Phoenix City Hall showcases new mobile exhibit on Anne Frank


Jose: A NEW MOBILE EXHIBIT AT PHEONIX CITY HALL TELLS THE STORY OF ANNE FRANK'S LIFE AND THE RELEVANCE OF HER DIARY FOR TODAY’S WORLD. THIS SHOW WAS BROUGHT TO ARIZONA BY THE ANNE FRANK HOUSE IN AMSTERDAM AND THE NETHERLANDS CONSOLATE GENERAL IN SAN FRANCISCO. JOINING US NOW IS GERBERT KUNST THE CONSULE GENERAL OF THE NETHERLANDS. MR. KUNST THANK YOU FOR JOINING US HERE ON “HORIZONTE”. BEFORE WE GET INTO SOME OF THE DETAILS OF THE EXHIBITION TELL US HOW IT CAME TO BE.

Kunst: YEAH, WELL, WE HAD A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY. I MET WITH THE DIRECTOR OF THE ANNE FRANK HOUSE IN THE AIRPORT IN APRIL OF LAST YEAR AND HE CAME OVER TO VISIT THE UNIVERSITY. THE UNIVERISTY IS AN OFFSPRING OF CHESTNUT TREE THAT STOOD IN THE BACKYARD OF THE ANNE FRANK HOUSE. AND HE GAVE A SPEECH AND WE DISCUSSED A LITTLE ABOUT ANNE FRANK AND HER STORY AND WE CAME UP WITH THE IDEA THAT IT WOULD BE THING TO GET EXHIBITION OF ANNE FRANK'S LIFE TO THE WEST COAST. AND SINCE I AM INVOLVED IN THE THIRTEEN WESTERN MOST STATES OF THE UNITED STATES, I GOT A FEELING THAT WE MIGHT DO SOMETHING AS WELL WITH STUDENTS AND THEREFOR WE DECIDED TO BRING THE LEARNING EXHIBITION, IF I MAY SAY SO, THE MOBILE LEARNING EXHIBITION TO THE WEST COAST.

Jose: AND YOU MENTION STUDENTS AND I KNOW THIS HAS BEEN IN SOME OF THE LOCAL SCHOOLS HERE. THE FIRST TWO PICTURES WE WANT TO PUT UP THOUGH ARE FROM THE EXHIBITION THAT IS CURRENTLY AT THE PHOENIX CITY HALL RUNNING THIS WEEK THERE. THERE’S THIS PICTURE AND THESE ARE THE KINDS OF PANELS AS I UNDERSTAND IT THAT ARE ON DISPLAY.

Kunst: YEAH, SO, THE WHOLE EXHIBITION CONSISTS OF 30 PANELS. AND THEY HAVE A SORT OF BORDER, LIKE, STARTS WITH THE FIRST YEARS OF ANNE FRANK AND THEN IT DESCRIBES THAT THE NAZIS IN GERMANY TOOK OVER. THEN YOU SEE THE SITUATION THAT THE FAMILY OF ANNE FRANK CAME TO THE NETHERLANDS AND THEN THE LAST PART, OF COUSE, HER LIFE IN THE SECRET ATTICS AND OF COURSE THERE’S A FINAL PART OF THE END OF HER LIFE.

Jose: SO THEY ARE KIND OF CLUSTERED. WE HAVE ONE OF THE NEXT SCREENS SHOWING HER FAMILY AND KIND OF GIVES THAT BACKGROUND. AS I UNDERSTAND IT, THERE WILL BE SEVERAL PANELS TRACING HER FAMILY HISTORY.

Kunst: YEAH. CORRECT. CORRECT.

Jose: WHICH BEGAN IN FRANKFURT?

Kunst: YEAH, SHE WAS BORN IN FRANKFURT IN 1929, SO THOSE WERE HER EARLY DAYS. AND THEN SHE CAME IN 1934 WITH HER MOTHER TO THE NETHERLANDS. HER FATHER CAME IN 1933 TO THE NETHERLANDS.

