Anne Frank Theater Mixes Tragic Tale With Glitz and Fine Dining

Show Pays Tribute to Diarist — and Cash In on Global Brand


By Cnaan Liphshiz

Published March 18, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(JTA) — To millions worldwide, she is a symbol of heroism and a haunting reminder of the dangers of discrimination. But for one Dutch entertainment firm, Anne Frank is a brand name powerful enough to merit millions of dollars of investment.

Last week, the Amsterdam-based production company Imagine Nation announced plans to open a huge theater in Amsterdam that will feature only one show: a new play, “ANNE,” about the life of the young Jewish diarist.

The first production based on the full Frank family archive, the show will expose audiences to lesser-known elements of the Anne Frank story, such as the family’s ordeals in German concentration camps.

But the commercial nature of the venture — the theater will include fancy interiors and a restaurant, among other amenities — also is exposing the Swiss organization that houses the archive, the Anne Frank Fonds, to criticism from its rival Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, a renowned museum that receives more than 1 million visitors annually.

“Anne Frank should not be a nice evening out,” Anne Frank House director Ronald Leopold told JTA. “We are not involved with this whole thing, and I’m quite glad about it when I see all of this.”

Leopold is referring to what he calls “the commercial setting in which this production is steeped.”

“I can’t help but frown when I see arrangements with a glass of wine, a box of snacks, dinner with a nice view and then a night out,” he said, adding, “If it were [up to] me, then it would never have come to that.”

Yves Kugelmann, a board member of the Anne Frank Fonds, celebrates the production for bringing Anne Frank’s story to new audiences. Any money the Swiss group earns through royalties from ticket sales, he said, would be used for charity and education.

“It’s like saying that selling her diary is commercialization,” Kugelmann said. “It’s not. Publishing books costs money and any proceeds [our] foundation makes from book sales go to charity and education.”

Anne Frank was 16 when she, her sister and her parents were arrested after more than two years of hiding in a secret annex on Prinsengracht 263, now home to the Anne Frank House, which is also known as the Anne Frank Museum. Only Anne’s father, Otto Frank, survived the Holocaust, and he edited Anne’s diaries into a book, which was later adapted into a play and film.

Otto Frank also established the Anne Frank Fonds in Basel as the sole owner of the copyrights to the diary and tens of thousands of other documents. Frank, who also sat for a number of years on the board of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, stipulated that any royalties earned by the Swiss organization should go to charity and education.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.