The Second World War in 100 Objects
Anne Frank playing with her friend Hanneli Goslar (right) on the Merwedeplein square in Amsterdam (Anne Frank House Amsterdam/ Anne Frank Fonds Basel photo collections)
Amsterdam , 2/3/2014
The marbles that Anne Frank played with before she was forced into hiding, which are now held in the collection of the Anne Frank House, will be put on public display for the first time when His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands opens the exhibition The Second World War in 100 Objects at the Kunsthal Rotterdam on Tuesday 4 February. The set of marbles is one of 100 extraordinary objects from the collections of 25 Dutch war and resistance museums, each of them telling their own stories about the Second World War. The marbles, and the 99 other objects, will be exhibited at the Kunsthal Rotterdam from 5 February to 5 May 2014.
Some Jewish children gave away their toys when they had to report for deportation or go into hiding. Anne Frank left a number of treasured possessions with a girl from her neighbourhood, Toosje Kupers, shortly before she went into hiding together with her parents and her sister Margot in the “Secret Annexe” on the Prinsengracht canal in Amsterdam on 6 July 1942.
The neighbours were the Kupers family; Mr Goldschmidt rented a room from the Franks. Toosje Kupers, now 83, preserved Anne’s belongings: a toy tea set, a book and a tin of marbles. Several years ago she donated them to the Anne Frank House. This is the first time that Anne’s set of marbles will be put on public display.
After the war, Otto Frank paid a visit to Toosje. She showed him, among other things, the marbles that Anne had given to her. Toosje wanted to return them to Otto, but he said: "They are for you as a reminder of Anne."
Toosje Kupers (centre) with two girls (Toosje Kupers’ photo collection).
The exhibition features remarkable objects, each telling their own stories of the Second World War. They include the spectacles worn as a disguise by Dutch resistance fighter Hannie Schaft; a folding motorcycle that literally fell out of the sky during the parachute drops of Operation Market Garden; a decoy paratrooper dummy (known as a “Rupert”) used by the British to deceive the German troops; the grave cross of American pilot James M. Hansen, who lies buried at the Netherlands American Cemetery at Margraten; and a sweater made from dog’s hair during the “hunger winter” of 1944-45.
The marbles that Anne Frank played with.
On the initiative of the National Committee for 4 and 5 May and the Foundation of Dutch Museums and Memorial Centres 1940-1945, 25 war and resistance museums are working in partnership on the presentation of 100 objects to a large audience. The difficult task of selecting 95 objects fell to guest curator Ad van Liempt, a journalist and television producer well-known for his many publications on the subject of the Second World War. He selected the remaining five objects from items contributed by members of the Dutch general public. The exhibition has been made possible with the support of the vfonds (the Dutch National Fund for Peace, Freedom and Veterans Welfare) and the BankGiro Lottery.