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June 12, 2009

In de gloria
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 06:38 PM * 38 comments

Anne Frank would have been 80 years old today.

Here in the Netherlands, the usual birthday song is not related to Happy Birthday to You. Instead, they sing:

Lang zal je leven
Lang zal je leven
Lang zal je leven in de gloria,
In de gloria.

Long will you live,
Long will you live,
Long will you live in glory
In glory.

She did not, of course, live long. But as the news tonight said, as a voice against anti-Semitism, racism and fascism, she is even now in glory.

Comments on In de gloria:
#1 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 06:56 PM:

Does 'glory' imply fame or heaven there?

#2 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 07:01 PM:

It means honored among those of good will, xeger, whether you believe in Heaven or not.

#3 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 07:03 PM:

The feel I get is that it was originally religious. But my Dutch dictionary defines "de gloria" only in terms of this song, and my guesses are pretty amateurish.

Any native speakers know?

#4 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 07:03 PM:

Xopher, tread gently.

#5 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 07:03 PM:

Xopher @ 2 ...
Ah, nice! It seemed to me that it was likely something along those lines :)

#6 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 07:09 PM:

(the 'honoured among those of good will', that is)

#7 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 07:10 PM:

Hmm, abi, I could see how you'd read me as a bit harsh there, especially after my reason spasm of bad behavior. xeger seems to have taken that as I meant it though.

Still, let me try again: For a person who is alive, it means that they will be held in affection and respect by all who know them, and accomplish their most spectacular goals. For a person who is dead, it means they are remembered with affection and respect, and with great honor for what they accomplished in life.

In addition, people of good will who believe in Heaven are almost certain to believe that Anne Frank has a place among the blessed.

#8 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 07:18 PM:

Do you like that better? It's what I meant.

#9 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 07:21 PM:

Xopher @7:

I think that's a good summary of the ambiguity of "gloria", at least as I see it. It's both meanings, the mundane and the religious.

#10 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 07:57 PM:

Janet Langhart Cohen has a play, Anne & Emmett, where Anne Frank and Emmett Till meet and talk in a place called Memory. It was supposed to be read at the Holocaust Museum Wednesday.

#11 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 08:36 PM:

Marilee: that is both incredibly painful and a token of how sorely needed such reaffirmations still are.

#12 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 09:35 PM:

Just think of the books she could have written, had she lived just a few months longer, to be liberated.

#13 ::: Michael C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2009, 11:49 PM:

For your pleasure, here's a version of the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTeBi5ZJ8t8

#14 ::: paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 12:16 AM:

It's a zipper song, that different lyrics can be zipped in as long as they scan. Great idea, great fun.

#15 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 12:24 AM:

I've often thought how fortuitous it was that her diary was found and published so soon after the war. She became a symbol of the Holocaust, and so much a part of the mainstream culture of Western Europe and America that her name and story have remained current. Because she will always be remembered at the same age, she has put a young and innocent face on the victims, so that she can't be ignored by later generations the way that, for instance, Elie Wiesel could be ignored as irrevalent by young people who are a quarter his age now.

#16 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 05:29 AM:

Gloria does have religious, specifically Christian, undertones. In de Gloria Excelsis Deo and all that. But apart from the birthday song plus the occasional psalm you won't really see it used in Dutch.

Often this song will be song in the third person btw: "Lang zal ze leven", or "Lang zal hij leven"; the standard joke lyrics go "Veel zal ze geven" ("She'll give us much") in the second line and it's traditional not so much to end the song as to let it awkwardly peter out amidst some unnecessary tempo changes, or at least it is in our family...

#17 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 05:36 AM:

15, Bruce: I've problems with calling the survival of Anne's diary fortuitous, as it implies it was a matter of luck, rather than hard work and determination on the part of Miep Gies and Otto Frank. The first rescued the family papers from their hiding place, the second made the difficult and courageous decision to publish the diary only two years after he himself returned from the death camps that killed Anne and his other relatives, at a time when nobody really wanted to know much about it.

#18 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 08:04 AM:

Re: #17
I think the song should apply to them too.

#19 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 08:40 AM:

Martin #16: Gloria does have religious, specifically Christian, undertones.

And yet it also has mythological links to older forms of "holiness", especially though the "memory" aspect. I'm thinking especially of the Greek kleos -- usually translated as "fame", but the etymology leads to not only "clear", but "bright" -- like a star, visible to all. And yes, that was associated with both their worship as heroes, and their afterlife.

#20 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 08:56 AM:

It's weird to think of Anne Frank as being only 7 years younger than my Mom, had she lived. Because of the diary, she'll always be a young girl to those know of her.

#21 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 09:14 AM:

From Lisa Goldstein's The Red Magician...

