By JOYCE APSEL
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 26, 2000
The writings and wisdom of Anne Frank have spoken to generations around the world, and many have been moved to speak about impact of her words. The exhibit Anne Frank: A History for Today begins with a series of powerful quotations about Anne and her diary.
The quotations range from three presidents -- John F. Kennedy of the United States, Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Vaclav Havel of Czechoslovakia -- to contemporaries of Anne Frank such as Laureen Nussbaum and another survivor of concentration camps, writer Primo Levi. These quotations underline Anne Frank's legacy and the necessity to be aware of and work against discrimination and violence:
"(Anne Frank's) diary is the spontaneous utterance of a young person, a girl who, despite the oppressiveness and anxiety that came with living underground, tried to grow and to free herself from her parents, searching for her own way."
- Laureen Nussbaum, Holocaust survivor who knew Anne's sister, Margot
"One single Anne Frank moves us more than the countless others who suffered just as she did, but whose faces have remained in the shadows. Perhaps it is better that way: If we were capable of taking in the suffering of all those people, we would not be able to live."
-Primo Levi, author and Holocaust survivor
Italian-Jewish writer Primo Levi, whose writings, such as Survival in Auschwitz about being a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps, are among the most powerful literature of the 20th century, speaks of the power of a single person to move us. Anne Frank was one of more than 1.5-million Jewish children killed during the Holocaust. Anne Frank is just one of millions whose lives were destroyed by hatred, war and politics.
"Anne Frank's legacy is still very much alive and it can address us fully, especially at a time when the map of the world is changing and when dark passions are awakening within people."
- Vaclav Havel, president of Czechoslovakia
[Times files 1999]
"Some of us read Anne Frank's diary on Robben Island and derived much encouragement of it."
- Nelson Mandela
Why do you think Nelson Mandela speaks of Anne Frank as an inspiration? In part, because through her writings she continued to struggle to express herself and to find meaning in life despite the fact that she was a Jew in hiding from the Nazis in occupied Holland. Mandela and others had to struggle against a dehumanizing system which denied them economic, political and civil rights.
John F. Kennedy
"Of the multitude who throughout human history have spoken for human dignity in times of great suffering and loss, no voice is more compelling than that of Anne Frank."
--John F. Kennedy
This year's Newspaper in Education series
Introduction, previous chapters and Web Links
"Anne Frank: A History for Today," an international touring exhibit, opened this month at the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg, 55 Fifth St. S. The exhibit, which traces Anne Frank's life and times through family photographs and diary passages and examines prejudice and violence today, is available through the Anne Frank Center USA. Exhibit sponsors include the Eckerd Family Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Paul W. Martin Jr., the Sembler Family and the state of Florida.
Many resources on Anne Frank are available at libraries and bookstores. These Anne Frank-related books are available in the Florida Holocaust Museum bookstore.
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