With this traveling exhibition, the Anne Frank House wants to inform young people about Anne Frank and the Holocaust. She also wants to challenge them to think about topics such as identity, prejudice and discrimination. The exhibition opens on Saturday at 2 pm in the presence of guest speaker Regina Sluszny (83) in Moktamee, Boverij 30. As a child she went into hiding during the Second World War. She is chairman of the forum of Jewish organizations in Belgium and vice-chairman of the organization Het Ondergedoken Kind.
“With this exhibition, the Anne Frank House wants to inform young people about Anne Frank and the Holocaust,” says Ronny Neefs, chairman of the patriotic association Brigade Piron 2.0, which brought the exhibition to Herentals. “We founded our association in 2019 because the patriotic associations had extinguished in terms of membership and there was a gap,” says Neefs. “We already have fifty members. We believe it is important to honor war events. The response to the expo at the Herentals schools is good, schools from Vorselaar, Lille and Viersel have already requested a tour, especially for their fifth and sixth grade students.”
Annelies Marie Frank (°Frankfurt am Main, June 12, 1929 – +Bergen-Belsen, February 1945) was a German and later stateless Jewish girl who became world famous for the diary she wrote during the Second World War, when she was in hiding in Het Secret Annex on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam. She probably died in February 1945 of typhus in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
On 6 July 1942 Anne and her family went into hiding in Het Achterhuis, but they were discovered there after more than two years. They were arrested by the Germans on August 4, 1944, perhaps the Frank family was betrayed, although it is not known by whom.
After the arrest, the diary papers (the notebooks and loose sheets) were found on the floor of Het Achterhuis by two staff members who were among the helpers of the people in hiding: Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl. Miep Gies hid them in her desk drawer in the hope of one day being able to return them to Anne. But of the six people in hiding and two Jewish helpers who were arrested, only father Otto Frank survived the horror of the concentration camps. Anne’s diary was published posthumously after the war and is one of the most widely read books in the world. It was published in seventy countries.
The substantive structure of the exhibition in Moktamee makes it possible for visitors to identify with Anne Frank’s personal story. Large photos show Anne’s early childhood in Frankfurt, the emigration to Amsterdam and the period she lived in hiding. The exhibition always links the story of the Frank family with the important events of that time: the rise of National Socialism, the exclusion and discrimination of the Jewish population, which ultimately led to the Holocaust.
In a second, topical part of the exhibition, young people themselves have their say. They talk about four topics that arise from the historical story: identity, group identity, discrimination and responding to discrimination.
On Saturday you can also listen to Regina Sluszny during the opening of the expo. For a long time, she was chairman of the organization Het Ondergedoken Kind. Since January 1, 2019, she has been vice-president of this organization and president of the Forum of Jewish Organizations. As a child, she lived in hiding with a non-Jewish family between 1942 and 1945. When the war ended, she was 6 years old and was able to return to her Jewish Orthodox parents and attended a Jewish Orthodox school for six years. “Regina has been telling her story at schools and gatherings for many years as a tribute to the people who saved her from the Nazis,” says Ronny Neefs. “It’s her birthday on the day she gives her lecture here in Herentals. She will then be 83. We will also offer her book for sale here at the expo.”
For this exhibition, schools and other groups can also request a tour via Ronny Neefs of the patriotic association Brigade Piron 2.0 Nete & Aa ([email protected]).
A guided tour for schools costs 34 euros (max. 25 people). A tour for other groups costs 60 euros (max. 25 people). The tour lasts a maximum of two hours.
The exhibition itself can be visited free of charge for three weeks in Moktamee, Bovenrij 30, on Saturdays and Sundays, from 2 pm to 5 pm. Groups of up to 25 people can book a guided tour of one and a half hours on a weekday for 60 euros.
Movie: Where is Anne Frank?
The Holocaust is also discussed in the animated film Where is Anne Frank? The film had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for Best Animated Film by the European Film Awards. The film is suitable for children from 9 years old.
Past and present intertwine in this animated film. Kitty, the imaginary friend to whom Anne Frank wrote her diary letters, comes to life. Kitty steps out of the diary that is on display in the Anne Frank House and thus ends up in our time where she goes in search of Anne. She finds Anne everywhere and nowhere. In this way she shows that the history of Anne Frank is not only about the past, but also about the present.
Where is Anne Frank? is an animated film by Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman. His parents were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp around the same time as the Frank family.
The film will be screened on a large TV set in Moktamee on Sunday 2 October at 2 pm. Places are limited, reservation is required via [email protected]