Notes and shorts from around the world
Anne Frank not betrayed?
It has long been assumed that police were acting on a tip-off when, on
4 August 1944, they raided a building in Amsterdam and arrested Anne Frank, her family and four other Jews. All were sent to Auschwitz, and only one – Anne's father, Otto – survived the War. But almost 72 years after Anne's death from typhus in Bergen-Belsen, historians have put forward an alternative theory: that the secret annexe in which the Franks hid from the Nazis for two years was found by chance, by police investigating another matter.
In her diary, Anne wrote that two men who worked in the building had been arrested for ration fraud. Quite possibly, the raid was triggered by their activities. In support of this theory, the historians note that the arresting officers were not usually involved in hunting Jews and that they spent two hours in the warehouse – a long time to arrest eight people.
The city of rats and smog
In a blow to its reputation for refinement and glamour, the French capital has been obliged to close several tourist attractions and five public parks to combat
a plague of rats. The rat population in Paris is thought to be more than 4 million –
significantly outnumbering the 2.2 million human Parisians. The city mayor's office has conceded that total “de-ratisation” is an impossibility but as part of its anti-rat campaign it will be closing large open spaces such as the Champ de Mars under the Eiffel Tower, installing new, rat-proof litter bins and initiating a program of environmentally friendly rat traps. Separately, Paris suffered its worst winter air pollution in a decade recently, when the cold air trapped car exhaust fumes, wood smoke and other particles. Public transport was made free to use and half of all cars were banned from the roads.
Culture for mice
Sharp-eyed pedestrians in the Swedish city of Malmö have been beguiled by a miniature street scene, created, apparently, for the local mouse population. Built into a wall, it features a tiny shop called Noix de Vie (nuts of life) with a window display of pistachios, almonds and hazelnuts, an Italian restaurant with crackers and cheese on the menu and a tiny exterior table, and various posters advertising local events, including the screening of a horror film called Night of the Were-rat.
Taking the Mick
“After someone said Mick Jagger's rugged physiognomy probably mostly comprised laughter lines, the comedian George Melly replied, 'Nothing is that funny.' ” – from Tony, Hove, East Sussex, UK
“Love is so short; forgetting is so long.”
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