Anne Frank figure unveiled at Madame Tussauds in Berlin


BERLIN — Madame Tussauds in Berlin has unveiled a wax figure of young diarist Anne Frank, depicted sitting at her desk, pen in hand, smiling dreamily.

Frank died at age 15 at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp about a month before the camp’s liberation in April 1945. The best-known photographs snapped by her camera-happy father, Otto Frank – the only immediate family member to survive the Holocaust, show young Anne smiling.

Not everyone has been happy about the decision by the tourist attraction to add Anne to their repertoire, according to the Bild Zeitung, Germany’s most popular daily. Some have said it is inappropriate to include a Holocaust victim at such an unserious location. Others say that as long as there is information about the life and death of Anne Frank it is appropriate.

The tabloid reported that the directors of Madame Tussauds are taking the criticism to heart. Nina Zerbe told Bild Zeitung that the display includes information about Anne in German and English, and she is presented in the context of the room in which she hid. “This is a three-dimensional history lesson for visitors,” Zerbe said.

The director of the Anne Frank Center in Berlin, Thomas Heppner, who attended the unveiling of the figure last week, praised the idea of bringing visitors closer to history through such displays.

The Berlin branch of Madame Tussauds has had its run-ins with historical figures related to the Nazi period. In July 2008, one of the first people to enter the new museum, a 41-year-old Berlin man, lunged past guards and lopped off the head of the Hitler wax figure. The figure, which depicts a defeated Hitler, was repaired and is now behind glass.