Anne Frank

Global events marked what would have been Anne Frank’s 90th birthday yesterday.

The Diary of a Young Girl is one of the most significant works of the 20th century. Translated into 67 languages over 30 million copies of have been sold.

Jewish Lyceum classmates Gomes de Mesquita, 89, and Jacqueliner van Maarsen 90, were at Anne’s 13th birthday party celebrations on 12th June 1942.

Like Anne, they wore a Star of David on clothes and could not visit parks, cinemas or swimming pools. Three weeks later, Anne’s family went into hiding in a secret annex. It was in this house that Anne started to document her thoughts in a diary, which she had just received as a present.

Tragically, Anne died with her sister at Bergen-Belsen Nazi concentration camp in February 1945.

Their father Otto, the only family member to survive the Holocaust, went on to publish Anne’s diary, catapulting her story into publishing history and an eternal reminder of life for Jews under Nazi rule.

Albert and Jacqueliner returned to Anne’s former home at Merwedeplein to share their memories.

Both spoke with young people at the International School of Amsterdam about Anne’s life and legacy.

On social media, people have been sharing what Anne means to them, whilst over 80 letters have been donated by Ryan Cooper, a pen pal of Otto Frank, to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

Google meantime launched a new online exhibition transporting viewers into Anne’s childhood home in Amsterdam. Rooms are in 1930s style.

“We’re honoured to have worked with the Anne Frank House to shed a light on Anne’s life at Merwedeplein 37-2 Amsterdam, so anyone can explore an online exhibit and indoor Street View imagery of Anne’s childhood home, which is currently closed to the public,” said Liudmila Kobyakova, Google Arts & Culture program manager, in a statement.

The former home of the Frank family has been leased to the Dutch Foundation of Literature since 2005, serving as a temporary home and workplace for refugee writers who cannot work freely in their own country.

“It is a place where freedom, tolerance and freedom of expression are given the space to breathe,” says Ronald Leopold, Anne Foundation general director.

The Anne Frank House, which released a virtual reality experience of the annex last year, has worked with Google for a number of years.

The new exhibit makes the story more accessible to the public, according to Michelle Timmerman, Google’s communications and public affairs manager.

The exhibit will exist “indefinitely,” she said.

It is possible to view all rooms of the flat restored in 1930s style, including Anne and Margo’s bedroom. The exhibit also features insights and documents.

Events also took place at long-standing international partners of the Anne Frank House in Germany, the United Kingdom, Austria, Argentina and United States.

Among many initiatives, the Anne Frank exhibit at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles was free to the public yesterday.
“Anne has become one of the most notable figures from the Holocaust and has gained fame posthumously with the publication of The Diary of a Young Girl, one of the world’s best-known books,” noted a spokesman.
The museum’s exhibit brings Anne’s story to life through multimedia presentations narrated by Academy Award nominated actress Hailee Steinfeld.
The US premiere of ANNE, a new play, also opened.
Holocaust survivors interacted with guests. And Rabbi Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, was available for interviews about the Holocaust.

Anne Frank House partners in Berlin, Buenos Aires, and London also marked the occasion.

Anne’s stepsister, holocaust survivor Eva Schloss attended a parliamentary reception in Westminster hosted by the Anne Frank Trust.

Home Office Secretary Sajid Javid, who launched his Prime Minister bid during the day, attended.

By David Saffer