the only actor to have this multi-film distinction.  His life and career are profiled in the documentary film, I Knew It Was You, directed by Richard Shepard, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.  Cazale was in a relationship with actress Meryl Streep at the time of his death.  The Final Footprint – Cazale was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Malden, Massachusetts.

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