Anne Frank - still stirring hearts and minds

Anne Frank - still stirring hearts and minds

2nd May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Each year, a million people cross the threshold of the Anne Frank house in the heart of Amsterdam. On 3 May, it will be exactly 50 years ago that the house where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis opened its doors as a museum.

 The Diary of Anne Frank is still one of the most popular books in the world.

Many children in Europe and across the world - including the English-speaking world - have grown up with stories about Anne Frank.

Anne Frank's diary

During the Second World War, 13-year-old German Jewish refugee Anne Frank and her family were forced to go into hiding. In her diary, she wrote about daily life in the 'secret annex', not only the fears and frustrations but the small pleasures as well.

After two years in hiding, on 4 August 1944, the Frank family, along with the others hiding in the annex, were betrayed, arrested and sent to concentration camps in the east of Europe. Her father Otto was the only survivor and later he decided to publish his daughter's diary.

The Secret Annex appeared in Dutch in 1947 and the first US edition appeared in 1953 under the title Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. The book has since been translated into dozens of languages and reworked for both stage and screen. The house on Prinsengracht where the secret annex was located was saved from demolition in the late 1950s.

On 3 May 1960, Otto Frank opened the Anne Frank House Museum. The original diary will go on display at the museum this week to mark its 50th anniversary.
"As a child, I was deeply touched by the diary and Anne's story," Jacquie Fex writes to Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW) from Canada.


"When I visited Amsterdam 20 years ago, I went to the Anne Frank Huis [House]. I was so moved when I saw the photos of film stars still on her walls. She was such an inspiration to me that I named my daughter Rachel Anne for her. Sometimes it is hard to believe her when she said: In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart, but I always hope she is right!"

Ingrid from Guatemala writes that she saw a play about Anne Frank: "It was fascinating and extremely important. Many Guatemalans know the story and have read the book in Spanish translation".

Not everywhere

The story of Anne Frank isn't as well known everywhere though. Books about her have appeared in Chinese in only the last ten years or so.

Anne Frank isn't at all well known in India, writes Bart G.R. on Facebook: "Strange but true... here in India I haven't seen the book of Anne Frank once. But what I do see a lot is something else that really surprises me, a book named Mein Kampf. India, it's incredible...".


The vast majority of responses indicate that many people consider Anne Frank remarkable, a symbol: "Love for life!" "Freedom crushed!"

"For me, she represents sadness, solidarity and powerlessness". Elena G from Spain says Anne Frank is a symbol of peace, love and freedom.

Jacquie Fex from Toronto, Canada writes that she and her family hope to revisit Amsterdam this summer. "The Anne Frank House will be the first destination and tears again will be shed," she says.

Philip Smet
Radio Netherlands


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