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Anne Frank: The Lessons Learned

11 December 2015

The highly successful Anne Frank Exhibition in November was the culmination of the hard work and collaboration demonstrated by a number of organisations, staff, and students from around the world.

The project began in early September, when the Israeli Embassy asked the British International School if we would host an exhibition about Anne Frank and the Shoah. The Embassy provided eleven panels that provided the framework of the exhibition. When pieced together, the panels formed a timeline of events that spanned Anne Frank’s life. Along with a factual account of historical events, there were insightful snippets from Anne’s diary that made the whole exhibition completely relatable for students. They were able to engage with the little girl behind the diary, and as such, the whole exhibition.

The students were so engaged with the subject matter that within a period of eight weeks students of all ages, many alumni and dozens of staff who selflessly volunteered their spare time, ideas and effort transformed the exhibition.

The students reflected upon the Shoah and its wider legacy, addressing a number of moral questions through art, literature, dance, mathematics and creative writing. The student work was interspersed throughout the exhibition both physically and through QR links for videos and audio recordings. As their awareness of the wider issues grew, so too did their self-motivation for further enquiry and their work took on a life of its own.

Contributions came from BIS Secondary, both Primary campuses, BVIS and the Nederlandse School Saigon. We were also lucky enough to have an artist-in-residence, Sue King, working with groups of students early in the creative process. The artwork gave the exhibition a depth that visibly moved its visitors. The representative from the Israeli Embassy was so impressed that he felt some of the work deserved a place at the official museum of Anne Frank in Amsterdam.

“The method that I see here in this exhibition, this is the most correct enquiry, this is the way” – Nissan Tal, representative of the Israeli Embassy.

The journey through the exhibition concluded with the legacy of the Shoah, asking visitors to question how it happened and what has happened since. They were asked: Could it happen again? What could be done to prevent it? As visitors reflected on these questions they were encouraged to write their thoughts on a tag, which they then attached to a display, adding a further dimension to the exhibition.

“If you do not remember you cannot continue, you cannot deal with the future” – Nissan Tal, representative of the Israeli Embassy.

Each and every visitor to the exhibition left having been moved by what they had seen, heard, or felt. There is a real sense of achievement in both the work achieved and the legacy of the collaboration.

The students who were involved in the project by creating work or by leading groups through the exhibition in multiple languages, took complete ownership of their involvement. They were a part of the exhibition, and have been a real credit to themselves and to the British International School, not least because the effort that they put in was entirely of their own accord.

The Anne Frank Exhibition gave visitors an insight into what can be achieved when a student body and a school community is as ambitious as this one.

“This is an expression of the heart of BIS, this is how our students feel about this subject, and what BIS is about.” - Sanjay Perera, Assistant Head of Sixth Form and Teacher of History

If you want to learn more about how lessons were approached during the Anne Frank Exhibition at BIS HCMC <<CLICK HERE>>