The Story of Anne Frank
Anne Frank was a Jewish girl living in Holland during World War II. Originally from Germany, her family had already fled from Frankfurt after Hitler came to power in 1933. After the Nazi's occupied Holland in 1940, Anne went into hiding with her mother, father, older sister Margo and four other people in a secret annexe behind her father's factory at Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam. She is just 13 years old.
Life in Holland had been fun and carefree for Anne and her sister until the Nazi's arrived. A series of anti-Jewish regulations meant the Frank's had to move house, the girls had to change school, and their father Otto loses his business. It is when Margo is called up to report at a German work camp in 1942 that the family retreat into the annexe, although Otto had been planning it for some time. His Jewish business partner Herman Van Pels and family join them too, and they have help from non-Jewish Dutch friends. A few months later they are joined by dentist Fritz Pfeffer
Inside the annexe during the day they must be quiet. The factory is busy, full of workers they don't know if they can trust. After dark, their helpers bring them supplies - food, clothes, books and games to help pass the time. They cannot go outside or contact any of their old friends or family for fear of being discovered.
Anne's diary, given to her for her birthday just weeks before they went into hiding, becomes her best friend and confidant. Inside it she reveals her hopes and dreams, her thoughts and fears, and that despite everything, she believes there is still good in the world. She begins to turn her diary into a novel called 'The Secret Annexe' but she doesn't get the chance to finish it.
"Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart" - Anne Frank
After more than two years in hiding they are discovered and deported to concentration camps. Anne’s father, Otto Frank, is the only one to survive. After the war, he returns to Amsterdam where friend and helper Miep Gies gives him some of Anne's possessions including her diary. Heartbroken, but touched by Anne's words, Otto decides to publish the diary and share his daughter's wisdom with the world. He hopes Anne Frank can inspire change, and her death would not be in vain.
The Diary of Anne Frank was first published in 1947, and has since been published in 70 different languages in 60 different countries, making the most translated book of all time. This exhibition, Anne Frank; Let me be myself, was created by the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and is based on Anne's life from her diary, as well as documenting historical events from the Second World War. The exhibition aims not just to educate visitors on what happened in the past but how those themes are still present in the modern day, and what each of us can do to make sure the persecution of individuals due to race, religion, age, sexuality or disability is brought to an end.