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University of South Carolina to open Anne Frank Center

The new center is scheduled to launch in September on the Columbia campus with an exhibition and a learning program

Part of the permanent exhibition of the Anne Frank Center at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. (The University of South Carolina via JTA)
Part of the permanent exhibition of the Anne Frank Center at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. (The University of South Carolina via JTA)

JTA — The University of South Carolina has announced the opening of a permanent exhibition on Anne Frank, complete with a reproduction of the desk where she wrote her diaries and in partnership with the museum in Amsterdam.

The Anne Frank Center is scheduled to launch in September on the Columbia campus with an exhibition and a learning program featuring photos, videos and artifacts, according to an item aired Tuesday on the CBS affiliate there. One room will reflect the famed diarist’s experiences living in hiding from the Nazis for two years in a secret annex in Amsterdam.

The Nazis caught Anne along with her parents and sister Margot in 1945 and deported them to concentration camps. Only her father, Otto, survived. He edited diaries and other writings by Anne and published them as “The Diary of a Young Girl,” and it became an international bestseller.

The house where the family hid is a museum that, before the COVID-19 pandemic, had received more than a million visitors annually. It is an official partner of the University of South Carolina, providing the university with educational material developed at the museum and some funding.

Amsterdam’s Anne Frank House museum has partnerships with three other entities operating Anne Frank centers in London, Buenos Aires, and Berlin.

“This is so important to us personally and to our community, like a glue that binds the university to its neighborhood,” University of South Carolina Interim President Harris Pastides told News19. “The Anne Frank Center at the University of South Carolina is unlike anything this university has ever done before.”

Columbia’s Anne Frank Center, where admissions will be free, also will reference racism in America and the South, including in the story of Emmett Till, a black teenager who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955.

“It’s also about tyranny towards other minorities around the world,” Pastides told the local news channel. “In the Anne Frank Center, you will see an allusion to the Jim Crow era related to atrocities against African-American people right here in our state.”

Separately, a statue of Anne Frank was unveiled in Edmonton, Canada. The Dutch Canadian Club, a group focused on Dutch immigrants to that country and their descendants, commissioned the statue that was unveiled Sunday in Light Horse Park, in commemoration of Canada’s role in liberating the Netherlands from Nazi Germany, the Edmonton Journal reported.

TOI staff contributed to this report.

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