In April of 1940, a few months before Adolf Hitler ordered Jews in Germany to wear yellow stars, a 10-year-old girl in Amsterdam sent a postcard to her pen pal in Iowa.
“This picture shows one of the many old canals of Amsterdam,” she wrote. “But this is only one of the old city. There are also big canals and over all those canals are bridges. There are about 340 bridges within the city.”
In the annals of postcard writing, this one is not particularly memorable. Amsterdam, bridges, big canals. Standard pen pal fare. What makes this postcard noteworthy is the writer and the future she could not imagine.
It is signed . . . Anne Frank.
The postcard is included in a new book, “Anne Frank: The Collected Works,” a 733-page historical volume that collects everything Anne wrote before her family was found hiding in an office annex in Amsterdam and taken to concentration camps. Only her father, Otto, survived.
From a postcard to grandma in the summer of 1942: “The weather is glorious and we’re out on an excursion, and because there are such nice postcards we thought of you.”
There are no more letters or postcards after that one. In a matter of weeks, the Frank family went into hiding.
“All the best,” she wrote. “Anne.”