Anne Frank's story launched by today's kids in East End
PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 November 2010
THE story of Anne Frank is the best known of the six million Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis.
More than six decades on, what happened to this 15-year-old who yearned to be a journalist is still relevant today and especially to schoolchildren in the East End.
A new book of stories she wrote while in hiding in Amsterdam during the German Occupation was launched at Bethnal Green’s Morpeth Secondary School on Armistice Day last Thursday, that day that marks the dead of two World Wars.
Anne Frank’s diary is a symbol for the suffering in the Holocaust and still provides lessons for today’s generations.
Some of her most ambitious writing has never been published until now in a book, ‘Tales of the Secret Annexe’.
Morpeth Head teacher Sir Alasdair MacDonald, who introduced the book launch, told his pupils: “History often has opportunities to teach us about life, not just about what happened in the past.”
Some pupils went on an educational trip last year to Auschwitz to see inside the Nazis’ worst death camp during the Holocaust, where Anne Frank and her family were sent after they were caught in their hideout in Amsterdam during the German Occupation.
The trip to Auschwitz was part of a programme run by the Anne Frank Trust which includes an A-level course at Morpeth, ‘Anti-Semitism, Hitler, and the German People’.
Mukith Khalisadar, the trust’s London regional manager, told the Advertiser: “It makes sense to come back to a school where the experience of visiting Auschwitz is so important and so relevant to leave the message of the Holocaust and Anne Frank.”
Sixthformer Omar Islam told the assembly about his experience on the trip, when he saw inscribed above the camp entrance gate, ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’—work makes you free.
“It was a symbol of hope for the Jews,” Omar recalled. “Hope for freedom that never came.”
Anne Frank’s book includes short stories and comments she wrote about her family’s life in the secret annex, about her feelings of isolation and the fear that any day they could be betrayed.
Ceallach Spellman, a 15-year-old actor from the BBC’s EastEnders, read a chapter to the pupils, a story about changing the world by treating people equally, regardless of class or religion: “How wonderful it is that everyone, great and small, can immediately help bring about justice by giving of themselves!”
Anne Frank died age 15 from typhus in a concentration camp in March, 1945, just a month before the end of the war in Europe.
Her dream of becoming a journalist was never fulfilled. But she has been an inspiration to more people in more countries than perhaps any journalist.
‘Tales of the Secret Annexe’ is published by Halban Books at £10.