Reaching South Africans:
At the handing over ceremony in Amsterdam, 29 April 2009 (left -right):Jan Erik Dubbelman (Director of the International Department at the AnneFrank House); Steve Gadd (Prison Exhibition Manager for the Anne Frank Trust);Simon McDonnell (Diversity Governor HMP Wakefi eld); Chris Robinson (SecurityGovernor HMP Wakefi eld); Tali Nates (Director, Johannesburg HolocaustCentre); Phil Spicer (Instructional Offi cer HMP Wakefi eld); Andy Charles (Officer Instructor HMP Wakefield); Hans Westra (Executive-Director Anne Frank House)
Inmates at HMP Wakefield, one of Britain’s highest security prisons, have marked what would have been Anne Frank’s 80th birthday by producing a scale model of the Frank family’s former home-in-hiding.
Reaching South Africans
Steve Gadd and four prison officers travelled to Amsterdam on Wednesday 29 April 2009. In a moving ceremony at the Anne Frank House, they handed over the scale model to Tali Nates, director of the Johannesburg Holocaust Centre.
“It is our way of paying our respects, in commemoration of Anne, her family and the tragedy of their lives. ...we would like this presentation to be a celebration of Anne’slife and the inspiration she has been to millions of people all around the world.” Steve Gadd, Anne Frank Trust UK .
The model was subsequently brought to South Africa, destined to feature in the Anne Frank – a history for today exhibition in the Women’s Jail at Constitution Hill, Johannesburg. Site of Johannesburg’s notorious Old Fort Prison complex where thousands of ordinary people were brutally punished before the dawn of democracy in 1994, Constitution Hill is now the home of South Africa’s Constitutional Court. The Anne Frank Trust in the UK, one of the partner organisations of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, has been taking the exhibition Anne Frank – a history for today into British prisons since 2002. In this prison project inmates learn about Anne Frank and the Holocaust, and pass on what they have learned to their fellow prisoners.
"I always thought that we black people were the only ones who were discriminated against", said a British prisoner to journalist Henriëtte Lakmaker of the Dutch newspaper Trouw in 2008."[...] because of the Anne Frank exhibition, I now know that others can be victims of discrimination too".
"Being part of the project has given me a sense of achievement that few projects allow you to have. Before this my knowledge of Anne Frank was purely the name itself... Today after many cuts, much frustration at myself, I’ve learned about the person who just wanted to discover her life. Getting to know more has allowed me to instill a sense of discipline in what is usually a selfish path. Thanks to the foundation in Anne Frank’s name I have gained a sense of direction and for that I am grateful. I am also proud of the work that I have done will be admired by thousands of people all over the world... ” Geoff, a prisoner at HMP Wakefield.
“I never really had an interest in the story of Anne Frank until working on this project, but have found her story to be of great interest, it certainly brings into perspective how fortunate I am that my Jailers allow me the luxuries of TV’s, decent food and most importantly, life. It was a privilege to be able to help other people remember how things were, and never should be again”. Brian, a prisoner at HMP Wakefield