Where Is Anne Frank

New film raises questions about legacy of Holocaust

Where is Anne Frank imaginatively retells the well-known story of the teenage girl who wrote a diary while in hiding from the Nazis in occupied Amsterdam from 1942-44.

Anne Frank’s diary, published in 1947, and the story of her and her family, humanised the immense human cost of the Holocaust. It was a period that saw six million Jews murdered by the Nazis.

Anne and her family hid for two years in the attic of Otto Frank’s office. They were eventually discovered and taken to Auschwitz and then Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. There Anne, her mother and her sister were killed.

Where is Anne Frank retells Anne’s story through the eyes of Kitty, her imaginary friend who she often addresses in her diary. Kitty is reanimated in contemporary Amsterdam and finds herself in the Anne Frank House museum as tourists and security guards poke through it.

She begins a search for Anne through the streets of Amsterdam. Through flashbacks of Anne – speaking with Kitty we relive the creeping persecution faced by Jewish people following the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

We see the effect this had on Anne, a popular and social young girl, as her family were forced out of most parts of public life until they were hidden completely.

The film is pitched for children and young adults with elegant animation and simple dialogue which enables the depiction of Anne’s lively character to shine through. Anne’s world in the attic is shaped by her imagination, her relationships and the increasingly scary news of Nazi-occupied Europe and extermination camps.

The petty grievances and conflicts with those that she shares close quarters with while in hiding give dimension to the stuffiness and tragedy of her captivity. Anne’s interest in film and popular culture form her imagination. There’s a memorable dream sequence where an army of Greek gods and film stars—including Clark Gable—go into battle with Nazi armies.

Kitty’s journey through the contemporary world attempts to draw similarities between the – persecutions faced by Jews in Nazi Germany and the persecution being faced by refugees in Europe today.

Dutch police round up shivering families of refugees on the snowy streets outside the museum and bundle them into the back of border patrol trucks. The friends that Kitty makes while searching for Anne are poor youths who’ve been repeatedly arrested for stealing food and other means of subsistence.

The film powerfully asks if Anne’s memory and lessons of the Holocaust has changed the world for the better when racism, poverty and injustice are still so much a feature of contemporary Europe.