They left the camp quickly, without looking back, and began to walk along the road to the train station. The road was hot and dusty and they rested often. Occasionally they passed soldiers on leave or refugees traveling in groups carrying all their possessions between them. No one stopped to look at them, the tall man in the long black coat and the pale young woman in the new town-bought dress and shoes.

Kicsi thought that none of this could be real - not the people, or the well-kept houses, or the trees and shrubs flowering by the roadside. Sometimes when she passed a soldier, she marveled that there could be anyone so healthy left in the world.


#22 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 09:59 AM:

Did anyone ever do an alt. history where Anne Frank lived, and what sort of changes she might have brought?
[adds the diary to reading list]

#23 ::: Merav ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 12:58 PM:

Happy birthday Anne. Thank you for writing to us. I'm just sorry we can't write back.

#24 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 01:50 PM:

#22: There's Philip Roth's "The Ghost Writer". But she wasn't really Anne.

#25 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 02:01 PM:

Angiportus: Twilight Zone magazine published a story wherein Frank escaped Holland before the invasion and went to Hollywood, where she became an actress and starred in The Wizard Of OZ.

There hasn't been a story where she survived the camps. I wonder if she would have published her Diary had she lived.

#26 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 02:54 PM:

I should clarify. I haven't heard of a story where she survived the camps.

I remember seeing an Oprah Winfrey episode a few years ago where Elie Weisel toured Auschwitz with her. He swore then that it would be his last time there.

#27 ::: Tse ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 05:14 PM:

#25 I wonder if she would have published her Diary had she lived.

She would have. There's a part in the diary where she refers to a call on Radio Orange (Dutch underground radio broadcast from England) that the government wanted people who wrote diaries to keep them for publishing after the war.
Anne specifically rewrote sections of her diary after that to make it better suited for publishing.

#28 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 08:19 PM:

Sandra Meisel referred to a timeline where the adult Anne Frank won a prize for her writing, in Shaman (previously Dreamrider).

#29 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 10:18 PM:

And I know they buried her body with others
Her sister and mother and 500 families
And will she remember me 50 years later
I wished I could save her in some sort of time machine
Know all your enemies
We know who our enemies are

(Context, for those who need it.)

#30 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2009, 11:36 PM:

Martin @ 17:

I can understand your problem with the word "fortuitous". What I meant to say was that the world was very lucky that her diary was found and published, not that it happened by random chance. Perhaps "fortunate for the world" would be a better way to say it.

#31 ::: Michael Turyn ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 02:16 PM:

Xoper @ 7:

I'm afraid that there are a fair number of people of good will who believe in Heaven who must, due to their religious training, believe that she is roasting in Hell even as we speak, or will after the Judgement, along with all of my ancestors and most of anyone's.

I'd like to believe that anyone of good will could not believe so, but people who believe in many versions of eternal damnation have spent lives tending the sick, helping the poor, and so on, so I can't give it any credit.

Far from original: religion does a better job making good people monstrous than making bad people good.

Small good out of great evil: Anne's reference to her menstrual period was the first widespread acknowledgement of such in Japan, with the consequence that it (for awhile, at least) became known as 'Anne's Day' and could be discussed.

#32 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 07:06 PM:

#31, There are others whose religious training do not preclude Anne Frank from Heaven.

#33 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 07:16 PM:

I can't find the exact quote, but iirc it boils down to "Evil done in my name is still the work of the devil, and good done in the name of the devil is still my work".

#34 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 08:46 PM:

xeger @ 33 -- Are you thinking of Aslan's conversation with Emeth near the end of The Last Battle?

"Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath's sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted."

#35 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 09:21 PM:

Joel Polowin @ 34 ...
By the looks of it I'm thinking of something along the lines of Matthew 7:15-23. Definitely New Testament, one way or another (which seems apropos for CS Lewis).

#36 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 09:44 PM:

xeger, #33: Mercedes Lackey quotes something similar from the Karsite holy book in her "Mage Storms" trilogy: "Good done in the name of another god is done for me, and evil done in my name is done for the darkest demons in Hell." But an exact Biblical reference would make a fine counter for people who use religious arguments to support evil actions.

#37 ::: ramsS ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 04:21 PM:

I saw Francine Prose speak in May; her current project is a study of the three Anne Frank diaries: the original one, the complete rewrite she did after hearing the broadcast (she took Peter out) and the version her father did for publication (he put Peter back in.) She's convinced that the diary deserves to be taken seriously as a text (or set of texts) -- the book should be interesting.

#38 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 07:00 PM:

Speaking of Emmett Till (#10 above):

Police find icon's casket, more empty plots at historic cemetery

# Police know of 30 more cases in which "crime scene is obvious," they say
# Sheriff: Casket from Emmett Till's burial found in garage with "wildlife living inside"
# Police: People finding headstones missing, graves empty or containing wrong body
# Cemetery office manager, three gravediggers charged with felonies

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