Statue of Anne Frank dedicated in Buenos Aires

Marcy Oster

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — A statue of the Holocaust teen diarist Anne Frank was dedicated in Buenos Aires.

The statue, a replica of the one located in Amsterdam, where Anne and her family were hidden during World War II, was inaugurated Wednesday in the Kingdom of Netherlands Square in the Puerto Madero district, a popular tourist area.

The Buenos Aires City Government, the Dutch Embassy in Buenos Aires and the Anne Frank House and Museum of Buenos Aires dedicated the work by artist Jet Schepp.

Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, a Dutch Holocaust survivor and former president of the European Union for Progressive Judaism, was the main speaker at the ceremony. About 300 students from area Jewish schools and the Buenos Aires public schools were among those on hand.

“This statue is to glorify her life and hope. Because of that, we are inaugurating this important new symbol of our city on Human Rights Day,” Claudio Avruj, undersecretary of Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism of the Buenos Aires City Government, told JTA.

Soetendorp underlined the decision of the Dutch housewife who took him in as a three-month child hidden in a suitcase in occupied Holland seven decades ago. “I am here because of human compassion,” he said.

Argentina’s Minister of Education, Alberto Sileoni, told the crowd that “Anne left us a diary, but there are others who left nothing, and if that horror is lost it can be repeated.” Other speakers included the recently appointed Dutch ambassador to Argentina, Martin de la Beij, and The Anne Frank House and Museum Director, Hector Shalom.

The Anne Frank House and Museum in Argentina was inaugurated in 2009. It hosts permanent exhibitions and provides educational activities.