Anne Frank—A History for Today, a travelling exhibition for schools was set up at the Shiv Nadar School, Noida on Monday 27 November 2017. We began the peer guide training with a brief round of introductions followed by a discussion on Anne Frank, the Diary and the Holocaust. Most of the students—from grades 8 and 9—had already read the book. One of the students was carrying the book with him. ‘Now is a good time to start reading it’, he said.
After a quick summary of the book by one of the students, we asked the students what they had experienced, in terms of emotions, when they first read the book. One of the students mentioned Anne’s optimism, throughout. Another spoke about her life as a regular teenager, her feelings. Two of the students spoke about a feeling of claustrophobia—being stuck in one place—having to be extremely quiet, for fear for one’s life.
We moved onto a discussion on the Holocaust-the reasons for the events that occurred and of course, Hitler.
‘He did wrong things, but he did them right’ said one of the students, while discussing Hitler and whether he could be called a ‘good ruler’. This was a very interesting discussion, with strong and differing opinions.
After a quick round of Zip, Zap, Boing to warm up for the setting up of the exhibition, we headed to the foyer on the ground floor. We weren’t able to use that space or the larger, indoor basketball court for various logistical reasons and finally settled on the indoor gymnasium, which worked beautifully! What was interesting to see was the way the peer guides analysed each of the spaces for suitability as an exhibition space. They discussed light, ease of movement of the visitors, suitable timings, entry and exit and so on . . . sounding like experienced curators!
After setting up the exhibition, there was just about enough time for the peer guides to look carefully at each of the panels before they had to catch their school buses to get home. We met again the next day, again going over each of the panels carefully, addressing each one individually, and discussing points from each panel that would grab the attention of the audience. We discussed the relevance of the exhibition today and the fact that they, as teenagers, were telling the story of a teenager.
The exhibition was inaugurated on Wednesday, 29 November 2017 by Mr. Sohail Hashmi. After a few words from Meena Malhotra about the project, Mr. Hashmi spoke about the importance of introspection and the need to accept and celebrate difference and not make it a bone of contention and discord. He spoke with the peer guides about intolerance, the media and how it is crucial that students and teachers look critically at what is happening in the world today. The peer guides then took him and some other guests around the exhibition.
For the full gallery, click here.
‘Anne Frank—A History for Today’ is an international traveling exhibition consisting of thirty-three panels detailing Anne’s life, her diary and the Holocaust.
The exhibition was at the Shiv Nadar School, Noida from 29 November 2017 to 6 December 2017.