The senior school is currently playing host to the acclaimed exhibition ‘Anne Frank: A History for Today’ which forms part of a national school’s programme organised by the Anne Frank Trust. The aim of the programme is not only to explore Anne’s life and the history of the Holocaust, but to take the poignant messages from her life and diary to help students understand the damage caused by prejudice and hatred.
The harrowing story of Anne’s life is told through a number of panels: from her early life in Germany and having to flee to Amsterdam as the Nazi’s took a political foothold, to a life in hiding until final exposure by the security police, and her eventual demise in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, just a month prior to liberation by the British Army. They chart the rise of the Nazi party, the outbreak of the war and the atrocities seen as the persecution of the Jews intensified.
Some of the panels particularly focus on Anne’s life during the two year period as she hid in the annexe of her father’s office, and the diary she wrote which chronicled her daily fear of discovery and persecution.
Mrs Thorpe, who had scheduled the exhibition, said: ‘Although the exhibition predominantly covers a historical event, we are able to explore the main topics drawn from it, as part of our Citizenship programme, and examine the parallels with what is happening in the world today. Particularly, it can help us understand the consequences of unchecked prejudice and discrimination, and the importance of respect and the celebration of cultural diversity in our society’.
The Trust recommends the use of peer guides to help deliver the school’s programme, believing that pupils will respond well to being introduced to Anne’s story through their fellow peers. As such, around twenty Year 8 pupils were trained to act as guides and talk through the story as it is uncovered on the panels.
‘These guides not only gain an in-depth knowledge of the story of Anne Frank but they have become more confident as they developed their literacy and presentation skills. It has provided them with a real sense of achievement’, said Mrs Thorpe.:
One of the guides, Kenzah Noor said: ‘I really enjoyed acting as an exhibition guide as I am very interested in historical events. I think it is really good idea to learn about other people’s lives’.
Imaan Yakub, who was shown around the exhibition by Kenzah was also positive about the exhibition, said: ‘It was really enjoyable to learn about history and the guide explained it well. I learned all about Anne Frank’s life and how she was treated really badly by the Nazi’s – it was so sad that she died of typhus in the camp just before she would have been rescued’.
Pupils from all classes from Year 5 upwards have now seen the exhibition.
As a follow-on activity, pupils in Years 7 to 9 are now scheduled to take part in a number of workshops, led by members from the Trust. These will cover: prejudice and discrimination, identity and diversity, human rights and responsibilities, and stereo typing and labelling.
Also, at the end of the exhibition period, a number of the Year 8 guides will be chosen to act as ‘Ambassadors’ for the Anne Frank Trust to help take the programme into local primary schools.