Museum criticizes game’s Anne Frank-themed ‘escape room’
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Museum criticizes game’s Anne Frank-themed ‘escape room’

Part of ‘Escape Bunker,’ based in Dutch town, designed to resemble apartment where teenage Jewish diarist and family hid from Nazis

An Anne Frank-themed 'escape room' bunker in the town of Valkenswaard, 140 kilometers (87 miles) south of Amsterdam (YouTube screencap)
An Anne Frank-themed 'escape room' bunker in the town of Valkenswaard, 140 kilometers (87 miles) south of Amsterdam (YouTube screencap)

AMSTERDAM — The Anne Frank foundation on Friday criticized an “escape room” game made to look like the small Amsterdam apartment where the teenage Jewish diarist hid with her family from the Netherlands’ Nazi occupiers during World War II.

According to its website, the recently opened Escape Bunker in the town of Valkenswaard, 140 kilometers (87 miles) south of Amsterdam, has a room styled to look like the apartment. As part of the game, visitors are locked in and have to escape within an hour using teamwork, creativity and “out-of-the-box” thinking.

The Anne Frank foundation, which manages the museum in the canal-side house that includes the Frank family’s hidden apartment, said the apartment was one of the places where the Holocaust, or Shoah, played out and said, “It shows very little empathy for survivors of the Shoah to use the annex as a backdrop for an escape room.”

The bunker “creates the impression that hiding (from the Nazis) is an exciting game and if those hiding are smart enough they won’t be caught,” the foundation said, calling that impression historically wrong.

Anne Frank, age twelve, at her school desk in Amsterdam, 1941.
Anne Frank, at age 12, at her school desk in Amsterdam, 1941

Thijs Verberne, the operator of the bunker, defended it in a telephone interview, calling the escape room “an educational experience.”

Anne Frank became posthumously famous for the diary she kept while her family went into hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam.

The Jewish teenager and her sister Margot died at in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945, shortly before it was liberated by Allied forces. Her mother Edith died in Auschwitz in January 1945; her father Otto was the family’s sole survivor of the Holocaust.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report

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