The Story of Anne Frank
In many countries Anne Frank has become the symbol of the mass murder of Jews during the Second World War.
Anne Frank was born on 12th June, 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany. She was the daughter of Otto and Edith Frank and had a three year older sister, Margot.
Just like many other Jews, the Frank family fled Germany after Hitler and his National-Socialist party came to power in 1933.
The Jews who stayed in Germany were step by step excluded from society. The Frank family went to the Netherlands where father Otto started a company.
In May 1940 the Nazis occupied the Netherlands and soon anti-Jewish measures were introduced. In July 1942 large-scale deportations of Jews took place.
The Frank family went into hiding along with four others. They hid in the annex of Otto Frank’s office building on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam, right in the heart of the city.
During their time in hiding, Anne Frank kept a diary. In August 1944 the hiding place was betrayed and the eight people were taken to different concentration camps.
Anne Frank eventually died in the camp Bergen-Belsen. Only Otto Frank survived the war.
The Exhibition: Let Me Be Myself
In 2015 the Anne Frank House has introduced a new generation of travelling exhibitions: “Let Me Be Myself – The Life Story of Anne Frank”.
Apart from the story of Anne Frank and the historical context of her time, it specifically highlights the contemporary relevance of the story of Anne Frank.
“Let Me Be Myself” contains seven historical modules. The structure and design of this part of the new exhibition enables visitors to identify with the personal story of Anne Frank.
Large-size pictures show Anne’s happy early childhood in Frankfurt, followed by the immigration to Amsterdam and the time in hiding.
In a consequent manner the exhibition connects the personal story of the Frank family with the important historical events of that time: the rise of the national socialists, the isolation and discrimination of the Jewish population, eventually escalating in the Holocaust. The connection between the personal story of Anne Frank and the historical context shows the consequences the anti-Jewish measures had on one particular person.
To emphasise the chronological order of events, almost every panel contains a time line.
Below the time line is the personal story of Anne Frank and above the time line the visitor is confronted with the ‘big historical events’ of that time. In this manner it is easy to understand the connections between the ‘small’ and ‘big’ history.
About the Diary
Anne Frank starts keeping a diary from her thirteenth birthday. Anne enters the Secret Annex as a girl, but grows into a young woman there. Her diary was with her as a friend and witness.
When the Frank family goes into hiding, the first thing Anne packs is her diary. And once she’s in the Secret Annex, she applies herself to writing in it almost daily.
The life she leads now is totally different to her previous carefree existence. Anne has a lust for life and it’s hard for her to be confined indoors, and forced to be quiet. Her diary helps her.
While she’s in hiding, Anne decides to think of her diary as a friend, whom she names Kitty. It makes the writing easier. Besides, she doesn’t really have a real friend, ‘and that’s how the whole idea of keeping a diary started’, she admits.
The long letters addressed to Kitty are part of Anne’s diary from the very beginning. The diary becomes even more imporant to Anne during the hiding period, because she can entrust it with her innermost thoughts. On March 16, 1944, she realizes: The nicest part is being able to write down all my thoughts and feelings, otherwise I’d absolutely suffocate.
“All I think about when I’m with friends is having a good time. I can’t bring myself to talk about anything but ordinary everyday things. We don’t seem to be able to get any closer, and that’s the problem. Maybe it’s my fault that we don’t confide in each other. In any case, that’s just how things are, and unfortunately they’re not liable to change. This is why I’ve started the diary.”
Anne Frank, the Writer
Anne doesn’t just keep a diary during her time in the Secret Annex. She also writes short stories and some of her “Tales” she reads aloud to the people in hiding.
“A few weeks ago I started writing a story, something I made up from beginning to end, and I’ve enjoyed it so much that the products of my pen are piling up.”
Anne also collects her favourite quotes by other writers in a separate notebook. If she reads a sentence in a book and it makes an impression on her, she then copies it into that notebook. She gets the idea for doing this from her father. Sometimes, she reflects further about one of these “favorite quotes” by writing about it in her diary.
Anne hopes for her diary to be published as a novel after the war. That’s why she starts rewriting it.
Anne writes: “I know I can write. A few of my stories are good, my descriptions of the Secret Annex are humorous, much of my diary is vivid and alive, but… it remains to be seen whether I really have talent.”
But Anne never manages to finish it. She’s discovered and arrested before she completes her work. The last time she commits her feelings to paper is on August 1, 1944.
Resources & Downloads
The exhibition is aimed at young people between the ages of 10 and 18.
Often the guided tours in the exhibition are carried out by young people themselves (‘peer education’) after they have received special training.
During the guided tour, the guides give background information about the photos and texts and they also ask question to actively involve the students.
Visit the Exhibition
|Millicent, SA||Millicent Public Library, Ridge Terrace||till 30 Jan 2022|
Become a Sponsor
We are very grateful to our sponsors Rabobank, Gandel Philanthropy (educational partner) and Two Men and a Truck for their help in bringing the Anne Frank traveling exhibition to Australia.
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or if you would like to make a donation, please contact us by filling out the web form below.
For enquiries regarding the exhibition, sponsorship or this website, please do not hesitate to contact iet Fuijkschot using the form on the right.
We will reply to your enquiry as soon as possible.