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Victor Kugler: The Man Who Hid Anne Frank by…
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Victor Kugler: The Man Who Hid Anne Frank

by Rick Kardonne

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Most of us are very familiar with the story of Anne Frank, but many are left to wonder what happened to the man that hid Anne and her family. In the book authored by Rick Kardonne, we are walked through the history of Holland, especially it's state during the blemish of Nazism as well as Kuglers' early life and business life with Otto Frank. We then face the years of hiding through the eyes of Kugler, glimpse into Kugler's fond rememberance of the life that Anne exuded without even trying as well as harrowing days of effortlessly trying to protect the family. We then see the tragedy as the Annex is discovered. Most of the stories we read usually ends here, but Kardonne takes the reader on another adventure of arrests, imprisonment in concentration camps and escapes. The will to live for all the right reasons. The reader is even allowed to see the work that Eda Shapiro underwent to gain Kugler the recognition of Righteous Gentile by Yad Vashem. A must read for fans of Ms. Frank as well as for those fine men and women like Victor Kugler: the fearless, silent hero's. ( )
  elleayess | Sep 21, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I was 11 when I first read the story of Anne Frank. It was horrifying to think that a girl little older than me had to go through such hardship, and when I found out that she didn't survive, it struck an even deeper chord. It is because of Victor Kugler that the story of Anne Frank exists. I can't believe it has taken me 10 more years to discover his story, but I am glad that I was able to eventually read it.

The parts of this book that detail Kugler's life and gives us his own words are truly magnificent. I was disappointed to find that this wasn't the sole subject of the book. I did appreciate the historical context, because it helped me understand the atmosphere of Amsterdam and the Netherlands in general at the time of The Secret Annex. However, the information about various retellings of Anne Frank's stories is extensive and almost irrelevant (except when detailing Kugler's reactions to the adaptations).

The writing itself wasn't particularly interesting (it falls rather dry and flat), but the story is certainly one worth knowing about. ( )
  sedelia | Jun 19, 2010 |
Almost everyone knows the story of Anne Frank. Far fewer people know the story of one of the men who hid her and her family from the Gestapo for 2 years. The mere fact of having his story of bravery be told makes this book worthwhile.

Victor Kugler's story shines brightest when told in his own voice. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen very often. Large portions of the book are taken from the notes of Eda Shapiro, who interviewed Kugler late in his life. This is fine, as far as it goes, but Shapiro's words are also used to give us historical background information on topics such as WWII and the history of Jews in Holland. Surely a more authoritative source could have been found for these subjects.

At least this historical background is interesting. Not so the rest of the book's padding, including descriptions of various dramatic and musical productions of Anne Frank's story that Kugler attended and his reaction to them, and descriptions awards and honors that Kugler was given, including his inclusion among the Righteous Gentiles at Yad Vashem, all well-deserved. I could have lived with a lot less of this extraneous material, especially since Kugler's story stands so well on its own.

FTC disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for this review. ( )
  mzonderm | Dec 12, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Of interest primarily to those who just want to know all they can about Anne Frank and the stories surrounding the family. It's not the best written book I have ever read, but it does satisfy the itch to know about some of the unsung heroes who tried to save the Frank family. ( )
  DeputyHeadmistress | Nov 6, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Very interesting. A different view on the story we've all read.
  ninarucker | Oct 15, 2009 |
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Of all the personalities associated with Anne Frank, the most important figure, without whom Anne Frank would never have been able to write her diary, is perhaps the least known. He is Victor Kugler, the Mr. Kraler of the diary. The principal business partner of Otto Frank, Victor Kugler assumed managerial control of the Frank's Amsterdam spice-importing business when Nazi persecution forced the Frank family into hiding. It was Victor Kugler who kept the business going and obtained food rations under what was the harshest German wartime occupation in all of Western Europe. Without Victor Kugler, Anne Frank and her family would have starved to death a month after going into hiding. For this heroism, Victor Kugler himself was arrested and sent to a series of German labor camps in Holland where he survived by his wits and finally escaped a few weeks before the end of the war. Several years after the end of the war, when the Dutch spice business collapsed following the Indonesian revolution that nationalized Dutch holdings, Victor Kugler emigrated to Toronto, Canada. There, he led a quiet life where nobody knew who he was and what he had done during the war. Only twenty years later he began to reveal his story. The modern-day saga of this Righteous Gentile, who was honored as such at Israel s Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority, is told here in semi-documentary style, largely in his own words as told to Torontonian Eda Shapiro, herself of Eastern European Jewish background; and by many others who knew him, as compiled by well-known Toronto writer-journalist Rick Kardonne.… (more)

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