Anne Frank’s diary has come to Bonegilla

“IT seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a 13-year-old schoolgirl.”

So wrote Anne Frank in her diary in 1942 — and how very wrong her statement would prove to be.

There would be few unaware of the Jewish schoolgirl’s story, made famous after World War II by the publication of the diary she kept while she and her family were in hiding in Amsterdam for two years until captured by Nazis in 1944.

Now, a new exhibition at Bonegilla Migrant Centre serves to retell that story, shedding new light on one of the most dramatic periods of history — and why it resonates today.

Anne Frank: A History for Today, sponsored by Dutch bank Rabobank, comes to the Border direct from the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, after touring 55 countries and many metropolitan and regional museums.

Twelve panels illustrate the Frank family’s experiences chronologically, in tandem with what was happening in Germany and the rest of Europe at the time.

In this way, exhibition coordinator Iet Fuijkschot said, people could see directly how outside forces influenced the lives and actions of people like the Franks.

“It is a moving story anyway but the way it is presented now is exactly how it happened,” Ms Fuijkschot said.

“I think most people find it to be a powerful experience.”

She said the migrant centre seemed a particularly fitting venue for the exhibition, given its own past as a home for displaced persons.

“The people who came to Australia in the 1950s, they had all been through the war, they knew about this from their own experiences,” she said.

“The people who came here expected a lot more than they got.”

Ms Fuijkschot pondered why Frank’s story endures today: “I think it is she represents all the children who died in the war ... and it is still happening today isn’t it.”

Anne Frank: A History for Today opens today and runs until February 28, at Bonegilla Migrant Centre.

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