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Exhibit Paints Portrait of a Young Girl
'Anne Frank -- A History for Today' tells the story of a brave Holocaust victim through pictures
John Christopher Carpenter (jccarpen)     Email Article  Print Article 
Published 2005-08-01 10:10 (KST)   
Visitors to "Anne Frank - A History for Today" view panels, watch a movie and write their own comments about the display.
©2005 Carpenter
The story of Anne Frank, a Jewish teenager killed during the Holocaust, has moved the hearts of millions of people since it first appeared in print in 1947. Who wouldn't be moved by the story of a bright, hopeful teenager remaining in hiding for more than two years only to be betrayed to the Nazi authorities occupying the Netherlands? Who wouldn't feel the suffering Anne's father, Otto Frank, must have felt when he learned that his wife and two daughters had perished in concentration camps after being separated from him?

Through pictures and narrative that effectively capture the optimism and personality of a young girl, as well as the tragedy of her death, the exhibit, "Anne Frank -- A History for Today," allows you to walk with her from the moment she received a diary on her 13th birthday to the last hours she spent alive in a concentration camp.

"Anne Frank -- A History for Today" is a traveling exhibit of the Anne Frank House, a museum occupying the building where the Frank family hid in the Netherlands. It will be open at the Insa Art Center in Insa-dong in Seoul until Aug. 21.

Charlie Changhun Han, an international trader living in South Korea, is one whose life was touched when he visited Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. The visit to the six rooms where Frank and her family hid made a deep impact, and Han decided he wanted other Koreans to experience Frank's story as well.

"It's not good business," Han said about the fee he paid to bring the exhibit to Seoul, "but I wanted to show all the text and photos. First of all for my daughter, and maybe it could be a small motivation for young people."

Han said 700 paying customers visited the exhibit the first week it was in Seoul. The cost is 5,000 won for adults and 3,000 won for children. Those 65 and older get in free.

Han said he hopes the exhibit will be a starting point for young people to appreciate what they have. People these days complain about not having enough money or enough time to go on vacation, Han said, but they take love and freedom for granted. Freedom was all Frank and her family wished for, he said.
There are 34 panels in chronological order in the room where the exhibit is housed. They begin with the story of Anne receiving her diary and end with an appeal for people who visit the exhibit to nurture freedom, justice, tolerance and solidarity.

There is also a movie about Frank's life, the only copy of her diary, and a virtual tour of the annex where she and her family hid.

Charlie Changhun Han arranged for the Anne Frank exhibit to come to Seoul after visiting the building where Frank and her family hid during WWII.
©2005 Carpenter
Most of the panels alternate between the story of Anne's life with her family and Hitler's rise to power until the Franks become part of Hitler's insane scheme.

The family realizes it will have to leave Germany as anti-Jewish rhetoric increases. Otto Frank and his wife, Edith, decide to move to what they think will be a safe haven in the Netherlands. Nazis eventually take over that country too and extend their policies beyond German borders. What had been a safe haven became another dangerous environment for the Franks.

Ever resourceful, Otto Frank prepares a hiding place in an unused portion of the building where he housed his business. The family moves in and stays in hiding more than two years before they are ratted out and taken to Auschwitz by way of Camp Westerbork in the Netherlands.

As evidenced in her diary, Anne realizes what is happening in the world around her and struggles to come to terms with it. In her final diary entry just three days before she and her family are captured, Anne writes that there is an approaching thunder that will consume her family.

"And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too will end, that peace and tranquility will return once more. In the meantime, I must hold on to my ideals. Perhaps the day will come when I'll be able to realize them."

In the first panel she wonders who would be interested in the musings of a 13-year-old schoolgirl. As she writes more and more, she develops a desire to be a journalist and then a writer.

"쫗y greatest wish is to be a journalist, and later on, a famous writer. In any case, after the war, I'd like to publish a book called 'The Secret Annex.'"
While she didn't live long enough to see it, the publication of her diary and the impact it has had around the world have made her dream come true.

Barbara Sorenson, an American who is teaching English in Korea, visited the exhibit on the first weekend it was open in Seoul. Sorenson taught English literature in the United States, so she had read Anne Frank's diary, but she said the panels with pictures from Frank's life and the environment she lived in painted a more vivid picture than the book alone had done.

"By seeing the actual pictures you are forced are set aside your own ideas and see it as it really was," Sorenson said.
Call 02-736-1020 for more information about the exhibit.
©2005 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter John Christopher Carpenter

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