This film recently came to my attention and caused me to reconsider several questions and points which have been considered previously in posts on this blog. The film, “Anne Frank Remembered” was written and directed by Jon Blair. (© The Jon Blair Film Company Ltd. 1995, in association with the BBC and the Disney Channel, part of the Sony Picture Classics collection) The documentary is a moving account of the life and death of Anne Frank as told by her writings and several survivors as well as footage of her father, Otto Frank.
My earliest memories of learning about Anne Frank were from a play that my elementary class attended in Abingdon, VA. This may have been in the seventh or eighth grade. I don’t remember much about that evening, but I came away with a sense that there was a lot more to the story than could be portrayed on stage. There were terms used and concepts portrayed that I knew nothing about. What I have learned since then as well as in this film confirmed those thoughts.
Before I go further, let me acknowledge that the direction I am headed in this post will be doubted by some and scoffed by others. Members of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) of which I was a part of for many years, will no doubt mock and scoff at many of my observations and conclusions. I would/will not be surprised since when I was in that group, my reactions to such conclusions would have been the same. This is only confirmed in my thinking by the continued cooperation between the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) group and WOFF. From a connection with Leigh Valentine, WOFF has become a part of CUFI and has displayed their “Holocaust Museum” exhibit at a few CUFI conferences.
As expressed in previous posts, this is to my utter amazement. Why? It is because after leaving WOFF and taking a critical look at my time there, I see the utter hypocrisy of WOFF teachers and students claiming to be studying the events and happenings surrounding World War II and the Holocaust. Actually, while I was in WOFF, I took the Holocaust class taught by one of their leaders through a local community college over the Internet. It was informative, but I did not make the obvious connections to the restrictions put on the Jews in Germany and the restrictions put on WOFF members in certain areas. Why? Because in studying the Holocaust, the ending overshadows the beginning in many ways. Many observers and students see the millions of deaths and lives lost or changed forever and forget that the rise of Hitler was gradual, as were the restrictions he placed on the Jews. Who in their right mind would correlate the restrictions placed on WOFF members with the death images seen in post war films and concentration camp pictures? I am not making that connection with this post. I am willing to make the connection with the step by step restrictions and regulations placed the Jews in Germany with the controls placed on WOFF members. Allow me to explain.
In chapter four of the film, the family of Anne Frank had already moved to Holland. The narrator is referencing the German effects in Holland and begins by saying, “The German vice tightened gradually. But, first they conducted a hearts and minds campaign to win over the Dutch”. Is anyone surprised? Hitler was the Propaganda Minister before he came to power and the leader of Germany. Does this sound like “love bombing”? “To the Jews it was another story, as one by one their freedom(s) were restricted by a never ending series of decrees, already familiar in Germany and other conquered territories. By 1942, no area of Jewish life was excluded from German control.” At this point in the film, the voices of survivors begin to describe life in Holland for the Jews. “Everything that was fun in life was forbidden. You were not allowed any more to go to park or to go a swimming pool. You were not allowed to go to shops, only to Jewish shops and only between 3 and 5. Eight o’clock in the evening, you had to be at home. You had to wear the star. You had to always have something with you, they would look if you are Jewish or not, even if you had the star…. You were frightened, you would not go out, only to school and home and that was it. How one of the friends of Anne said, “Everything I did, I was afraid it was forbidden”. Another survivor is shown saying, “Well, the effects of these restrictions, was I think mainly because it came inch by inch very slowly, uhh, if that is all, we can bear it… We always tried to put the best spin on whatever happened. And that way, I think we tried to ward off thinking about how we were being more and more restricted and what was going to be sure to come afterwards.”
I am fully aware that there is much more material in this film than I can cover in this post. Many other analogies and comparisons can be made and may be made in future posts. This post is just meant to concentrate on these few aspects of the German controls put on the Jews and those put on WOFF members. First, let’s recognize that in both instances, the Jews in Germany (along other conquered countries) and WOFF; the restrictions came gradually.
In a resource found here: http://tinyurl.com/4b58ko4 – The first reference of a boycott of Jewish shops is listed as April 1, 1933. In the film, 1942 is listed as the year when, “…no area of Jewish life was excluded from German control.” Nine years is gradual as I see it. Do you agree?
My time under the teachings of Jane Whaley was from 1992 to 2008. During those years, the list of rules would grow as the months and years passed and new revelations of sin and how to live in “holy righteous living” would come. Many times, in Sunday evening services, there would be family meetings and new rules would hatch. These new rules would be the new emphasis until the next new set of rules would be decreed. One service could have several areas affected, especially during seminars. In contrast to the rules set down for Jews in Germany, the entire list of restrictions and rules for WOFFers was/is not written. This allows for easier control of members and easier re-writing of the rules and redefining of the meanings of the rules. The list has grown since my tour ended, I am sure. Jane Whaley or other leaders could correct regular member by saying, “You didn’t know? Where were you when God was speaking that to us? I remember that service.” The leader that taught the Holocaust class was famous for saying, “Why were you not convicted when you saw or heard that? I was as soon as I saw it?” She always portrayed herself and in tune with the newest and latest convictions that would bring the newest and latest restrictions. Odd, wouldn’t you say?
In agreement with the Holocaust survivor in the film who said, “We always tried to put the best spin on whatever happened. And that way, I think we tried to ward off thinking about how we were being more and more restricted…” I would have to say at WOFF, we did the same. The spin would include some reason why the newest restriction would be “pleasing to God” or “the way of holiness” or is the way to “fulfill our call”, or reflects God’s ways, or some such thing. After all while in WOFF, “I watched all the television I wanted to, I just did not want to watch any…” You could substitute any activity in that slot… movies, reading newspapers, visiting relatives, wearing certain clothes, celebrating holidays, having facial hair, sports or other recreational activities. Whatever Jane took away in the name of serving God, you rationalized how you did want that activity or thing- whatever it was, regardless of your true feelings. As in a previous post, I must ask, “Could/Can Jane make enough rules to change the hearts of her members?”
No one would deny that with these restrictions came fear. From Anne’s friend, “Everything I did, I was afraid it was forbidden”. So, for the Jews there was fear of Germans, fear of the future, fear of the unknown, fear of physical harm, fear of beatings and torture and certainly fear of being separated from family and friends as well as other fears which are too deep for us to know. For WOFF members, the fears are also many of the same as we have explained. These fears would include but not be limited to: fear of losing your family, your friends, your car, you house, your job, your health, your salvation, your “walk with God”, and fear of being put out of WOFF, fear of losing anything Jane had/has control over. I have recently written about the “fear-frames” and seeking “fear-relief” from Jane. This post follows that theme in certain ways. As mentioned, there is much more in this film and on this subject that could be shared. However, for this post, we concentrated on the restrictions on the Jews and the restrictions on WOFF members.
The following is a list of previous posts where the subject of the Holocaust or Adolph Hitler is mentioned.
WOFF Contradictions – Part 2 http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=2513
Information Control – Books -part 5 (cont.) http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=284
What Thoughts Helped Me Leave WOFF – Part 3 http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=1841
Dietrich Bonhoeffer- Voice of Dissent http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=3180
Adolph Hitler – “I am also religious, deeply and intrinsically religious.” http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=3290
What Are The Questions? (2) http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=3325 CUFI?
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