Anne Frank’s diary in 2020: vlogging from the annex hideout

April 20, 2020 - 12:11 PM
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An undated handout photo shows Luna Cruz Perez who performs as Anne Frank at "Anne Frank video diary, 2020" set. (Anne Frank House/Ray van der Bas/Handout via Reuters)

THE HAGUE— A series of video diaries based on the writings of Jewish teenager Anne Frank during her years hiding from the Nazis during World War Two have become a hit with young viewers, the Anne Frank House Museum said on Thursday.

The museum, which made the vlogs to commemorate 75 years since the end of the war in the Netherlands next month, said the 5- to 10-minute clips had been viewed more than 1.5 million times on YouTube.

Anne, who died of typhoid in the Bergen Belsen concentration camp in 1945 aged 15, is played by actress Luna Cruz Perez, who bears a striking resemblance to the teenager.

She talks to the camera about life, teenage insecurities and experiences based on excerpts from letters and diary entries.

“We go into hiding tomorrow, and I’m just scared,” she tells the camera with tears in her eyes.

In the first episode, Anne shows her family and friends, and explains how life has changed since Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands and the family was forced into an attic annex in a house along one of Amsterdam’s canals.

Viewers experiencing lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic can more easily imagine what it must have been like to be forced to stay inside for long periods, Annemarie Bekker of the Anne Frank House said, describing its appeal to a new generation.

It “will give you a better understanding of certain extracts from her diary,” Bekker said.

“This makes me think of the corona crisis. I also can’t wait to see my friends, go outside and travel,” Dutch viewer Alisa Charlier commented.

At the same time the context and background of Anne’s story are very different: “Anne Frank had to go into hiding for the sole reason that she was Jewish; her persecution, life in hiding, and eventual death were the result of deliberate human actions,” Bekker said.

Anne and her family were discovered in 1944 after roughly two years in hiding.

The diary, which has sold millions of copies in dozens of languages, was published two years later. The Anne Frank House Museum has been closed to visitors during the coronavirus crisis. —Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; Editing by Anthony Deutsch and Janet Lawrence