Jose: AND WE HAD A PICTURE UP ON THE SCREEN A MOMENT AGO. MAYBE WE CAN GET IT BACK. THAT DOES COVER THE PERIOD OF TIME WHEN THE NAZIS ARE COMING INTO POWER IN GERMANY AND HAVING SEEN SOME OF THE OTHER PICTURES OF PANELS IT KIND OF TRACES THE RISE OF ANTI –SEMITISM AND THE VARIOUS RACE LAWS THAT PASSED AT THAT TIME.

Kunst: YEAH, WELL, AGAIN, THE EXIBITION IS MEANT TO BE, I WOULD SAY, A WAY OF TEACHING STUDENTS THE HISTORY OF WORLD WAR II, AND I WOULD SAY, THE YEARS BEFORE THE WORLD WAR II. AND WE’LL TRY AND THE ANNE FRANK EXHIBITION TRIES TO INVOLVE THE KIDS IN THESE KINDS OF QUESTIONS. AND WHAT I LIKE IN THE EXHIBITION IS THAT AGAIN, LIKE I SAID, THE PEER GUIDES ARE PART OF THE WAY THE EXHIBITION WORKS. BECAUSE EVERY SCHOOL INVOLVED HERE IN PHOENIX, WE HAVE THREE SCHOOLS. WE HAVE THOMPSON HIGH SCHOOL, MOHAVE MIDDLE SCHOOL AND COHIN HIGH SCHOOL. I AM HAPPY WE HAVE THESE THREE SCHOOLS, PUBLIC SCHOOLS INVOLVED. AND THOSE SCHOOLS THEY ASK THE KIDS WHO WOULD LIKE TO BE PEER GUIDES.

Jose: AND SO YOU HAVE THE STUDENTS COME IN FOR A DAY OF TRAINING AS I UNDERSTAND IT. AND THEY COVER THESE DIFFERENT PANELS AND PERIODS OF TIME. WE’VE GOT ONE LAST ONE THAT I WANT TO PUT UP THIS IS THE ONE THAT CAPTURES HER -- BASICALLY HER DEATH AND TELLS WHAT HAPPENED. IT’S HER FATHER I THINK IS TRACING WHAT HAPPENED TO HIS CHILDREN. HE WAS THE ONLY SURVIVOR. IS THAT RIGHT?

Kunst: THAT'S RIGHT.

Jose: AND THEN ULTIMATLY YEARS LATER THE BOOK COMES TO BE. SO, GOING BACK TO THE SCHOOLS, THIS IS PRINCIPLY AN EDUCATION OF STUDENTS. THEY GET TO BE THE PEER TRAINERS FOR A DAY AND THEN THEY TEACH OTHER STUDENTS?

Kunst: YEAH, INDEED, AND AGAIN LIKE I TOLD YOU WE HAVE A PARTNERSHIP WITH ANNE FRANK HOUSE AND THERE ARE ANNE FRANK HOUSE TEACHERS AND THEY COME OVER AND THEY DO THE TRAINING. SO THAT SPECIAL DAY THERE ARE NO OTHER TEACHERS.

Joe: NOBODY ELSE IS INVOLVED EXCEPT --

Kunst: EXCEPT FOR THE ANNE FRANK TEACHER. AND LIKELY IN PHOENIX TWO TEACHERS. I KNOW FOR THE STUDENTS, QUIT AN IMPORTANT DAY. MY TWO ELDEST, MY SON AND MY DAUGHTER, THEY WHERE INVOLVED IN SAN FRANCISCO AND THEY CAME ON A SUNDAY AND HAD A FULL DAY TRAINING. AND THE TRAINING, I WOULD SAY, WAS PERFECTLY DONE BY THE ANNE FRANK HOUSE TRAINER. IT IS NOT ONLY TO GET INVOLVED IN THE STORY AND KNOW THE WAY THE STORY DEVELOPS BUT AS WELL TO BE ABLE TO DO A PRESENTATION, TO BE ABLE TO ASK QUESTIONS TO YOUR PEERS. I WAS QUITE IMPRESSED. AND I VISITED OTHER SCHOOLS AS WELL. WE BROUGHT THE EXHIBITION TO HAWAII FOR EXAMPLE AND YOU SEE THE KIDS ARE QUITE ABLE TO GET IT. SHOW THEM PANELS AND THEY ARE QUITE SERIOUS STORIES AND CRUELTY DUE TO THE HOLOCAUST AND IT IS DIFFICULT FOR KIDS COME UP WITH A RATIONAL FOR THAT EVENT AND I THINK THIS EXHIBITION HELPS THAT.

