I felt a bit emotional as I waved off the exhibition on May 14th. After three incredible months at Auckland War Memorial Museum, Anne Frank: Let Me Be Myself was packed, loaded and heading South. It seems like only weeks ago Mayor Phil Goff was cutting the metaphorical ribbon on this incredible installation, welcoming Anne Frank and all her wisdom not just to Auckland but to New Zealand, for a three-year tour of the regions. Now we are on to the next location already.
Here at Anne Frank NZ HQ, we can’t thank the Auckland War Memorial Museum enough for their incredible support and dedication to the exhibition. Their attention to detail, their passion and drive for success mirrored our own. From the creation of custom decals, to the fantastic educators supporting Auckland’s schools, the team at the museum have really made the most of their time with Anne Frank. Auckland has made the most of it too, with over 40,000 visitors viewing the exhibition in just three short months, including 10,000 school pupils – many of whom were guided by a team of their own trained peers.
The feedback we’ve had about the exhibition, the questions it has encouraged people to ask themselves and the reflections they’ve made on their own thoughts and actions, has been powerful to say the least. If we can get New Zealand thinking differently about prejudice, if we can get young Kiwis across the nation second guessing their own thoughts and actions and standing up to other people’s, then we can call this exhibition a success.
Anne Frank and her family exiled themselves to an attic, hiding for three years before being captured and sent to Nazi concentration camps. Their ‘crime’ was nothing more than being Jewish, and all but Otto perished, a fate suffered by many other victims of the Holocaust, including homosexuals, the elderly, those with disabilities, Catholic clergymen, Romani people, and many Polish and Serbian people. All these prisoners had one thing in common – they were considered ‘different’. But difference is not a crime, in fact it should be celebrated, and it's our hope that this exhibition will encourage visitors to see the power of standing up and being proud of your differences, whilst supporting your friends to do the same.
The exhibition Anne Frank: Let Me Be Myself, opens at Wellington's Dominion Museum on the 24th May. We're looking forward to welcoming visitors from the capital, and hearing your thoughts on Anne Frank's message and what it means for us here in New Zealand, today.