June 11, 2003
ANNE FRANK’S ORIGINAL WRITINGS TO BE ON VIEW FOR UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM 10TH ANNIVERSARY
First–Time Display Outside the Netherlands Made Possible Through Unprecedented International Partnership
First Lady Laura Bush Opens Exhibition
Washington (D.C.)/Amsterdam (the Netherlands), June 11, 2003 — In honor of its 10TH Anniversary, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is presenting selections of Anne Frank’s original writings, never before on view outside the Netherlands. Laura Bush officially opened this special display – Anne Frank the Writer: An Unfinished Story – on June 11, 2003, at the Museum in Washington, D.C. It opens to the public on June 12, which would have been the extraordinarily gifted writer’s 74TH birthday, and runs through September 12, 2003.
This unprecedented project is a joint effort of the Museum, the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation (NIOD) in Amsterdam, which holds all of Anne’s original writings, and the ANNE FRANK-Fonds (Foundation) in Basel, Switzerland.
“This historic exhibit is yet another example of the Museum’s commitment to educate the world about the Holocaust and the horrors of hate and injustice,” said Laura Bush. “The impact of this exhibit extends far beyond its walls, as do the writings of Anne Frank. Her words and her courage continue to inspire us as we strive for peace in the Middle East and the world.”
In his will, Otto Frank, Anne’s father and the only family member to survive, donated all of her writings during hiding to NIOD, which was created after World War II as the Netherlands’ national center for information and research on the War. They are presently owned by the State of the Netherlands and are on permanent loan to NIOD. He gave her copyright to the ANNE FRANK-Fonds, which he established in order to promote charitable work and to play a social and cultural role in the spirit of Anne Frank. The Fonds gave its consent to the loan and is supporting the project. Anne’s closest living relative, her cousin Buddy (Bernd) Elias, currently serves as president of the Fonds.
Anne Frank the Writer: An Unfinished Story presents Anne Frank as a writer and as a humanist. The exhibition includes her photo album and selections from the last of her three diary notebooks as well as some of her other writings, with which the public may be less familiar. Anne began her diary on June 12, 1942, her 13TH birthday. After she filled up the red-plaid diary given to her by her father, she began using school notebooks and later edited her diary on loose sheets of paper. This first diary is permanently on display at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, but selections from Anne’s other diary entries, written later in the War, will be shown in Washington for the first time. Some of the items have never before been on public display outside the Anne Frank House, which is supporting the project.
With exceptional powers of observation and eloquence for a young girl, her writing resonates with extraordinary insight and depth. In her essay Give!, which she wrote in her “Secret Annex” hiding place, she offers her prescription for solving the ills of humanity. The exhibition includes her original essay in its entirety; an excerpt follows:
Why should you be nicer to a rich lady than to a poor one? Has anyone ever studied the difference in their characters?
Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness. People are just people, and all people have faults and shortcomings, but all of us are born with a basic goodness. If we were to start by adding to that goodness instead of stifling it, by giving poor people the feeling that they too are human beings, we wouldn’t necessarily have to give money or material things, since not everyone has them to give.
Translated into nearly 70 languages and one of the most read works of non-fiction in the world, The Diary of Anne Frank has been for millions of young people on every continent their first and often most powerful encounter with the history of Nazi Germany’s attempt to exterminate Europe’s Jews. Her extraordinary account as a teenager coping with adolescence during the Nazi occupation of Holland, living first at home and then in hiding for two years in the “Secret Annex,” resonates with young and old even more than a half century after her death.
“It is our wish on the occasion of the Museum’s milestone 10th Anniversary to bring these rare Holocaust artifacts to the American people,” said Museum Director Sara Bloomfield. “Millions have read Anne's diary and visited her hiding place, but few have ever seen her original words on paper in her own hand. We are deeply grateful to our partners in Amsterdam and Basel for agreeing to this unprecedented project.”
“The diaries of Anne Frank are the most valuable historical documents of the rich collections of the NIOD. Members of the staff have been doing academic research on the history of Anne Frank and the background of the writings for more than 20 years. The project at the Holocaust Museum in Washington is an excellent opportunity to display the variety of Anne’s original writings for a broad international audience and to expand knowledge of Anne Frank, her ideas, and especially her sense of herself as a writer,” said Professor J.C.H. Blom, Director of NIOD.
Mr. Elias stated, “I am deeply moved and grateful to the U.S. Holocaust Museum for honoring my cousin Anne Frank and all other victims of the Holocaust. May her writings continue to fight discrimination in every form and help to unite humanity in peaceful co-existence.”
The Anne Frank Project was made possible by generous support from Eric and Lore Ross and Arthur and Toni Rock, with additional support from the Gonda Family Foundation and the Nathanson Family Foundation.
The Netherlands Institute for War Documentation (NIOD), established after the liberation of the Netherlands in May 1945, is the Dutch center for information and research on the Netherlands and World War II. NIOD’s scope of responsibility includes: collecting and storing archives on World War II and the Netherlands and making them accessible and available; conducting academic research and publishing the research findings; and providing information to government institutions and members of the public. For more information, visit www.niod.nl.
The ANNE FRANK-Fonds was established by Otto H. Frank in January 1963, to safeguard the copyright of Anne’s writings, to promote charitable work and to play a social and cultural role in the spirit of Anne Frank. It was his particular wish that the Fonds should contribute to better understanding between different religions, to serve the cause of peace between people and to encourage international contacts between the young. For more information, visit www.annefrank.ch.
Created by unanimous act of Congress, the Museum is America’s national institution for Holocaust education and remembrance. As a public-private partnership, the Museum brings the history and lessons of the Holocaust to Americans from all walks of life through educational outreach, teacher training, traveling exhibitions, and scholarship. Since opening in April 1993, the Museum has welcomed nearly 19 million visitors, including over 5.5 million children. For more information, visit www.ushmm.org.
The Anne Frank House was established with the help of Otto H. Frank in May 1957, to save the Frank family's hiding place from demolition. In May 1960, the House opened its doors as a museum. Since then visitors from all over the world have come to see the former hiding place, which is one of the most frequently visited museums in Amsterdam. The Anne Frank House manages and maintains the museum and develops educational products and activities. For more information, visit www.annefrank.nl.
NIOD, Amsterdam – Erik Somers, Herengracht 380, 1016 CJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands, TEL+31(0)20-5233800, Cell phone +31-(0)6-52007728, FAX+31(0)20-5233888; email@example.com
HOLOCAUST MUSEUM, Washington, DC – Arthur Berger TEL 202-314-0323 firstname.lastname@example.org; Andy Hollinger TEL 202-488-6133 email@example.com; FAX 202-488-2695
ANNE FRANK-Fonds, Basel – Christoph Knoch, Steinengraben 18, TEL +41-31-951-8759, cell phone +41-78-888-7686, FAX +41-31-951-8758; ChristophKnoch@csi.com