Launched on the International Day for Tolerance (16 November), The Bookcase for Tolerance reinforces the need for education and tolerance through the power of personal stories.
The Holocaust didn’t start in Auschwitz or Bergen-Belsen - it started with words. It started with intolerance and acts of exclusion, discrimination and persecution, which were followed by horrendous acts.
Manifestations of antisemitism and other forms of discrimination are still impacting lives for Jews and countless people regardless of background, ethnicity, religion, culture, gender etc.
‘We cannot change what happened anymore. The only thing we can do is to learn from the past and to realise what discrimination and persecution of innocent people means.’
Otto Frank, 1970
The Anne Frank House believes the best way to counter prejudices and discrimination is education. The project The Bookcase for Tolerance aims to achieve that by sharing Anne Frank’s story and modern-day, authentic, personal stories and struggles. Though it’s crucial that we never draw direct comparisons between Anne’s and our protagonists’ stories.
Our goal is to use the power of personal testimonials to educate people, in order to influence their attitude and their behaviour towards those considered to be ‘different’ - so we can all live in a more tolerant world.
Anne Frank hid behind a bookcase for more than two years trying to escape persecution. Today, this bookcase is a reminder of the need for tolerance. A need felt by so many who continue to face anti-Semitism, racism prejudice and discrimination in their daily lives. Behind the bookcase, visitors can explore the real rooms of Anne, Kuei, Dalit, Mees and Majd to discover their stories and experiences.
As it goes beyond the textbook – inviting young and older audiences to connect with the protagonists on a personal level – The Bookcase for Tolerance is also a powerful educational tool. On the website, people can access each protagonist’s folder and discover their journey. Through the AR app, they can step inside their rooms, exploring personal objects and the meaning behind them. All rooms were carefully scanned and modelled in 3D.
‘The Bookcase for Tolerance tells their stories. We want to use the impact of their personal testimonies to challenge and counter intolerance and discrimination.’
Ronald Leopold, executive director Anne Frank House