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更新时间:2016-8-29 18:48:52 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Anne Frank Today Is a Syrian Girl

AMSTERDAM — On April 30, 1941, a Jewish man here in Amsterdam wrote a desperate letter to an American friend, pleading for help emigrating to the United States.


“U.S.A. is the only country we could go to,” he wrote. “It is for the sake of the children mainly.”


A volunteer found that plea for help in 2005 when she was sorting old World War II refugee files in New York City. It looked like countless other files, until she saw the children’s names.


“Oh my God,” she said, “this is the Anne Frank file.” Along with the letter were many others by Otto Frank, frantically seeking help to flee Nazi persecution and obtain a visa to America, Britain or Cuba — but getting nowhere because of global indifference to Jewish refugees.

“天哪,”她说。“这是安妮‧弗兰克(Anne Frank)的档案。”和这封信归在一起的还有奥托‧弗兰克(Otto Frank)写的许多信件,他疯狂地求助,希望取得前往美国、英国,或古巴的签证,逃离纳粹迫害。然而,由于世界各国对犹太难民漠不关心,他四处碰壁。

We all know that the Frank children were murdered by the Nazis, but what is less known is the way Anne’s fate was sealed by a callous fear of refugees, among the world’s most desperate people.


Sound familiar?


President Obama vowed to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees — a tiny number, just one-fifth of 1 percent of the total — and Hillary Clinton suggested taking more. Donald Trump has repeatedly excoriated them for a willingness to welcome Syrians and has called for barring Muslims. Fears of terrorism have left Muslim refugees toxic in the West, and almost no one wants them any more than anyone wanted a German-Dutch teenager named Anne.


“No one takes their family into hiding in the heart of an occupied city unless they are out of options,” notes Mattie J. Bekink, a consultant at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. “No one takes their child on a flimsy boat to cross the Mediterranean unless they are desperate.”

“除非已经别无选择,没有人会想带着自己的家人躲在纳粹占领的城市中心。” 阿姆斯特丹安妮‧弗兰克之家博物馆(Anne Frank House)的顾问玛蒂‧J‧裴金(Mattie J. Bekink)指出。“也没有人会把自己的孩子带上一艘破船去横渡地中海,除非他们已经走投无路。”

The son of a World War II refugee myself, I’ve been researching the anti-refugee hysteria of the 1930s and ’40s. As Bekink suggests, the parallels to today are striking.


For the Frank family, a new life in America seemed feasible. Anne had studied English shorthand, and her father spoke English, had lived on West 71st Street in Manhattan, and had been a longtime friend of Nathan Straus Jr., an official in the Franklin Roosevelt administration.

对弗兰克一家人来说,在美国展开新生活似乎是可行之道。安妮学过英文速记,她的父亲会说英语,曾住在曼哈顿71西街,也是小内森‧施特劳斯(Nathan Straus Jr.)的老友。施特劳斯是富兰克林‧罗斯福(Franklin Roosevelt)政府的官员。

The obstacle was an American wariness toward refugees that outweighed sympathy. After the 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom against Jews, a poll found that 94 percent of Americans disapproved of Nazi treatment of Jews, but 72 percent still objected to admitting large numbers of Jews.


The reasons for the opposition then were the same as they are for rejecting Syrians or Hondurans today: We can’t afford it, we should look after Americans first, we can’t accept everybody, they’ll take American jobs, they’re dangerous and different.


“The United States, if it continues to be the world’s asylum and poorhouse, would soon wreck its present economic life,” the New York Chamber of Commerce warned in 1934.

“美国要是继续充当全世界的收容所、济贫院,很快就会毁了当今的经济生活,”纽约商会(New York Chamber of Commerce)在1934年时如此警告。

Some readers are objecting: But Jews weren’t a threat the way Syrian refugees are! In the 1930s and ’40s, though, a world war was underway and Jews were widely seen as potential Communists or even Nazis. There were widespread fears that Germany would infiltrate the U.S. with spies and saboteurs under the cover that they were Jewish refugees.


“When the safety of the country is imperiled, it seems fully justifiable to resolve any possible doubts in favor of the country, rather than in favor of the aliens,” the State Department instructed in 1941. The New York Times in 1938 quoted the granddaughter of President Ulysses S. Grant warning about “so-called Jewish refugees” and hinting that they were Communists “coming to this country to join the ranks of those who hate our institutions and want to overthrow them.”

“当国家安全岌岌可危,依照对国家有利而非对外国人有利的方式化解任何可能的疑难,这似乎是完全正当的,”美国国务院在1941年如此指示。《纽约时报》在1938年引述了格兰特(Ulysses S. Grant)总统的孙女的一段言论,让人提防“所谓的犹太难民”,并暗示这些人是共产党员,“来到我国是为加入那些憎恨我国体制并意图实施颠覆人的行列”。

News organizations didn’t do enough to humanize refugees and instead, tragically, helped spread xenophobia. The Times published a front-page article about the risks of Jews becoming Nazi spies, and The Washington Post published an editorial thanking the State Department for keeping out Nazis posing as refugees.

新闻机构对于呈现难民人性的一面非但做得不够,反而还为传播仇外心理推波助澜。《纽约时报》曾在头版文章里探讨犹太人成为纳粹间谍的风险;《华盛顿邮报》(Washington Post)则发表了社论,感谢国务院将乔装成难民的纳粹拒于门外。

In this political environment, officials and politicians lost all humanity.


“Let Europe take care of its own,” argued Senator Robert Reynolds, a North Carolina Democrat who also denounced Jews. Representative Stephen Pace, a Georgia Democrat, went a step further, introducing legislation calling for the deportation of “every alien in the United States.”

“让欧洲自力更生吧,”北卡罗来纳州的民主党参议员罗伯特‧雷诺兹(Robert Reynolds)这么主张;他也对犹太人加以谴责。佐治亚州的民主党众议员斯蒂芬‧佩斯(Stephen Pace)更进一步,提出立法,要将“美国境内的每一个外国人”都驱逐出境。

A State Department official, Breckinridge Long, systematically tightened rules on Jewish refugees. In this climate, Otto Frank was unable to get visas for his family members, who were victims in part of American paranoia, demagogy and indifference.

国务院官员布雷肯里奇·隆(Breckinridge Long)系统性地紧缩关于犹太难民的法规。在此种氛围下,奥托‧弗兰克无法取得签证,一家人遂成为美国人的善惊多疑、煽动民意与冷漠无情的受害者。

History rhymes. As I’ve periodically argued, President Obama’s reluctance to do more to try to end the slaughter in Syria casts a shadow on his legacy, and there’s simply no excuse for the world’s collective failure to ensure that Syrian refugee children in neighboring countries at least get schooling.


Today, to our shame, Anne Frank is a Syrian girl.