With at least 70 translations of “The Diary of Anne Frank,” millions have been touched by the journal kept by the Jewish teen in hiding with her family in an Amsterdam office building attic from July 1942 to August 1944 in an effort to survive the Holocaust. It is Anne’s keen insight about human nature and unwavering messages of hope, despite her youth, dire circumstances and the sad irony that she did not survive, that continue to speak to so many.
In “The Legacy of Anne Frank,” author Gillian Walnes Perry offers an array of stories describing the many ways in which people around the world have been influenced by Anne Frank’s words and story. Perry details the history of how Anne’s legacy grows from Otto Frank’s decision to first publish his daughter’s diary in 1947 to the public opening of the hiding place in May 1960 as the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam as a museum and educational center.
By 1985, the traveling exhibition “Anne Frank in the World” (a version of which is permanently displayed in Sandy Springs) began to bring Anne’s story, within the greater context of the Holocaust, everywhere from Bangladesh to British prisons. To many who learn about her, Anne is a symbol of hope and inspires discussion about tolerance.
An educator from the Anne Frank House observed: “Anne Frank has a particular appeal to young people in Latin America who have suffered at some point from prejudice and discrimination. Her story is used as an example of a young person like them who demonstrated strength and resilience in very difficult and threatening situations.”
Among the many unique stories, Perry shares how former South Africa President Nelson Mandela found inspiration in reading the diary during his long imprisonment. Another chapter explains the role the “Anne Frank in the World” exhibition played in helping people in newly independent countries from the former Soviet Union transition from Communism.
“The Legacy of Anne Frank” is an educational and inspiring read in itself, concluding with a discussion of Anne’s relevance for future generations.
The book will be featured at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 7.