Anne Frank’s History for Today

“When I write, I can shake off all my cares,” wrote Anne Frank on April 5, 1944. Frank’s cares were considerably more than any 14-year-old should ever have to bear: She was in hiding with her family in Holland, having been displaced 11 years before from her home in Germany, and well aware that Germany’s Nazi regime was systematically exterminating anyone who shared her religion.

But despite the Jewish teenager’s burden, Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl manages to be less an elegy than a celebration of life, a fact which, above all, has made it an international classic.

This month and the next, Frank’s life—and the world that made it and ultimately extinguished it—will be on view at the Biltmore Square Mall, part of an ambitious multimedia display brought here by the nonprofit Center for Diversity Education and sponsored by Kimmel and Associates, the WNC Jewish Federation, BI-LO and many other organizations and individuals.

Titled “Anne Frank: A History for Today,” the exhibit debuts Sept. 30 and runs until Nov. 9. It places Frank’s personal life against the roiling backdrop of the Second World War, showing the roots of the government-sanctioned hate that led to the Holocaust and the chilling expedience with which Hitler and his adherents rounded up and killed not only Jews but Roma gypsies, the disabled, homosexuals and Slavs.

Along with static displays with text in both English and Spanish, “A History for Today” is accompanied by a film series, speaker series, musical performances and personal testimonials, all pointing to the relevance of Frank’s story and the bigger lessons of the Holocaust for today’s world. With the impulse of mass murder still very much alive around the globe (one need only look to 1970s Cambodia, 1990s Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and the current killings in the Darfur region of Sudan for examples), Frank’s poignant testimony grows only more valuable with the years. Her cares are our cares, the exhibit posits—and it’s time we paid attention to them.

For more information about the exhibit and associated programs, visit www.annefrank-wnc.org or call the Center for Diversity Education at 232-5024.

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One thought on “Anne Frank’s History for Today

  1. Billr

    The story or diary of Anne Frank is very much relevant today. Along with the reasons that you mention in your article, we need only to look at how our own government is steadily moving toward a completely controlled society.

    One thing we should all remember is that in the buildup to World War II the average citizen of Germany was not a hater of Jews, and was not dreaming of world domination. So one would have to look at how Hitler was able to get the support of the people and to build the systems of citizen control that was needed to accomplish his goals.

    He did it through the constant use of fear and the constant references to a bigger than life enemy, even though the enemy did not exist. However through the constant propaganda along with enough reinforcing the fear factor, the German citizen soon became believers and enthusiastic supporters of Hitler and the Nazi cause.

    One can do a careful look at the events both here at home and abroad in our foreign policy over the past seven years and find some trends and actions that are cause for grave concerns. We have moved a long way down the road away from a Democracy and toward an imperialistic nation that would enforce it’s will on others even at gun point.

    We are arresting people and they can be held indefinitely. They can be shipped to detainment camps. They can even be tortured until they tell those in controls what they wish to hear.
    We are spying on our own citizens. We are being encouraged to report our neighbors if they seem to act strange to us.

    Look at and compare these things to events and moves Hitler made before containing the Jews and see how close we are to the events which lead up to Anne Frank and her family being in hiding for their dear life.

    Yes I would say that Anne Franks diary has very much relevance to our world today. Please wake up America before there is no one to speak up for you when they come for you.

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