New Anne Frank ex­hibit de­buts at Clin­ton li­brary


For­mer U.S. Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton said Fri­day he hoped a new ex­hibit out­side his pres­i­den­tial li­brary honor­ing Anne Frank will teach visi­tors to fo­cus on their sim­i­lar­i­ties, not the di­vi­sions that have led to tragedies.

Clin­ton cel­e­brated the grand open­ing of the Anne Frank Tree, an out­door ex­hibit that will fea­ture a sapling from the tree out­side the build­ing where Frank and her fam­ily hid from the Nazis dur­ing World War II. Clin­ton said Frank, who gained in­ter­na­tional fame through the pub­li­ca­tion of her di­ary af­ter dy­ing in a con­cen­tra­tion camp, is a re­minder of how even chil­dren can be de­mo­nized be­cause of racial, eth­nic or re­li­gious di­vi­sions.

“We shouldn’t have to have a killing to be re­minded of our com­mon hu­man­ity,” Clin­ton said.

The ex­hibit con­sists of five framed, etched pan­els, two of which fea­ture quotes from Frank and Clin­ton. The other three fo­cus on the In­dian Re­moval Act of 1830, the in­tern­ment of Ja­panese Amer­i­cans dur­ing World War II, and the Lit­tle Rock Cen­tral High School De­seg­re­ga­tion Cri­sis.

Ron­ald Leopold, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Anne Frank House, com­pared Frank to the nine black stu­dents who de­seg­re­gated Cen­tral High School in 1957.

“Sim­i­lar to Anne Frank’s dreams, theirs was also rooted in a history of in­jus­tice and in­equal­ity,” he said. “Like Anne, they did not give in to the hope­less­ness of the mo­ment but held on through their un­alien­able rights and ideas.

The li­brary is among 11 sites in the U.S. that have re­ceived saplings from the white horse ch­est­nut tree that was out­side the se­cret an­nex where the Frank fam­ily hid. The tree was present at the cer­e­mony but will be housed at a nurs­ery un­til it has ma­tured and thrive at its new home. A sim­i­lar ch­est­nut tree will be tem­po­rar­ily planted in its place.

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