Anne Frank exhibit offers family relics


Read by millions of people of all ages since it was first published in 1947, Anne Frank’s diary is famous all around the world.

The Jewish girl, who died in a concentration camp at age 15, kept a diary from 1942 to 1944, mostly while she and her family were in hiding from the Nazis in a secret annex. In a life full of anxiety and fear, her diary was a friend to whom she could confide her innermost thoughts and feelings.

To pass down her message of peace to the next century, the last Anne Frank exhibition of the 20th century will be held at Yokohama Takashimaya gallery, April 26-May 8, and then tour major cities throughout Japan.

Unlike past Anne Frank exhibitions, whose exhibits were very limited, this one will feature approximately 300 articles related to Anne and her family lent by relatives, Anne Frank Stichting, Amsterdam and Anne Frank Fonds, Basel.

The exhibit includes many rare items that have never been shown to the public, including tableware and furniture passed down in the Frank family for generations, toys Anne and her sister Margot played with, her father Otto’s camera and typewriter and the postcard the family wrote to Otto’s sister just before going into hiding.

The most precious item of all is Anne’s history notebook, which is mentioned in her diary and was recently discovered among Otto’s belongings.

Born in Frankfurt in 1929, Anne Frank was the second daughter of Otto and his wife Edith. In 1933 Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, and soon the first anti-Jewish measures were taken. The Frank family left Germany and emigrated to Holland the following year, but persecution of the Jews began as soon as the country was occupied by the German Army in 1940.

A few weeks after Anne was given a diary for her 13th birthday, the Frank family went into hiding in an empty storage area at the back of Otto’s office building. The family lived there for two years until they were discovered by the Nazis on Aug. 4, 1944.

All the inhabitants of the hiding place were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Otto was freed from Auschwitz in January 1945, but no other family members survived the war. Anne died of typhus at Bergen-Belsen in March 1945, two months before Germany surrendered.

Since Anne’s diary was first published, it has been translated into many languages and read all around the world. Many documentary programs, films and stage productions have also been made based on the diary.

Otto remarried in 1952 to Fritzi Geiringer, another Holocaust survivor who had lived near the Frank family in Amsterdam, and whose daughter Eva was a friend of Anne’s. The exhibition details many of Eva’s experiences later in life and how they rebuilt their lives together as a family.