In Her World: Anne Frank
The book was published in 1947; plays and a movie version followed. Yet visual images of Anne, a smiling, dark-haired child with grave eyes, were elusive; only a few photographs of her were seen by the public.
Now, family pictures discovered during the past several years provide revealing new glimpses into the prewar life of the happy girl who later wrote in her diary, "In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart." The snapshots, most of them taken by her father, Otto, are part of a larger exhibit of 800 photographs and documents now touring the U.S. The exhibit, Anne Frank in the World, 1929-1945, co-sponsored by the Anne Frank Center in Amsterdam and its New York affiliate, opened in New York on the 56th anniversary of Anne's birth, and will visit at least 30 cities over the next three years.
Many of the photos, culled from West German and Dutch archives, trace the political activities that swirled around Anne during the war. But the pictures of young Anne are perhaps the most enduring. She smiled easily and often, playing with chums, sunning on the beach, posing at age 9 with a rabbit.
The family photos were recovered by officials at the Anne Frank Center. Five years ago a package with no return address and a West German postmark arrived at the center; in it was the Franks' family album. Bauco van der Wal, the center's director, surmises that the album may have been kept by a German family who received the Franks' possessions after the family was captured. Other pictures were donated two years ago by members of Frank's family in Switzerland and West Germany.
The photos confirm Anne's love of life. Many years later Otto, who died in 1980, described his family's 1944 train trip to the concentration camp 80 miles from Amsterdam where they were sent after being captured: "As we rode Anne would not move from the window. It was summer...meadows, stubble fields and villages flew by. The telephone wires along the right of way curved up and down along the windows. After two years it was like freedom for her."
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