The Anne Frank + You multimedia exhibition was officially opened at Louth County Libraries Roden Place Dundalk by Cllr Declan Breathnach.
This remarkable exhibition recreates the life of Anne Frank and her family, Jews who hid from Nazis for over two years - 1942 to 1944 - in a secret part of a house on the Prinsengracht canal in Amsterdam, a place now known as Anne Frank House which is visited by about a million people every year.
Anne Frank died a day before her sixteenth birthday. The family had been betrayed and taken to Auschwitz on the last train to transport Jewish people out of Holland to the concentration camps.
She and her sister Margot were transported from Auschwitz at the end of October 1944 and taken to Bergen-Belsen, a concentration camp near Hanover.
That winter a typhus epidemic broke out at the camp killing thousands of prisoners. Margot died of typhoid in late February 1945 and Anne a few days later. The camp was liberated in April.
It was an agonising, horrific death. The girls were starving. Their clothes crawling with lice. And they were virtually insane.
When Margot was gone, Anne was alone. She knew her mother was dead, and believed her father was also dead. Some believe that had she known her beloved father was still alive, she might have made it through to the liberation of the camp in April.
Just one thing was left behind when the family was taken from the house on the Prinsengracht canal. A small book full of Anne’s neat, minute handwriting.
It was found by Miep Gies, the woman who brought food and other supplies to the hiding Frank and van Daan families, the only outside link with the concealed and intense life in the secret hideout. Without Miep Gies, the families two years in hiding would have been impossible.
The book left behind was Anne Frank’s diary of those two years. It is the most famous diary in literary history.
Miep Gies, who died last year aged 100, said the diary had done much good, but she still wished daily that the family had survived instead. “A human being is more than a book,” she said.
A facsimile of the diary can be seen at the Dundalk exhibition, in the recreated room were Anne slept, the teenager’s room where she had ordinary teenager’s hopes and dreams, as is shown by the pin-up photos of film stars. It was here she dreamed of the outside.
The opening of this exhibition was attended by the Dutch ambassador to Ireland, Paul Schillekens, Lynn Jackson of the Anne Frank Educational Trust, and Gillian Walnes Anne Fran foundation UK.
And also the children of St Joseph’s National School Muirhevnamor.
It runs until 19 October and it’s free. Contact: County Library 042-9324321.
Yanky Fachler will give talk on ‘Anne Frank and the Irish Dimension’ at Dundalk Library on Thursday 3 October at 6.30pm. Everyone welcome.