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Tell Us Your Favorite Family Films
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Anne Frank's popularity gets renewed with each new generation that reads her diary. While the details of her tragic story are well known, what keeps her book on everyone's reading list is that it so powerfully chronicles the life if an ordinary 13 year old girl - her battles with her mother, her first crush and the awkwardness of one's social life at that age. Of course, the fact that these 'normal' struggles are taking place against the background of World War Two and the Holocaust make the book an indelible part of every young person's literary education. The classic film adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank sticks to Anne's chronicles of life in the attic, but we like Anne Frank - The Whole Story because it gives a fuller picture of Anne and her community. Spending a third of the film on Anne’s pre-hiding life gave us a portrait of her not just as a victim of Nazi persecution, but as a thriving girl just like our teens. We see her first boyfriend, her birthday parties, and her concern over new shoes even as the Nazi’s invade Holland. The second portion of the movie occurred while Anne was in hiding, showing the strains of two families and a single man living together, along with Anne growing up and falling love with Peter. The final third traced Anne’s life in the concentration camps; first in Holland, then when her family was chosen for transport to Auschwitz, and finally in the brutal Bergen-Belson where Anne and her sister died. We learned about the people in Anne’s life. We compared Miep and the co-workers who hid the families in the attic to the people who told the Nazis where the Franks were hiding, providing our teens with stark examples of the effect of each person’s choices in the face of evil.
Our trip to Los Angeles' Museum of Tolerance gave us the perfect opening to discuss prejudice and intolerance in the context of the past and in our own times. The Museum gives a human face to the Holocaust by giving each visitor a Photo Passport that describes a typical child living under the Nazis. During the tour, we stopped at a kiosk to update what was happening to the child at that time in history, some were transferred to a concentration camp and others went into hiding, and finally, whether or not the child survived. While none of the exhibits are gruesome, the Museum of Tolerance uses multi-media installations, air temperature, lighting, and furnishings to consciously and subconsciously convey the darkness that fell over Europe under the Nazis. As we exited through separate doors, we all found ourselves at the Wall of Righteousness, a tribute to the people to who risked their lives to save Holocaust victims. Each name plate lists the person and the number of people saved, underscoring the most important message at the Museum of Tolerance, that one person can make a difference. If you don't happen to live in Los Angeles or Washington D.C., home to two powerful Holocaust museums, check out your cities Jewish Museum or Jewish Heritage Center, where there will more than likely be section dedicated to education about the Holocaust and Anne Frank.
Our Buttery Bits of Wisdom about this film:
Our Tips for Talking with your Teens about this Film:
Local Jewish Museum or Jewish Heritage Center
Age Recommendation: 12 and up
Time Allotment: An afternoon
Our Buttery Bits of Wisdom on This Adventure
Visiting a Jewish museum in your city: