Madame Tussaud's wax museum in Berlin has opened a new exhibit featuring a figure of Anne Frank, the teenage girl whose diary has come to symbolize the story of countless Jews who were forced into hiding in an attempt to escape the Nazis.
In the museum, she is portrayed sitting at a desk, smiling, with a pen in her hand. The key to her diary, as well as a copy of her favorite book, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” and magazines relaying the latest trends in theatre, lie by her side.
The exhibit also includes a simulation of her room, with flickering lights and background noise of voices and laughter.
"For us, the most important thing was to paint a complete picture. We wanted to show Anne Frank in the context in which she lived,” museum spokeswoman Nina Zerbe told Der Spiegel magazine.
While some believe the exhibit to be an attempt at keeping the memory of Anne Frank alive, others believe it to be a distasteful and inappropriate attempt at doing so.
The wax figure of Adolf Hitler, which the museum controversially re-introduced after it was beheaded by a visitor in 2008, is in the very next room, noted Der Spiegel.
The flickering lights and the voices outside reflect the oppressive nature of her surroundings, Zerbe explained. "She can hear the world outside but she can't be part of it." Zerbe continued, "We want our visitors, and children in particular, to feel an emotional connection with the figure, rather than to feel that they're in a history class."
Anne Frank's hiding place was revealed to the Nazis and the bright, vibrant girl died in a concentration camp of starvation and disease.