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Anne's diary spreads her story
By JOYCE APSEL
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 18, 1999
Anne's goal of "becoming famous" and "becoming a writer" is reality, as millions of people, especially young readers, continue to read her diary in 55 different languages throughout the world. Hundreds of thousands of visitors come to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam yearly and tens of thousands view traveling exhibits such as "Anne Frank: A History for Today," sponsored in North America through the Anne Frank Center USA. This exhibit opens in January at the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg.
Anne Frank's influence is evident worldwide. President John F. Kennedy wrote: "Of the multitude who throughout history have spoken for human dignity in times of great suffering and loss, no voice is more compelling than that of Anne Frank."
South African President Nelson Mandela recalled after his years of imprisonment for his participation in the political movement to end apartheid:
"Some of us read Anne Frank's diary on Robben Island and derived much encouragement of it."
Anne Frank's life and death and her diary remain powerful and relevant in our own time.
Anne Frank's life and death personalize the struggle for human dignity in the face of discrimination and genocide. Her voice is part of the testimony of people recording and bearing witness. Her voice is one of 1.5-million Jewish children killed during the Nazi war against the Jews, the Holocaust. It is an enduring legacy, reminding us of the necessity to work to end discrimination, to work toward achieving human dignity and human rights for all humans despite the reality that violence and genocide exist in our own times.
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Next: Diary writing and the power of the individual story
Dr. Joyce Apsel is director of education at the Anne Frank Center USA in New York. Please address questions or comments about this series to: Floridian, Anne Frank and Human Rights, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or e-mail Floridian@sptimes.com.
Activities to do in class or at home
1. Remember to write in your diary/journal at least three to four times each week.
2. Using the Anne Frank articles that have appeared in the St. Petersburg Times, write a poem about the life of Anne Frank.
3. From Reader's Companion to The Diary of a Young Girl Anne Frank, The Definitive Edition (1995, Doubleday): Almost two years after Anne Frank received her diary she wrote: 'Will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer? I hope so, oh, I hope so very much, because writing allows me to record everything, all my thoughts, ideals and fantasies.' Did Anne's diary mean something different to her after she had been in hiding? Why or why not? -- Lee Ann Yeager, St. Petersburg Times Newspaper in Education manager
Spirit of Anne Frank Awards
The Anne Frank Center USA in New York is dedicated to educating the public, especially young people, about the causes and dangers of discrimination and violence through the story of Anne Frank.
One way the center promotes its mission is through the Spirit of Anne Frank Awards, recognizing individuals who display the courage to confront racism, prejudice and bias-related violence through participation in community organizations and programs. The awards include grants and scholarships for students and teachers who exemplify the ideals Anne Frank represents.
Recipients of the 1999 Spirit of Anne Frank Awards include: Miep Gies (Lifetime Achievement Award); Vera List (Lifetime Humanitarian Award for Philanthropic Service); Linda Ellerbee (Outstanding Community Leader in the Field of Journalism/Media); and Tony Randall (Outstanding Community Leader in the Field of Arts and Education).
This year's awards will be presented Nov. 15 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. For information, call (800) 246-3381 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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