Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Anne Frank's Diary published 60 years ago

Today it is 60 years ago the Diary of Anne Frank was published for the first time, containing the story of a Jewish girl in hiding. The diary has been translated at least 65 times, amongst others in Chinese and the Cambodian language Khmer; the latest translation is in Dari, an Afghan language. The book has become the most translated book from Dutch origin.

The cause of Anne Frank is still of interest to many people. Visitors to Amsterdam stand in line to visit the house that served as a hiding place. In Spain a musical is being prepared which will open in the theatre Calderon in the Spanish capital Madrid. In Paris a garden in memory of Anne Frank was opened in the Jewish neighbourhood Marais. And in Poland they have their own Anne Frank, in the person of fourteen year old Rutka Laskier, who wrote a diary in the ghetto in Bezdin before she was sent to Auschwitz. Recently more than 12 metres of archive was added to the existing archives in the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, when Buddy Elias, a nephew of Anne Frank, handed over letters, documents and photographs of the family Frank.

The diary of Anne Frank has been the subject of movies and musicals. But it has also been a subject for digital media as CD-ROM and internet; there is even a blog these days. In both media, the Anne Frank House is the centre piece. It is the house on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam, where Anne Frank wrote her now world-famous diary Het Achterhuis (The Annex) during the Second World War.

For the CD-ROM, the Anne Frank House was specially arranged to correspond to the way it was during Anne's period in hiding. This CD-ROM, designed for adults and young people, gives - in clear language and using unique images and film material - a complete picture of everything involving Anne Frank, her family, the House, the Second World War, and hiding from the occupying forces.

You visit the front and rear parts of the House (known in Dutch as the voorhuis and Achterhuis), and go back in time to the Second World War. For the CD-ROM, the Anne Frank House was specially laid out as it had been during the time that Anne was in hiding. It seems as if you yourself are actually in the House and, by moving the mouse, you can view all around and also move through the building. You are at the centre of a sphere and can turn 360 degrees and look upwards and downwards as well. Doors open for you and you can zoom in on all kinds of objects that you encounter. You can request supplementary information on these items. You get acquainted with the people involved in the story: Anne, her father Otto, her mother Edith, her sister Margot, and also the other people in hiding and the helpers such as Miep Gies and others. The CD-ROM tells the story of their lives during the war, and contains unique images and information: including eye-witness reports and pictures from the Frank family album. You will learn history in a unique and personal manner. What actually happened in the Second World War? What do anti-semitism and persecution mean? Why did people have to go into hiding? What are concentration camps? The facts are narrated by means of multimedia techniques involving slide shows, photographs, video fragments and spoken language. The story is told in a way that appeals to both adults and young people.

The CD-ROM contains unique photographs from the Frank family album, including more than 1000 historical photographs and comprising 15 video films including the only moving pictures of Anne Frank. It contains also more than 300 slide shows. In all with a total of almost 4 hours' of spoken text and other audio effects and music; an explanatory list of words and a comprehensive Help function is included.

I got to know the CD-ROM when I was a jury member of the Europrix 2000. The disk made a deep impression on the jury and was selected as the winner in its category and the overall Europrix winner of 2000 of all seven categories.

Blog Posting Number: 795

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