The Frank family in Frankfurt am Main, 1929-1933

Exhibition in the Anne Frank House

On 12 June 1929, exactly 94 years ago today, Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt am Main in Germany. The photos of the Frank family from that time show a carefree world; none of them reveals a hint of the political situation and unrest in Germany.

This exhibition was on view until May 28, 2024.

The new temporary exhibition on display at the Anne Frank House, explores the period when Germany was transformed from a democratic country into a dictatorship.

The Frank Family

The exhibition tells the story of the Frank family in Frankfurt against the backdrop of the economic, social and political problems in Germany. It begins with Anne Frank’s birth in Germany in 1929, spotlights the rise to power of Hitler and his antisemitic National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP), and ends with the Frank family’s emigration to the Netherlands in 1933.

‘I lived in Frankfurt until I was four. Because we’re Jewish, my father emigrated to Holland in 1933.’

From democracy to dictatorship

At the core of the exhibition is the life of the Frank family in Frankfurt, around which the exhibition highlights troubling developments in the city and the country. Visitors see original Frank family photos, including a wedding chest, and are given explanations through photos, films and texts. The exhibition shows, illustrated by election posters and ballot papers, how German democracy turned into a dictatorship.

Lessons from the twentieth century

How can you resist the erosion of democracy and the rise of authoritarianism? Complementary to the exhibition, a short animation on this subject is on display. The animation is inspired by the book On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder. This American historian, specialised in the Holocaust, explains in a series of ‘lessons’ how resurgent authoritarian ideology can be resisted.

Background article: Germany 1933: From democracy to dictatorship