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Jen Porter November 12th, 2014

LAUNCH OF THE NEW DUTCH VERSION OF ANNE FRANK'S DIARY

On March 29 1944, Anne Frank heard a radio broadcast by the Minister of Education and Culture of the Dutch Government in exile in London. He announced that after the war he hoped to provide eyewitness accounts of the suffering of the Dutch people under German occupation, and stated that everyday documents such as letters and diaries would be valuable for this purpose. This made a profound impression on Anne and she decided to use her diary as the basis for a book to be published after the war.

In March 2012 we were asked by Penguin and The Anne Frank Foundation to co-produce the first officially endorsed interactive digital storybook ‘The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank’.

At that time, I said this would be the most important piece of work BeyondTheStory would ever produce and certainly one of the most complex. Over time and during the development, we begun to realise the collective responsibility we shared in telling this story about, and amid the tension, complexity, beauty and tragedy of Anne’s life. While it was humbling to be awarded ‘All Time Favourite’ by Apple, and then shortlisted for the FutureBook Innovation Awards, this was not what producing Anne’s story was about. It was about a work worthy of her struggles against prejudice and discrimination.

This all became abundantly clear on November 7th when I attended the production of ‘ANNE’ at the new and purpose built Theatre Amsterdam - less than 5 kms from the very Annex in which Anne and her family hid for two years and two months. The purpose of my trip was to launch the newly translated Dutch version of The Diary to a vast audience about a subject matter both very raw and very close to their hearts. It was our app, but it was their story; their city and their Anne. I was honoured to have been invited and immensely proud of our team for making this new digital reality possible - allowing people to go beyond the experience of the stage and into the world of storytelling as Anne would have wanted. Seventy years later, Anne’s story is now interactive and now fully immersive in ways that she could never have imagined as she wrote hidden under the covers with only a candle to guide her.

It is perhaps fitting today as we commemorate soldiers who fought for freedom in both world wars, that we also remember the immense sacrifice of those who lost their lives due to no fault of their own - their religious beliefs. We honour their memory.