Jose: THAT WOULD BE ONE THING I THINK WOULD BE PARTICULARLY DIFFICULT; HAVING ANY RELATIONSHIP OR EVEN BEING WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE HOLOCAUST AND THE HORRIBLE THINGS THAT HAPPENED. WHAT THE ARE YOU SEEN AMONG STUDENTS? PARTICULARLY THE TRAINERS?

Kunst: WE HAD THE EXHIBITION IN SAN FRANCISCO, HAWAII WHERE WE WORKED TOGETHER WITH THE PEACE AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION INSTITUTE, BEEN BACK TO SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA AND IT’S NOW IN PHOENIX. I NOTICED THE KIDS WILL HAVE QUIT OFTEN HAVE READ THE DIARY—SO THEY KNOW THE STORY. AND THEY ARE ALWAYS CRITICAL THINKERS. THAT’S AN IMPORTANT PART AS WELL. SO, THEY KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON IN LIFE AND SOCIETY. THEY READ THE STORY OF ANNE FRANK AND SEE THIS RELATES IN A WAY BECAUSE THE STORY IS ABOUT THE AWARENESS AND NEED FOR AWARENESS THE STRESS NEEDED FOR DISCRIMINATION, EXCLUSION, AND SUCH KINDS OF DANGERS. IT IS IMPORTANT FOR KIDS TO DISCUSS THAT WITH THEIR PEERS. AND TO BE MADE VERY AWARE OF WHAT THAY MEANS FOR SOCIETY.

Jose: I KNOW THERE IS PRETTY FIRM REQUIREMENTS SUCH AS IT BEING TAUGHT BY SOMEBODY FROM THE ANNE FRANK HOUSE AND A FULL-DAY OF TEACHING FOR THE STUDENT TRAINERS. YOU ARE ALSO PRETTY FLEXIBLE ABOUT OR ARRANGEMENTS FOR PARENTS OR HOW THE CLASS WOULD GO THROUGH THE EXHIBITION?

Kunst: WE TRY TO BE VERY FLEXIBLE. I THINK FIRST AND FORMOST IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THIS EXHIBITION CAN TRAVEL TO ALL KINDS OF STATES THROUGH THE WEST COAST. I REALY FEEL THAT IT IS IMPORTANT TO HAVE SUPPORT LIKE IN THE CITY OF PHOENIX SUPPORTING THE SCHOOL DISTRICTS. GOOD DEUTSCH COLLEAGUES LIKE FELDER WHO ARE WILLING AND ABLE TO PUT A LOT OF EFFORT TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN. I THINK WITHOUT IT, THAT SUPPORT, IT IS NOT POSSIBLE. WE ARE FLEXIBLE ON OUR SIDE. WHAT WE PROVIDE IS OF COURSE THE PRODUCTION OF THIS EXHIBITION AND WE PRODUCE IT IN ENGLISH AND SPANISH. SO THAT IS VERY HELPFUL IN MANY OF THE STATES. AND THEN AFTER THAT WE SORT OF COVER THE TRANSPORTATION OF PANELS AND THEN IT IS ALL UP TO THE LOCAL SPONSORS IF THEY WANT TO HELP MAYBE SCHOOLS TO PRODUCE LOCAL PANELS.

Jose: AND SPEAKING OF THAT, AS I UNDERSTAND IT, THE CORE OF THE EXHIBITION IS ABOUT 30 PANELS. THEN THE SCHOOLS PREPARE SOME THEIR OWN PANELS, THE PANELS DO, AND THEY ARE PART OF THE EXHIBIT THAT PEOPLE WILL SEE AT PHOENIX CITY HALL?

