For many people the story of Anne Frank is the first, if not the only, exposure to the history of the Holocaust. Over 18 million copies of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl have been sold in 52 languages. The diary has come to represent more than the poignant thoughts and dreams of a unique young girl; it is a universal symbol of courage and hope. Its appeal reaches beyond all classifications of descent, nationality, or age. Because the diary remains an imposing document that reveals Anne's ability to unmask the inhumanity of racism and fascism, it stands as a warning for future generations that has lost none of its timeliness.
"Anne Frank in the World: 1929-1945" recreates the world of Anne Frank and her diary. Her personal family history is reconstructed through family photographs (many never before published), a model of the Secret Annex where the Frank family hid for two years, and manuscripts from Anne's workbooks and diary. This family story serves as a powerful example of what could happen to an 'ordinary' family during those years.
The Frank family history is placed in the historical context of the period. It shows the broad picture of historical developments during the Nazi era and then narrows its focus to observe in great detail daily life in Nazi Germany and occupied Holland. Attention is paid to the choices people made: to vote for Hitler or against; to collaborate or resist; to protest or remain silent; or - a choice in itself - to do nothing.
The Exhibition explores how Nazism began and subsequently thrived. The election of the Nazis, the systematic dismantling of democracy, and the escalating persecution of "enemies" point out a lesson to be remembered today in our world. Discrimination and scapegoating were at the root of the movement which ultimately led to the Holocaust, taking the lives of Anne Frank and millions of others.
The Exhibition is not a static collection of facts and photographs, but a profound month-long educational experience for an entire community. The experience offers the community more than the opportunity to memorialize one victim of Nazi persecution, it contains a message that holds meaning for each of us, a message that speaks to us today.
By examining the events and conditions that led to the Holocaust, the Exhibition challenges each of us to explore our own experience with discrimination and our responsibility in a democracy. The Exhibition helps to build racial, ethnic, and religious understanding between all classes and groups of people, and it is especially useful as a teaching tool for young people. The message of Anne Frank's story is needed today to strengthen people who strive to create and maintain a just, stable, and humanitarian world.
"Anne Frank in the World: 1929-1945" was created by the Anne Frank Foundation in Amsterdam. The Exhibition opened simultaneously in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and New York City on June 12, 1985. Since that time the Exhibition has been seen by more than 1.3 million people worldwide, one-third of them school children. The U.S. opening was recognized in a joint Resolution of Congress declaring a national "Anne Frank Day." Currently, four Exhibitions are on tour through Holland, Germany, Austria, Great Britain, Japan, and the United States.