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On 6 July 1942, 76 years ago today, the Frank family went into hiding in the Secret Annex. After fruitless attempts to emigrate, going into hiding was the only remaining way to stay out of the hands of the Nazis. The Van Pels family and Fritz Pfeffer joined the Frank family in the Secret Annex shortly afterwards. Their attempts to emigrate had also failed. Today the Anne Frank House and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum present their report of their research into the attempts of Otto Frank, Anne’s father, to emigrate to the United States. Bureaucracy, war and time thwarted Otto’s emigration attempts, as well as those of many other Jews.

Research

Read the complete report of the research: 

Consulate

“I am forced to look out for emigration and as far as I can see the USA is the only country we could go to.” Otto Frank wrote this on 30 April 1941 to his good American friend Nathan Strauss in New York. Otto Frank had been working on his plans to emigrate to the United States since 1938. The immigration visa application, with all the necessary documents, had to be submitted to the American consulate in Rotterdam. In the Netherlands, only the Rotterdam consulate issued immigration visas. The consulate was destroyed during the bombardment of Rotterdam on 14 May 1940. That led to a laborious reconstruction of the waiting list, and all applications - including Otto Frank’s - had to be resubmitted.

Asylum policy

There were also obstacles from the United States: in the absence of an asylum policy, Jews seeking to escape Nazi persecution in Europe had to go through a protracted emigration procedure. There was limited willingness to accept Jewish refugees. Nevertheless, Otto Frank hoped to enter the United States with the help of his friend Nathan Straus, who had financial resources and political connections. Despite the efforts of Nathan and Otto’s two brothers-in-law in the United States, the emigration attempt was unsuccessful.

Changing circumstances overtook Otto: the United States closed all German consulates, whereupon Nazi Germany closed all American consulates in Germany and Nazi-occupied territory. Otto’s attempt to emigrate to the USA via Cuba also came to nothing. After the attack on Pearl Harbour and the suspension of transatlantic shipping traffic, travel to Cuba was impossible. Otto Frank decided to go into hiding with his family in the Secret Annex of his business premises on the Prinsengracht canal.

New findings

At the time of the discovery of letters and other documents of Otto Frank by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in 2007 various articles were published on Otto Frank’s attempts to emigrate to the United States. This new research by the Anne Frank House and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is based on the YIVO dossier and on new sources, both in the Netherlands and the United States. Otto’s emigration attempts were mapped out step by step in the context of the wartime developments in Europe and the United States. Although the United States had a far from generous policy with regard to Jewish refugees, it is clear that Otto, Edith, Margot and Anne Frank were not refused entry to the United States. Because of all the developments Otto’s immigration visa application to the American consulate in Rotterdam was never processed.

At the Anne Frank House we strive for a historically reliable, authentic and accessible presentation of the life story of Anne Frank in the context of the persecution of the Jews and the Holocaust. In this context we conduct research into Anne Frank and the other people in hiding in the Secret Annex. In 2015 we presented our research report on the last months of Anne and Margot Frank, and in 2016 we presented our research report on the arrest of the eight people in hiding. Now, together with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, we present our research report on Otto Frank's attempts to emigrate with his family to the United States.

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Thursday, June 28, the Stories that Move toolbox will be launched in Berlin by Juliane Seifert, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. The Anne Frank House and major European partners have teamed up to produce a free, multi-language web tool for schools to fight the discrimination, racism and antisemitism that continue to affect young people everywhere. The launch is part of an expert conference of 60 educators from the seven participating countries who have worked intensively with the project in development. Stories that Move has since been awarded the Comenius EduMedia medal of 2018 for excellent teaching materials.

Digital toolbox

Stories that Move is a digital toolbox which helps teachers discuss various forms of discrimination and racism. Based on 27 personal stories from peers, youngsters learn to critically think about subjects such as diversity and discrimination, and to reflect on their own positions and choices.

The Stories that Move toolbox offers five learning paths with engaging online and offline materials looking at identity and prejudice, everyday situations of discrimination, life stories and history, media messages, and taking action.

Currently available in English, Dutch, German, Hungarian, Polish, Slovak and Ukrainian, this innovative range of blended learning materials includes film clips of real lives around Europe to help young people explore the impact of hate speech, exclusion and discrimination, past and present.

Expert conference

The launch is part of an expert conference of 60 educators who have worked intensively with the project in development and will feature a Living Library of some of the young people and experts whose personal insights and experiences informed the tool, including Daniel and Mark (a young Jew and a young Roma, both from Hungary), Nued (living in Germany and from an Ethiopian family) and Rocky Hehakaija (who works as a street football coach and talks about empowering young people).

It seems there has never been a more important time to discuss and further understand discrimination – past and present – and to have an online toolbox to guide our students towards both empathy and empowerment.

Prize

The toolbox Stories that Move has won the Comenius EduMedia medal of 2018 for excellent teaching materials. This prestigious international prize was awarded on Friday 22 June by the Institute for Pedagogy and Media in Berlin.

Stories that Move is a partnership co-funded by the EU Erasmus programme. 

See the Stories that Move toolbox: 

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Today, on Anne Frank's 89th birthday, the Anne Frank House, Force Field VR and Oculus launch a virtual reality tour of Anne Frank's hiding place: Anne Frank House VR. The tour gives a uniquely immersive experience of the hiding place of Anne Frank and the seven other people in the Secret Annex. In the tour all the rooms of the Secret Annex are furnished in the style of the time spent in hiding. The tour lasts for around 25 minutes, is available in seven languages and can be downloaded free of charge from the Oculus Store.