Kunst: YEAH, CORRECT. AND IN HAWAII, WE HAD SOME SPECIFIC PANELS ON THE SITUATION OF THE STATE OF HAWAII AND THE HISTORY OF HAWAII AND HOW THE KIDS FELT ABOUT THE HISTORY AND FUTURE. HERE IN PHOENIX, YOU SEE THE SAME THING. I NOTICE SOME SCHOOLS PREPARED THEIR OWN PANELS, SO THEY PRODUCED PANELS ON FOR EXAMPLES, ON QUESTIONS OF RACISM AND OF DISCRIMINATION. AND, WELL, I CAN UNDERSTAND THAT THE STORY OF ANNE FRANK RELATES TO THAT KIND OF QUESTIONS. THE STORY OF COURSE IT’S ABOUT FREEDOM, IT’S ABOUT TOLERANCE AND IT IS ALSO ABOUT A YOUNG TEENAGER HAVING ALL KINDS OF THOUGHTS AND DREAMS IN HER LIFE AND THAT IS RELATABLE AS WELL FOR THE KIDS.

Jose: I UNDERSTAND SOME OF THE PHOENIX-AREA PANELS TALK ABOUT DEPORTATION THAT SOME OF THESE KIDS ARE FEARFUL OF.

Kunst: YEAH, WELL, I THINK THE GOOD PART OF THE EXHIBITION IS IT GIVES A PLATFORM FOR STUDENTS TO RAISE ALL KINDS OF QUESTIONS AND HAVE THESE KINDS OF CONVERSATIONS. I WOULD SAY, AND AGAIN, I HAVE SEEN MY OWN KIDS HERE, THEY ARE CRITICAL THINKERS AND THEY’RE SOMETIMES THEY HAVE THESE KINDS OF QUESTIONS AND THEN ANNE FRANK EXHIBITION GETS THE OPPORTUNITY TO BRING IN THE QUESTIONS AND MAYBE HAVE A GOOD AND FRUITFUL CONVERSATION.

Jose: THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT THE RISE OF ANTI-SEMITISM IN RECENT YEARS DO YOU THINK THAT GIVES THE EXHIBITION A CERTAIN TIMELINESS, A SENSE OF TIMELINESS, AND CONCERN THAT IT MIGHT NOT OTHERWISE HAVE?

Kunst: WELL, YOU KNOW, THE NETHERLANDS AND THE UNITED STATES WE HAVE A DEEP BOND. WE HAVE A HISTORY OF MORE THAN 400 YEARS BASED ON SHARED HISTORY AND SHARED VALUES. I THINK OVER THE YEARS THERE IS ALL KINDS OF QUESTIONS ABOUT DISCRIMINATION. WHAT WE LEARNED FROM ANNE FRANK’S STORY AND FROM WORLD WAR II. THE DISCRIMINATION QUESTIONS ARE, I WOULD SAY, AROUND THE WORLD AT STAKE I WOULD SAY. IN THIS RESPECT, I FEEL IT IS IMPORTANT TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITIES TO DISCUSS IT WITH THE KIDS. I MEAN THIS IS OUR FUTURE AS WELL.

Jose: MR. KUNST THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US TO TALK ABOUT THIS AMAZING EXHIBITION.

Kunst: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME.

Jose: THANK YOU AND SAFE TRAVELS BACK TO SAN FRANCISCO.

A mobile exhibit on Anne Frank’s life comes to Phoenix City Hall from the Netherlands and Anne Frank House to educate students and the public.

The exhibit consists of 30 panels that tell the story of Frank’s life, from her 1929 birth in Frankfurt, Germany, to her death in 1945. The panels also include historical context on the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany and the Frank family’s move to the Netherlands.

“The Anne Frank exhibition tries to involve kids in these kinds of questions,” Gerbert Kunst, the consul general of the Netherlands in San Francisco. “What I like in this exhibition is that the peer guides are part of how the exhibition works.”

The exhibit is operating in collaboration with three high schools in the metro Phoenix area. Student volunteers have been trained as peer guides by experts from the Anne Frank House.

Kunst says becoming a peer guide isn’t just a way to learn about a piece of history, but it also helps students become adept at presenting and leading a discussion. How capable they are sometimes surprises both the adults and the students themselves, he says.

This international exhibit will be available to the public at City Hall on May 17 and 18. For more information, go here.

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Gerbert Kunst: Consul General of the Netherlands, San Francisco

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