Author(s): Ellen Feldman
"We have records of what happened to all the inhabitants of the secret annexe except Peter." (A tour guide on Anne Frank's House, January 1994) On 16 February 1944, Peter, Anne Frank's closest confidant in the Secret Annex, declared to her that if he got out alive, he would reinvent himself entirely; no one would ever know who he was, or where he had been. This is the story of what might have happened if the boy in hiding had survived the horror. After the war, Peter van Pels leaves liberated Europe and its ghosts behind him and makes for the United States, the land of self-invention; there, he flourishes in business, marries and raises a family. He lives in the present and plans for the future; for him, the past does not exist. But Peter's carefully constructed life is broken apart when The Diary of a Young Girl is published and becomes a sensation all over the world. Peter sees his past being adapted, distorted, argued over and endlessly reinterpreted, until the dissonance between his present and former lives sparks a crisis he cannot suppress.