Anne Frank’s diary is one of the most widely read works of non-fiction in the world, which many recognize as a great work. The Holocaust Museum now features a rare exhibition of Anne Frank’s uncovered writing as part of its tenth anniversary celebration.
“Anne Frank the Writer: An Unfinished Story,” illustrates the legacy of a young girl who understands the essence of what it means to be a human being.
The exhibition begins with her photo album and progresses into selections from her diaries, short stories, fairy tales and beginnings of a novel.
The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam displays her first diary in its permanent collection, but some diary entries Frank wrote late in World War II are being shown for the first time in the United States at the D.C. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Some of these works have never even been displayed outside the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.
Anne Frank was a young and sensitive girl of 13 when she began writing her diary, which resonates strength and wisdom far beyond her years. Anne expressed honesty in such an insightful way, and this seems to make her the talented writer the world still recognizes today. It only makes sense that her legacy lives on when she writes the lines: “It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped my ideals because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are good at heart.”
In the four rooms dedicated to Anne Frank at the museum, the exhibit gives spectators a closer look at Anne as a person, as a humanist and as an artist. Her personal photographs as a child reveal a girl with dreamy eyes. Anne exposes this fantasy side with details such as calling her writings “pen-children,” and in her tale entitled “Eva Dream.” Also on display is a copy of her decorated wall from the “Secret Annex” in Amsterdam, where Anne posted postcards and magazine clippings to make the hiding spot look nicer.
Most notably, the exhibit reveals Anne Frank’s intelligence, which was extraordinary for a girl so young. She began recording favorite quotations from other writers such as William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and Wolfgang Goethe in a compilation she titled “Book of Nice Sentences.” One by Goring reads, “Well, she wore far too much rouge last night and not quite enough clothing, this is always a sign of despair in a woman.”
Anne Frank frequently expressed her desire to become an author or a journalist. She copied her writings into a notebook and added a table of contents to resemble a published book. In her essay “Give!” Anne offers a simple solution to solving the ills of humanity. She also started the first few chapters of her novel “Cady’s Life.” Anne’s spirit and determination shine through in her writing. On the first page of her final diary notebook, she wrote of herself: “The owner’s maxim: Zest is what man needs!”
In Anne Frank’s Feb. 3, 1944 diary entry she wrote poignantly, “The world will still keep on turning without me; what is going to happen, will happen, and anyway, it’s no good trying to resist. I trust to luck, but should I be saved, and spared from destruction, then it would be terrible if my diaries and my tales were lost.”
The exhibit resulted from a joint effort of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation in Amsterdam, and the ANNE FRANK-Fonds (Foundation) in Basel, Switzerland.
It has been extended to run through Dec. 3 at the Wexner Learning Center at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum located at 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, near the National Mall. For more information about the exhibition visit the museum’s website at http://www.ushmm.org, or to learn more about Anne Frank go to www. annefrank.nl.