Anne Frank exhibition to open in Wellington today

February 10, 2010 Agencies
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New Zealand Prime Minister John Key will open the Anne Frank travelling exhibition  at the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington today.

Children learning the story of Anne Frank

Originating from the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. the exhibition, which will tour for three years in New Zealand, will open to the public tomorrow.

The exhibition, which has been shown in over 150 cities round the world last year, is aimed at people who are nott able to visit the Anne Frank House. Using over 200 personal Frank family photographs and excerpts from Anne’s famous diary, it tells the Anne Frank story against the backdrop of a general history of World War II and the Holocaust.

“No one that sees this exhibition and walks through this ‘house with a story’ could ever forget what racial hatred can do to a society,” said Mr Key.

Using eleven large panels, the exhibition tells the story of Anne Frank and her family through a timeline with a general history of World War II and the Holocaust on one side and Anne’s personal story on the other. In this way visitors can get a full picture of how the story relates to worldwide events.

The exhibition tells the story of the Frank family’s flight to The Netherlands from Nazi Germany and their two years in hiding in the secret annex at the rear of an office building. It also covers the stories of the people who helped them to hide and the others who hid with them. It movingly captures the sudden betrayal that led to their transportation to concentration camps and death.

The exhibition will include a new half-hour documentary that tells the remarkable stories of New Zealanders who survived the Holocaust or who helped people to hide. The film was specially made by well-known documentary producer Anna Cottrell with the help of Ian Fraser, giving visitors a New Zealand perspective.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to make their own contribution to the exhibition with an interactive ‘Wailing Wall’. Using the latest technology, visitors can text their thoughts and messages to Anne to a special number, the messages will appear on a screen, growing in size and brightness and then fading away.

The exhibition is being brought to New Zealand by a special team, set up by the New Zealand-Netherlands Foundation and chaired by Boyd Klap QSO. Boyd said he had been delighted by the response from both sponsors and venues, and the exhibition will tour the country for three years after the Te Papa showing at locations ranging from Whangarei to Invercargill. For the current itinerary, please visit the website: www.annefrankexhibition.co.nz

The Anne Frank travelling exhibition has also gained the enthusiastic endorsement of a range of high-level groups and individuals.  Among them is Prime Minister John Key, who agreed to open the exhibition. He said:  “From what I have heard about this exhibition, it is something I am sure young New Zealanders could learn a lot from.”

The Hon Chris Finlayson, Minister for Culture and Heritage, also added:  “As the 20th Century draws further into the past it is a very real risk that a generation of New Zealanders will have little or no awareness of the Holocaust. The exhibition’s tour to New Zealand offers a valuable opportunity, one I hope many New Zealanders will be able to access.”

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