'Unbelievably moving' Anne Frank exhibition opens at Islington library
PUBLISHED: 17:50 06 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:50 06 November 2019
A timely collection of family photos showing Anne Frank's life before the Nazi's took it is being exhibited at Central Library.
The "unbelievably moving" images show the early life of Anne Frank and her older sister Margot, as photographed by their father, Otto.
The collection is presented by anti-prejudice charity Anne Frank Trust and the pictures were recovered from the secret annex in Amsterdam where the diarist's family hid from Nazi persecution for more than two years during the Second World War.
But the family were found by Nazis and sent to Bergen Belsen Camp - Otto was the only of eight people hiding in the annexe to survive. The Nazis killed about six million Jewish people during the Holocaust.
The Anne Frank and Family collection will run at Fieldway Crescent library until November 18. Islington's migrant champion Cllr Sue Lukes, whose Czech father was one of 669 (mostly Jewish) children brought to England in the 1939 Kindertransport operation, spoke at the exhibition's opening.
She told the Gazette: "On a personal level, obviously, I find the exhibition unbelievably moving.
"The photographs of a family in the 1930s just going about their business, but knowing what happened to them is really moving. I think everybody in Islington needs to go and see it. It's an important time to be doing this.
"When I look at that exhibition and this normal family going off to the beach, welcoming the arrival of a new born baby, and we know this was happening against a climate of ramping up hatred, othering and dehumaising.
"That's happening now at a lot of different levels and a lot of people in our communities are being told they don't deserve spending money on or should not be alive. [
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"On Tuesday a minister [Jacob Reece-Mogg] said people in Grenfell should have had more common sense, as if the killing of those people was there fault so, to me, it feels we have a duty to stand up for what we believe in.
"You do not get the rise of the far-right just happening as an explosion, it happens over time. It starts with othering, hatred and language use.
"We already have that happening in Islington [and elsewhere across the country] by legislation that says everyone has housing rights and an immigrant status means you lose the right to your home, that's othering and we need to stop it."
At the exhibition's opening, Cllr Lukes slammed the "hostile environment" policies pursued by successive Conservative governments against the Windrush generation.
She said: "Some of the legislation implementing that, like the 2016 immigration act, reproduces provisions that are remarkably like the Nuremberg laws passed by the Nazis to force Jews, like my grandparents, out of their homes. They say you lose basic rights because of who you are: in the 1930s because you were Jewish now because of your immigration status."
She said Islington North's "much loved MP" Jeremy Corbyn was one of the few politicians to vote against the hostile environment and "that pernicious Nuremberg clause".
Cllr Lukes' grandparents were evicted from their home in Prague and sent to Terezin and then Auschwitz.
At the opening she said: "So many of the citizens of Prague looked away as my grandparents were marched to Bubny station on their way to deportation and death. And some of our politicians hope to take advantage of the fear created by using language that dehumanises to pave the way to removing basic human rights. They talk about swarms, people looking like letterboxes and bank robbers, metropolitan elites, illuminati, and lots of insults about black people, gays, other ethnic minorities I would not dream of repeating here."
Tim Robertson, chief exec of the Anne Frank Trust, said: "Anne Frank + Family is a poignant, memorable exhibition that is a privilege to experience.
"The photographs invite us to observe an ordinary family going about their every day lives, and the moments of joy and domesticity they capture speak to all of us. What is so hard-hitting, of course, is that the viewer brings with them the knowledge of the horrors that were to come - for the Franks, and for millions of families like them.
"It is a very powerful reminder of our shared