Firhill exhibition commemorates Anne Frank

An exhibition commemorating the life of Anne Frank and the history of the Holocaust has gone on display at Firrhill High School.

The Anne Frank: A History For Today exhibition was opened today (Tuesday 29 April) by Bailie Elaine Aitken who was joined by Heather Boyce from the Anne Frank Trust and second generation Holocaust survivors who spoke of their family members’ memories of the war. The ceremony was attended by pupils from Firrhill High, local primary schools and retirement home residents from Old Farm Court and Caiystane Court.

The exhibition tells the story of Anne’s short life through text, quotes from her diary and powerful images and sets it against the backdrop of the rise of Nazism, WWII and the Holocaust. 

Highlights of the moving display include photos and memorabilia from survivors of their loved ones who perished during the holocaust, and a letter from a survivor’s which she wrote as she boarded the train to Auschwitz. This letter is from the Jewish Museum in Palestine.

Displayed with the support of the Anne Frank Trust, the exhibition aims to highlight the consequences of what happens when prejudice and hatred go unchallenged.

The school will offer guided tours of the exhibition to members of the community as well as local primary school and S1 students. Tours will be given by the school’s specially trained tour guides from S2, who have been trained by members of the Anne Frank Trust on the history of the Holocaust, Anne Frank, and her famous diary. 

The school has also appointed six Anne Frank ‘ambassadors’ who will visit local P7 classes and hold workshops with the children on issues raised by the exhibition such as discrimination, stereotyping, identity and bullying.

As a special commemoration of Anne Frank’s 85th birthday in June, the school will also be  holding a tree planting ceremony in the school grounds on 11th June to remember all victims of the Holocaust.

Bailie Elaine Aitken, Councillor for Colinton and Fairmilehead, said: "I am delighted this fascinating exhibition is being held in the heart of the school where pupils and members of the local community will have the opportunity to learn about life during the holocaust. 

“Many years on from the atrocities of the second world war, we in Scotland occasionally take tolerance for granted. This moving display brings home how important it is for current and future generations to challenge prejudice and value inclusion.” 

Paul Godzik, Children and Families Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “This exhibition is a great example of the effort taking place across Edinburgh schools to educate our pupils about world war history. 

“The school is offering older pupils the opportunity to develop core skills by acting as tour guides and workshops hosts, which is a fantastic way for the students to learn and debate the important issues raised by the exhibition including discrimination and bullying.”

Sheila Watson, Teacher, Firrhill High School, said: "There are huge lessons for all of us today - young and old - in these incredible and humbling stories from the past."

Heather Boyce, Programme Development Manager for the Anne Frank Trust UK, said: “Anne's story teaches us that all people deserve to be treated with respect regardless of difference. I’m delighted to be working with Firrhill on this programme for a second year.

"The previous guides and Ambassadors have done a fantastic job of passing on this message and I'm looking forward to their good work continuing with our new generation of Anne Frank guides and Ambassadors."

The Anne Frank: A History For Today exhibition will be on display at the school until 9 May 2014. Admission is free and open to the general public if pre-requested. Those interested in visiting should email Sheila.Watson@Firrhill.edin.sch.uk to arrange a date and time for a guided tour.

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