Holocaust survivor set to open Northern Ireland’s Anne Frank Exhibition

Strabane’s Alley Theatre is set to host the Northern Ireland launch of the award winning Anne Frank (+You} exhibition this May, a stunning exhibition which examines the life of Anne Frank and the legacy of her unique diary which still has a message to share with everyone in Northern Ireland today.

Assisting the launch will be Mrs Inge Radford, one of Ireland’s last surviving Jewish Holocaust survivors, who lost her widowed mother and 5 brothers to the Nazi concentration camps in 1942.

Famous around the world, this poignant exhibition, which will be at the Alley from May 10th until May 29th, is anticipated to draw in visitors and groups from across the island of Ireland, keen to understand more about the legacy left by Anne Frank and showing the relevance in today’s society of views she expressed in her celebrated diary. At the heart of the exhibition, entitled Anne Frank (+ You} is a life-size replica of her bedroom in the secret annexe above her father’s business premises in Amsterdam. This small space is where the Frank family, and four other Jews, spent more than two years in hiding before being betrayed to the Nazis in the summer of 1944.

Visitors will experience the room where Anne confided in her diary about her hopes, ambitions and perceptions about conflict and the human condition. To reach the “secret annexe” room in the exhibition, visitors must first pass through a multi-media display which explores the themes that dominated her life and a tunnel on the Holocaust and genocides around the world. Themes of Identity, Prejudice and Racism, Conflict and Peace, Moral Responsibility, and Freedom and Democracy are all addressed on giant exhibition panels which carry significant excerpts from Anne’s diary, along with examples of present day issues in picture and print, whilst televisual displays of teenagers of today discussing the issues in a 21st century context can also be viewed.

The exhibition was developed by the Anne Frank Trust UK, who worked alongside its sister organisation the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, and an award winning creative team, whose brief was to create a unique and challenging experience for people of all ages which will interest and inform them on the story of Anne Frank. Strabane District Council and the Community Relations Council are funding this project in association with the Cultural, Heritage and Identity programme, which is supported by the Peace III programme and managed for the Special EU programmes Body by the North West Peace III Cluster.

“The story of Anne Frank not only reminds us about what has happened in the past, but also what is happening in society today. This exhibition will be an ideal way to inform our community about the need to stand together and support those in society who need our help and support, whilst protecting their human rights. Anne’s short life shows us what can happen when hatred and extremism goes unchallenged, we therefore intend to challenge and stimulate discussion within our community about what are the best ways forward in offering everyone an equal place in society today” stated Kieran McGuire, Chairman of Strabane District Council.

“The Trust promotes positive attitudes in young people towards differences particularly in age, gender, ethnicity, religion and disability, and encourages people to reject all forms of bigotry. The Trust’s Executive Director Gillian Walnes explained: “The intention of Anne Frank [+ You} is that visitors, particularly youngsters aged 11 to 17, will be able to relate the horrors that befell victims of the Holocaust to the world around them, and recognise the need to challenge injustice and to contribute to a society built on mutual respect and moral courage to prevent such things happening again. This is an exhibition unlike any other that is touring Northern Ireland and will be a major talking point.” The exhibition runs from May 10th until May 29th, for further information on the forthcoming exhibition visit www.alley-theatre.com or contact the Alley Box Office on 028 7138 4444.