In an interview with Puncture magazine, when Mangum was asked about what influenced him to make an album centered on such a grim subject as the Holocaust, he spoke about the tremendous effect reading Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl had on him. “Next day I walked into a bookstore, and there was The Diary of Anne Frank. I’d never given it any thought before. Then I spent two days reading it and completely flipped out… spent about three days crying… It stuck with me for a long, long time” (Mangum “Dropping in at”). This sadness prompted Mangum to write “Holland 1945” and other subsequent songs on his sophomore album, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.
I've been searching for ways to express the feeling that has engulfed me for the past two years, and suddenly, there it is, in a song I've heard hundreds of times:
"But now we must pick up every piece / Of the life we used to love / Just to keep ourselves / At least enough to carry on."