We are disheartened by the article headlined “The Shoah’s Lessons, Near and Far” (May 23). The article misstates facts about The Anne Frank Center, an organization devoted to preserving and promulgating Anne’s legacy and diary and its applicability in teaching not only the horrors of the Holocaust, but a broader message, as well.
While we apply the lessons of the Holocaust to modern day atrocities (such as Darfur) and day-to-day discrimination in America, we neither equate these events with the Holocaust, nor do we look away from the elements of intolerance and hatred that they have in common. Much of our exhibits in New York and throughout the nation focus on the events of the Holocaust as they affected the Frank family and other Jews in Europe and how intolerance towards Jews resulted in a tragedy that is unprecedented in human history. Contrary to what your article suggests, we do get — and tell — “the Jewish story.” But, we don’t stop there because we believe that to never forget also means to learn the lessons of the Holocaust.
We are surprised that The Jewish Week would say that Anne Frank’s diary “conveniently” ends before Anne’s death in Bergen Belsen; a statement that devalues the power and depth of her message and her fate. Anne’s optimism and courage were based on her hope that she would be saved. The tragedy of her fate is made more poignant by her continued belief in the humanity that failed her.
The article makes little mention of our core exhibit regarding the Secret Annex in which Anne was hidden and the authentic materials from the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam that can be seen at our Center. It dismisses the fact that our educators have brought her story to thousands of children throughout the U.S. and it belittles the connections that young people make between Anne Frank and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Our board, comprised of Jews and non-Jews, Holocaust survivors, the children of survivors and relatives of righteous rescuers, well knows that when Anne’s father, Otto Frank, established the Anne Frank Center, he entrusted it with the legacy of his daughter and her powerful message. He wanted her words to inspire people to build a world based on equal rights and mutual respect, fighting against bigotry, racism and intolerance. We do so every day.
Deborah Chapin and Paul Kaplan Co-Chairs of the Board
Anne Frank Center USA
Anne Frank Center USA