SUNDERLAND’S CIVIC CENTRE is hosting an exhibition reminding the world of the fatal consequences of prejudice and discrimination.

The Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Harry Trueman will open the ‘Anne Frank: A History for Today’ exhibition today (Monday 17 July) at 12.30pm in the civic centre reception.

The exhibition will be on view to visitors and staff until 31 August (Admission free 9am – 4.30pm each weekday).

Hosted by Sunderland City Council, the exhibition is being staged by the local branch of Unison and Learning Styles Project in partnership with Sunderland Council’s Employee Equality Network and the Anne Frank Trust UK.

Cllr Trueman said: “I am very proud that Sunderland and the civic centre in particular, is hosting this exhibition.

“This is a city committed to tackling discrimination and prejudice in any form, and the Anne Frank exhibition is a stark reminder to us all of what can happen when these things go un-checked and un-challenged.

“Promoting community cohesion is vitally important for us all, and this exhibition is another way to raise public awareness of how we must learn from the past to prepare for our future.”

An additional display, added by the Council’s Employee Equality Network, will highlight local stories, demonstrating that discrimination and intolerance are still relevant in modern times.

This joint work is to raise awareness, reduce intolerance and increase acceptance.

Howard Fawcett from council’s Learning Styles staff personal and professional development project added: “We hope as many people as possible will come along and gain an insight into some incredible local people and into the life of an amazing girl.”

Anne, the second daughter of Jewish businessman Otto Frank and his wife Edith, was born in Frankfurt in 1929, but fled Germany for Amsterdam with her family in 1933.

In May 1940, after Germany invaded the Netherlands, the mandatory registration and segregation of the Jewish population soon followed – trapping the Franks in the city.

One year later, after Anne’s sister Margot was called up for a Nazi work camp – meaning almost certain death – Otto arranged for his family to go into hiding.

Anne was to spend the next three years trying to evade Nazi capture. On August 4, 1944, however – following a tip-off from an informer – the family was discovered.

Within a month, Anne was sent to Auschwitz – where she was forced to strip naked to be disinfected, before her head was shaved and her arm tattooed with an ID number.

Weeks of slave labour followed, during which time Anne fell ill with scabies, before she was transferred to Bergen-Belsen. In March 1945, aged 15, she died of typhus.

The teenager’s memory lives on, however, through the diary she wrote while in hiding – which was published after the war by her father, who survived Auschwitz.

The exhibition includes; the Anne Frank Trust UK, History for Today exhibition; the local Journey to Justice exhibition which aims to empower people to take action for social justice; information on the Council’s Employee Equality Network; the Learning Styles Project display which will include the Sunderland Tolerance Tree which people can contribute comments to; and a view from Anne Frank’s window and a model replica of Anne Frank’s house.

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