IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Holloway Road Anne Frank exhibition ‘is vitally important’

08 November, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Mala Tribich with Michael Italiaander and his painting

A HOLOCAUST survivor has hailed a new exhibition dedicated to Anne Frank as “vitally important” as conspiracy theories and deniers are becoming “more confident”.

Mala Tribich, 89, helped unveil a painting on the first night of the Anne Frank and Family exhibition at the Central Library in Holloway Road.

Mrs Tribich was held in the infamous Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the same time as Anne Frank, but she managed to survive while the 15-year-old diarist died.

The exhibition contains photographs of Anne and the rest of the Frank family before the war, taken by Anne’s father Otto.

Mrs Tribich, who moved to Highbury in the 1980s, told the Tribune: “It surprises me that there are Holocaust deniers. They seem to be more confident than ever now. I cannot understand this. I feel such animosity.

“The audacity to say that it didn’t happen when millions of people have seen Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. It hurts me every time I hear them speak and there will come a time when there are no more Holocaust survivors alive.”

Anne Frank on the beach in 1934

Mrs Tribich added: “Everyone in my family died except my brother. I lost my parents and my sister and all my aunts and my uncles, my grandparents. Very few survived.”

The exhibition was opened on Monday night with talks from Jewish councillor Sue Lukes and Tim Robertson, chief executive of the Anne Frank Trust.

The photographs were recovered from family albums left in the secret annexe of Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam, where Anne, her family and four others spent more than two years hiding from the Nazis during the Second World War.

Mrs Tribich said: “We all know how Anne’s life ended but these photos are a chance to get a glimpse of how her life started and the happiness she experienced as a child before the war.

“It is a vitally important exhibition which I hope many school children will come down to see.

“Anne was such an amazing girl and it is sad to think of what she could have become had she survived, but the amount of talent that was killed in the Holocaust cannot be measured.”

The painting unveiled at the show was created by artist Michael Italiaander, which shows South Africa’s first black president Nelson Mandela behind bars, clutching Anne’s diary to his chest and imagining her as she writes in her diary.

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