Boyd Klap honoured for maintaining the memory of Anne Frank

August 6, 2021 by David Zwartz
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Over a decade of activities promoting the memory and messages of Anne Frank’s short life was recognized last week with a special presentation to 94-year-old Dutch-born Boyd (Boudewijn) Klap.

Boyd Klap with New Zealand Member of Parliament Marja Lubeck, who hosted the presentation event (Photo by Eva Kaprinay)

Hosted by Marja Lubeck MP (herself of Dutch descent) at New Zealand’s Parliament Buildings, the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand thanked Boyd for bringing two separate Anne Frank exhibitions to tour the country, as well as organizing the publication in te reo Māori (the Māori language) of The Diary of a Young Girl (Te Rātaka a Tētahi Kōhine), in 2019.

To cap these major achievements, Boyd Klap organised tree planting in a Wellington park, and the design and manufacture of an Anne Frank Memorial sculpture, unveiled last June. The memorial’s designer, Matthijs Siljee, is also Dutch-born.

The first Anne Frank touring exhibition was opened by the Prime Minister in 2010 and over several years visited all of New Zealand’s main centres and provincial cities. After that, Mr Klap arranged an extensive tour of Australia.

The second exhibition – both came from the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam – opened in 2018 and is still touring the country. Both have been visited by tens of thousands of teenage school pupils, and over a hundred thousand members of the public.

Through JNF Joods Nationaal Fonds in the Netherlands, trees were planted in Boyd’s honour in the Anne Frank Memorial Forest in Israel. In recognition, the JNF sent a special artwork incorporating a chestnut from the (now dead) tree that Anne looked down on from her attic window, in the Annex where she and her family were in hiding. She often wrote about the tree in her diary.

At a reception attended by Boyd’s family, friends, Anne Frank sponsors, MPs, diplomats, civic leaders and Holocaust Centre supporters, there were many warm tributes to his continuous energy and dedication. The Netherlands ambassador sent a video message of appreciation from her Covid quarantine isolation.

The presentation, and a toast to Boyd, were made by immediate past chair of the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand, Jeremy Smith, who has worked closely with Boyd on the Anne Frank projects.

4 August, the day of the event at Parliament, was the day in 1944 when all the Jews hidden in the Annex were arrested and sent to Westerbork Camp, eventually to die in Nazi death camps in Poland and Germany. Only Anne’s father, Otto Frank, survived and later arranged the publication of her Diary, which has now been translated into over 70 languages.

Boyd Klap, himself not a Jew, was in the Netherlands throughout the Nazi German occupation from 1940 to 1945. His personal experiences inspired him to spread, as widely as possible, the messages of Anne Frank’s life, writings and death, the horrors of the Shoah, and their meaning for today’s world.

Immigrating to New Zealand in 1950, Boyd had a successful career in the insurance industry, in New Zealand and Australia. As a retired and very spry octogenarian, he accepted the challenge of educating youth about the dangers of prejudice and discrimination, using the story of Anne Frank and the Holocaust Centre’s slogan: “Be an upstander, not a bystander.”

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