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Traveling Anne Frank exhibit to be on display in Phoenix this week

(Courtesy image)

PHOENIX — A traveling exhibit about Holocaust victim Anne Frank will be available in Phoenix this week.

The international exhibition, “Anne Frank: A History for Today,” tells the story of Frank against the background of the Holocaust and World War II.

It will be on display at the Phoenix City Hall on Thursday and Friday after it has toured through Mohave Middle School, Dobson High School, and Carl Hayden High School, reaching the Scottsdale, Mesa and Phoenix communities.

The museum is centered on the concept of peer education allowing students to take the driver’s seat for guiding tours.

The panels on display throughout City Hall depict Frank’s childhood in Frankfurt and in Amsterdam, as well as describe the rise of the Nazis, the persecution of Jews and how people would fight for their lives during the historical event written in Frank’s diary.

One panel uncovered writings of Franks from her famous diary.

It read, “I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.”

The next panel went on to tell her dreams of being a journalist or writer. Frank said, “Will I ever become a journalist or writer? I hope so, oh I hope so very much, because writing allows me to record everything, all my thoughts, ideals, and fantasies.”

In between the panels are pieces on display from local schools that previously housed the exhibit.

Valley students have different art and writing on display to share their experiences and what they learned about Frank, World War II and the Holocaust. One Mohave Middle School student said, “Being racist has become normalized and is often taken as a joke instead of something serious.”

A student from each participating Valley school was selected to lead tours through the exhibit. The peer guides are taught by Anne Frank teachers to explain the content while also allowing it to lead to an open discussion.

Gerbert Kunst, the consul general for the Kingdom of the Netherlands in San Francisco, said the exhibit is important because it “gives another opportunity to learn about the life of Anne Frank and to spread a message about freedom, tolerance, inclusion, and the importance of that message.

“I think for all of us it’s important to know your history, it is a lesson for tomorrow,” he said.

“A recent poll by the Washington Post said 22 percent of American youth said they have not heard of the Holocaust. That’s why it’s important to have these kind of exhibitions because it makes it easier to connect the story to your personal life.”

Kunst said the intention and hope of the student-led tours is to have younger people reflect on the historical events and make relevant connections between the past and present.

“We want the youth, parents, and anyone who experiences the exhibit to think again about the role of Anne Frank and her values of tolerance, freedom, and inclusion – and how those can be applied in our own lives,” Kunst said.

The exhibit will be free from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday at Phoenix City Hall. Visitors can take a self-guided tour from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. or can sign up for a student-guided tour from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The showcase has traveled to high schools in more than 40 countries. The artifacts come to the Valley from the Anne Frank House, Amsterdam, Netherlands, and the Netherlands Consulate General, San Francisco.

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