On June 22nd, 2017, Chen was interviewed by Goel Pinto and Gili Izkiovitch on the Kan Culture radio station. The interview, which focused on Ruth’s, also aired on channel 1 on Israeli TV.

Kan in the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation.

Below you can listen/watch the interview in Hebrew. Scroll down for a transcript in English.

Video and audio –

(special thanks to Noy Drachman and Grace Frohlich for the technical help!)

Audio only (skip to 53:00) –



Goel: In this upcoming hour we’ll speak with Chen Drachman. She wrote a script to a film titled “What if Anne Frank was alive?” A film that’s still in the making, and production is raising funds. We will speak with her. What else do we have?


Goel: But first thing’s first, we start with…

Gili: Chen Drachman.

Goel: Chen Drachman, exactly.

Gili: Chen Drachman. Our internet snoop in order to find interesting cultural projects brought us upon this film project which seeks help in funding, and its name, its name alone was enough to pique our curiosity.  “What if Anne Frank was alive?”

Goel: That’s right.

Gili: So behind this project is an Israeli girl, Chen Drachman. She resides somewhere in the U.S. and we have her on the phone right now. Chen? Hello?

Chen: Hey there.

Goel: Oh, hello, we got you. Where are you at? Where in the world are you located?

Gili: Do tell us.

Chen: (laughs) I’m in New York.

Goel: And what time is it over there?

Chen: it’s 4 AM, you know, quite calm.

Goel: And why are up?

Gili: She can’t fall asleep.

Chen: What do you mean why am I up? So I can talk to you!

(Everyone laughs)

Goel: okay, let’s talk about the project. Truly, the moment we read about it we said we had to speak with this filmmaker, because its name alone was enough for us to become totally invested. So how did the idea come to be?

Chen: So first of all I’d like to clarify that the project’s title is Ruth’s, which sounds like the word roots in English. Um… how did it come to be? So the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam published a study two years ago. They… there’s new information that comes to the surface all the time, which is quite amazing, be it about her death, or things that have to do with the family, because it’s a mystery to this day. Did someone tell on them? Or was it something else? And specifically, two years ago a study was published that indeed provided new facts about her death and suggested that she passed away earlier than originally assumed. And that new conclusion was based on new testimonies by eye witnesses and people who described at which stage of the typhus disease she was.

Goel: Mmm.

Chen: The description of her physical condition was enough to suggest that the disease was in progressed stages early on, and it appears that she really passed away earlier than the originally assumed date range, and…

Goel: And that information makes you shut your “cinematic eyes” and you think to yourself… what exactly?

Chen: Yeah, having that information in mind, I thought to myself… that eye witness uses this term in her testimony, she says “this is where her trail runs cold,” and sadly, we are familiar with the grim reality, and we know that her trail ran cold because of extremely awful circumstances, but it made me think… that eyewitness’ phrasing, there’s something vague about it.

Gili: like Elvis.

Chen: Yeah, like Elvis, or Paul McCartney, what do we know? But yeah, that basically made all sorts of questions pop into my head such as “what if she hadn’t died?” Hypothetically, she could be out there, somewhere in the world, and we wouldn’t know. And, again, we know that sadly, that’s not how things unfolded,

Goel: Mmm.

Chen: But somehow that idea had a hold on me, questions like – if she were alive, where would she be today? What sort of person she’d be today…

Goel: And then you wrote a narrative script, and in its center we meet a family that visits the grandmother’s house to celebrate Passover Eve. And then the granddaughter asks herself “wait a second, maybe grandma is… Anne Frank?”

Chen: Yes, it was actually quite perfect, because the aforementioned study was published in April, so for me, timing wise, with Passover, it was perfect. Because yeah, they are visiting her for Passover Eve, and later that night the granddaughter goes downstairs for a glass of water, and she finds her grandmother listening to the news, the midnight news, and on there’s a news report about that study. And it’s not that the granddaughter suddenly thinks… the script implies that she and her brother had suspected for a few years, but this is a golden opportunity for her to bring it up, and so, yes, I think the highlight of the film is when the grandmother and granddaughter are having a conversation about this, and basically answer these very questions, why did she never tell anyone? And we’re getting some sort of a glimpse into what might’ve been and…

Gili: Why do you think the world is so fascinated with Anne Frank, Chen?

Chen: (sighs) A variety of reasons. First and foremost, it seems that we don’t necessarily learn the lessons history was meant to teach us, and we see quite a lot of it today. Mmm, and the fact that every time new information about the story comes to light, there are a lot of reports about it, well, A. it proves that there’s indeed interest, and B. she’s a sort of a symbol. Of the Holocaust, of what happens when hatred prevails, and that’s something the film touches upon. This is one of the reasons why she, in the film, that is, never revealed herself, because she knows she’s a symbol and she understands her importance as a symbol.

Gili: Mmm.

Chen: And she says, in the script, “Maybe I… maybe this is not my story, but it is the story of other girls,” because many didn’t survive. She might be a Holocaust survivor, in this specific scenario, but she doesn’t want to take away this important lesson her story teaches us.

Gili: Well, you know, I have a feeling this script… it’s on a somewhat of a happy note, and I wonder if… you know, you and I are talking, and I compared her to Elvis earlier… we’re talking and we have this tendency sometimes [in Israel] to lean toward dark humor. But how is this being perceived in the U.S.? Isn’t she too much of a taboo?

Chen: Well, um, first of all, I… a happy note? Um, maybe, you know… that’s coming from a place of optimism toward the world in general. The notion that the world as a whole wants, aspires to be a better place even if it doesn’t always work out. I wouldn’t say the script contains dark humor, mmm, but if you’re asking about the dealings with this subject matter in general, I think this is mostly about, you know, a matter of taste. The script got into a quite a few festivals, and then there are festivals it didn’t get into. So there are those who are intrigued by the subject because as far as they’re concerned the script makes us stop and think about things we should think about, and deal with ideas we should deal with. It’s not that the script…

Goel: Well sometimes people don’t invest in a script not because it doesn’t make you think but because we don’t like it that much.

Chen: Right, which is why I’m saying, this is totally a matter of taste. But the fact that it was already accepted to a handful of festival, and the fact, I hope, that I’m on the phone with you right now, means that apparently, people are interested in the core of the idea.

Goel: The idea is indeed very intriguing, the idea on its own, for sure is intriguing and that’s why you’re with us and we’re going to wish you much luck. Thank you very much, Chen Drachman and we hope that…

Chen: Wait, mind if I tell you where we’re raising funds?

Goel: Go ahead.

Chen: Where one can donate to the project if one feels inclined? The simplest way is to go to my website, which is www.chendrachman.com and at the top of the home page there’s a button that says “help us make a film.”

Goel: Alright, so simply go on your website. Chen Drachman, thank you for being with us.