Multilingual and free of charge

The virtual reality tour lasts for around 25 minutes and is available in seven languages: Dutch, English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Hebrew. Anne Frank House VR is free of charge and can be downloaded from the Oculus Store for Samsung Gear VR and the recently launched Oculus Go headset from Oculus and Facebook.

Latest technology

Anne Frank House VR shows the furnished rooms of the Secret Annex. Force Field VR has used the latest VR visualisation technology in combination with intensive manual work to arrive at a photorealistic result, all on the basis of extensive historical research. 

Empty Secret Annex

The real Secret Annex is empty. The furniture was removed by order of the Nazis after the arrest of the eight people in hiding. It was the wish of Otto Frank, Anne's father, to leave the rooms of the Secret Annex empty. Otto Frank was the only one of the eight people in hiding to survive the war. After his return from Auschwitz he devoted himself to the publication of his daughter's diary and the preservation of the Secret Annex and its opening to the public.

The VR tour gives people all around the world the opportunity to explore Anne Frank's hiding place as it was in July 1942 to August 1944, the period when Anne Frank was forced into hiding and wrote her diary. The tour offers an immersive experience. Our heartfelt thanks go out to Force Field VR, which developed the tour, and to Oculus, which helped to finance the project.

Educational use

The VR tour will be installed at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam to enable visitors with restricted mobility to see the Secret Annex, as it was in the hiding period, with other sites including the Anne Frank Zentrum in Berlin and Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect in New York rolling out later this year – giving more people around the world an opportunity to see for themselves what the space would have looked and felt like.

Teacher's guide

This Guide offers tips and suggestions on the following:

  • Preparing for Anne Frank House VR
  • The participant tour
  • Questions and suggested discussions
  • Additional resources
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The Anne Frank House, together with the Huygens Institute of Netherlands History and the NIOD, Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, presented 15 May the hidden text on two pages covered up with gummed paper in the first diary of Anne Frank, with its red checked cover. Thanks to digital technology the text on the hidden pages has now been made legible. 

Over 70 years since the publication of the diary the text of two pages, which Anne Frank wrote in her diary on 28 September 1942, has been published for the first time.

Spoiled page

“I’ll use this spoiled page to write down ‘dirty’ jokes”, wrote Anne on 28 September 1942. She had then been in hiding in the Secret Annex for barely two months. In an attempt to save what she saw as the “spoiled” page of her beloved diary, she first listed four “dirty” jokes. From these jokes Anne moves on to the subject of sex education, which she pretends she has to give to someone else. In this way she can show what she knows about it. 

Why

Ronald Leopold, executive director of the Anne Frank House: “Anne Frank writes about sexuality in a disarming way. Like every adolescent she is curious about this subject. She also writes about it on other, uncovered pages. Of course we asked ourselves, together with the other organisations involved, the question of whether it was right to publish a text that Anne had covered up. After careful consideration we arrived at a positive answer.

  • The diary papers of Anne Frank are world-famous and have UNESCO world heritage status. Millions of people have read her diary and visited the Anne Frank House. We are of the opinion that if new information on her diary becomes available, in this case new text, we have to share it with the world.
  • Apart from the public interest, the academic interest also played a role in our considerations. We want to enable other researchers to include these new fragments in their analysis of the diaries of Anne Frank.
  • What is more, other texts from the diary papers of Anne Frank that she had not intended for publication have been published on earlier occasions. That already occurred in the publication arranged by her father in 1947, and later in the compilation of the critical education by the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, which was published in 1986 and republished in 2001 after the discovery of five new diary pages.“
The symbol of the Holocaust and the girl

Over the decades Anne has grown to become the worldwide symbol of the Holocaust, and Anne the girl has increasingly faded into the background. These - literally - uncovered texts bring the inquisitive and in many respects precocious teenager back into the foreground. 

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More about the deciphered hidden pages in the diary of Anne Frank.

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The Anne Frank House, together with the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands and the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, today presents the hidden text on two pages covered up with gummed paper in the first diary of Anne Frank, with its red checked cover. Thanks to new technology the text on the hidden pages has now been made legible. Over 70 years since the publication of the diary the text of two pages, which Anne Frank wrote in her diary on 28 September 1942, has been published for the first time.

Anne Frank was thirteen years old when, on 6 July 1942, she went into hiding from the Nazis. She reread her diary entries, made improvements and crossed out words and phrases. In her first diary, with its red checked cover, two whole pages are covered up with brown gummed paper.

The covered pages

The covered pages were photographed during a regular check on the condition of the diaries of Anne Frank in 2016. Thanks to image processing technology the text could be deciphered. The texts that are being published for the first time today do not stand in isolation; they form a part of the diary entries that Anne Frank began on 12 June 1942. The texts that have now been revealed are included in the academic research into the diaries of Anne Frank and her development as a writer that the Anne Frank House has been carrying out together with the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands since 2010.

The covered pages.

Otto Frank

In his will Otto Frank bequeathed the diaries of his daughter Anne to the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Dutch state. The diaries were given on loan to the Anne Frank House organisation and are permanently exhibited in the Anne Frank House.

Anne Frank writes about sexuality in a disarming way. Like every adolescent she is curious about this subject. She also writes about it on other, uncovered pages. Given the great public and academic interest we have decided, together with the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands, to publish these texts and share them with the world. They bring us even closer to the girl and the writer Anne Frank.

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More about the deciphered hidden pages in the diary of Anne Frank.

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FAQ

Frequently asked questions about the  revealed pages in the diary of Anne Frank. 

To the FAQ's

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