Category Archives: Exhibits

Two News Items Related to WWII Nazi Trains

Pending parliamentary approval, France’s national railway has agreed to give some recompense to surviving Holocaust victims, spouses of victims, and heirs. The organization’s was complicit in deporting tens of thousands of people to death camps during WWII.

BBC News

The Westerbork Memorial Center has purchased a WWII cattle car discovered in Germany. Five were discovered on an abandoned track near Butzbach. The WWII-era cattle cars presumably were matched satisfactorily to documents and archival film/photos as the type used to ship prisoners out of Westerbork. It’s not certain if these particular boxcars were used to transport prisoners from Westerbork to death camps, but they will be restored and will become a part of the visitor exhibits.

News Story (in Dutch)
Another News Story(also in Dutch)

You may notice some photos of trains in some news stories show trains with windows and some do not. I remember reading that, when people were transported from freedom to a camp,  the trains were fairly nice. This played into passenger’s and onlooker’s hopes that things were not going to be so bad. But when camp prisoners were then transported from one camp to another (such as the trip from Westerbork to Auschwitz-Birkenau), there was no pretense at comfort or humanity: they were forced into cattle cars. Of course, in either case, they found themselves locked in. 

Thanks to my helpful NL contact for pointing out the news about the boxcar going to Westerbork.

3 April 2015 UPDATE:
The trains have been restored and installed in the museum site: Dutch article and video. The article explains that Westerbork was destroyed in the 1970s. It was rebuilt as a museum site. They have restored and placed into the Westerbork museum site two cattle cars of the same type Anne and other Westerbork prisoners were sent on, sent on the long trip to Auschwitz.

Exhibit about Anne’s Mother at Anne Frank House Museum

The Anne Frank House has a temporary exhibit about her mother. Part of their web site is dedicated to this exhibit: Anne’s Mother. I found the navigation confusing: I kept discovering I was going in circles. I feel Anne gave a better sense of the person. Anne’s perspective on her mother lacked dimension and wasn’t presented. We are left looking at photos and not much that came directly from Edith Frank.

It’s probably a symptom of women’s lives in that era. Woman’s place was to be obedient and perform unappreciated services: go to school, get married, keep house, cook, change the diapers, and clean, clean, clean. There was not a lot of chance to develop interests and opinions, which resulted in frustration and unhappiness. (Watch or read The Stepford Wives for a mockery of the 1970s version of this role for women.)

Doesn’t Edith Frank have a look like The Mona Lisa in this photo? Maybe there was a secret unarticulated opinion about the order of her world. At any rate, I’ve never seen this picture of Anne’s mother before.

I’m familiar with the photos of the Frank family, (which were mostly saved by Miep Gies’ quick thinking the day of the raid), because they’re available online (Getty Images Archive, last time I checked). There was not much new on the website about the exhibit. Perhaps there are more photos and information in the exhibit itself, which is ongoing until mid-March 2012, at the Anne Frank House Museum, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Thanks to my NL contact for telling me about this.

Happy 11-11-11!

Anne Frank House Exhibit about Anne’s Sister, Margot

Through September 15th, the Anne Frank House has a small exhibit about Anne’s big sister, Margot. They say the exhibit is small, but even what they have online is quite extensive. You can see items regarding her correspondence school course in Latin (this was while she was in hiding, under the name of one of the helpers). There are extensive quotes from one of her still-living classmates who also went into hiding but survived (she also tells some about her own very interesting experiences). There is a photo of the beautiful rowing medal Margot won when she was 14. There is also the story of how the occupying Germans’ rules forbade her participation the following year, so her teammates refused to race at all.

There is also a note to her friend. Margot wrote, “Times change, people change, thoughts about good and evil change, about true and false. But what always remains fast and steady is the affection that your friends feel for you, those who always have your best interest at heart.” I wonder if Margot was quoting someone or was the author. Perhaps we will never know.

Online portion of the Exhibit (follow the “more” links to see it all)

An Anne Frank Exhibit

There is an exhibit about Anne in Liverpool, which includes a life-sized replica of Anne’s room in the hiding place. It should look identical (with guesses at the furniture) to the room that she slept in, hoped in, and wrote most of her diary in. The exhibit is inside the Liverpool Cathedral and runs until February 8th. (see BBC news story)

local copy of bbc article