Originally exhibited at the James Miller Center, the Reading and Writing with Anne Frank Exhibit is currently in display on the second floor of the Great River Regional Library in St. Cloud as part of a community partnership with St. Cloud State University. “It is a lovely exhibit, and a way to engage people with Anne Frank, and the importance of her writing and reading while she was in hiding.” said St. Cloud Public Library Patron Services Coordinator Sandy Toland about the Exhibit.
The Exhibit is in the city of St. Cloud as part of a comprehensive program that aims to provide complementary programming for local teachers, particularly those in 8th grade for the St. Cloud School district and the Sauk Rapids-Rice Middle Schools, as they are reading the diary of Anne Frank or the play based off of the diary. As a matter of fact, over 800 8th graders from North Junior High, South Junior High, Kennedy Community School and Sauk Rapids-Rice middle school toured SCSU when the exhibit was at the James Miller Center. During the tour, they had three stops. The Miller Center for the exhibit, the ISELF Building for a virtual tour of the secret annex in which Anne and her family hide, and the Performing Arts Center where they talked to Jeffrey Bleam, director of the play and theater professor at SCSU.
When asked about the Exhibit, Director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide and coordinator of the Anne Frank project at SCSU, Daniel L. Wildeson said “I wanted to get the exhibit here because sometimes the story of Anne Frank is only told as a coming of age story of a young women who wrote a diary during difficult times, and the exhibit helps to tell the broader story”.
The Exhibit was created by the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, and came from the Anne Frank Center USA in New York, a partner organization that is sponsoring its exhibition and manages its schedule throughout North America, in an attempt to advance Anne’s legacy as a writer, and also educate young people about the dangers of intolerance, anti-Semitism, discrimination, racism, and a way to inspire young people to build a world based on equality and mutual respect.
Born on June 12, 1929, Anne Frank was a German-Jewish teenager who was forced to go into hiding during the Holocaust. She and her family, along with other people, spent over two years during World War II hiding in an annex of rooms above her father’s office in Amsterdam. She is famously known for her diary, “Kitty” that she had kept during her hiding years from July 6th 1942 to August 4th 1944. Her diary was her confidant and best friend. The first words she ever wrote in it were ”I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support”.
Her story is also that of a holocaust victim, that of a firsthand experience of human rights abuse, and the story of a young, incredible woman’s courage, who despite oppression from the Nazi’s, still emancipated through the unlikely channels of her writings. “She had an amazing spirit and while she was hiding she still got out and explored the world through her book” said Sandy Toland.