Anne Frank House
A Cultural Memory Organization
By Alessia Barzetti and Andrea Hamilton
Link to organization:
The Anne Frank house is a museum in Amsterdam. “The Anne Frank House was established on 3 May 1957, with the close involvement of Anne’s father, Otto Frank. It is an independent, non-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation of Anne Frank’s hiding place and her diaries, and to spreading the message of Anne Frank’s life and ideals worldwide. On the basis of Anne Frank’s life story, set against the background of the Holocaust and the Second World War, the Anne Frank House develops educational programmes and products with the aim of raising young people’s awareness of the dangers of anti-Semitism, racism and discrimination and the importance of freedom, equal rights and democracy.” Retrieved from: http://www.annefrank.org/en/Sitewide/Organisation/
This would speak to the dominant narrative for this cultural memory organization.
This particular organization maintains cultural memories by having the actual space/hiding place for people to see, and the actual diary there to look at and read. Visitors can interact within the space, climbing up the steep steps and standing within the space with low ceilings. Visitors get a true experience and perspective of the space, as if they are back in time with Anne and her family.
There is a direct and physical connection to the past because of this cultural memory organization. So much care and energy has gone into the preservation of this important institution.
In addition the website for this cultural memory organization allows visitors to engage in special projects such as workshops, extending its mandate and institution to everyone around the world. The Anne Frank House has a special program entitled, Free2choose Create. The purpose of this program is to inform young audiences about fundamental human rights through educational debate. http://www.annefrank.org/en/Education/Teachers-portal/Products-and-courses/Free2choose-Create/
The museum also has other information about WWII and the accounts of other people who knew Anne (her father, friends) who told their stories about Anne and her family’s experience. The museum has information about discrimination, and anti-semitism, to educate others about the importance of equal rights and freedom. Throughout history Anne Frank House has focussed other exhibitions on examples of injustice and discrimination around the world.
There is no counter-narrative present within the Anne Frank house itself. The house is strictly set up as a place to preserve the memories of WWII, from the perspective of Anne Frank. The main narrative is to teach about anti-semitism and inequalities and discrimination.
There are, however, counter-narratives present in society that the Anne Frank House has had to address. Here is one great source:
This site talks about how the Anne Frank House has had to defend against those who try to say that Anne’s diary is a forgery, or that she never wrote it in the first place. Some of those are also people who try to say that the Holocaust never happened and/or that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz. The article states that “The Anne Frank House regularly takes successful legal action against attacks on the authenticity (the truth) of the diary” (p. 1).
The website explains that the people who try to deny the reality of the diary, “are people with a political aim: by denying or trivializing the Holocaust, they try to prove or make it appear reasonable that Nazism was (and is) a much less malevolent system than everyone thinks. Because it forms an accessible introduction to the Holocaust to people all over the world, and is often used in schools, the diary of Anne Frank is a popular target for these old and new Nazis” (p.6).
Below is a look inside the Anne Frank House
Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTpXf5Np3Pw
A Concluding Voice Message below:
Thank-you for visiting our interactive poster.