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23.12.04

Anne Frank House to Shelter Refugee Writers

No one in the Northeastern U.S. Lit Blog Cabal has picked up on this, so I guess I should mention it. French blogger Heileen at La Muse Livre noted last Friday the plans for a former residence of Anne Frank's in Amsterdam (not the famous secret annex, now the Anne Frank Museum, in a warehouse on the Prinsengracht, where she wrote most of her diary). It will be renovated as a place to welcome persecuted writers who have to leave their home countries:

Anne Frank lived from 1933 until July 1942 in this apartment located on the Merwedeplein Square, in one of the southern neighborhoods of the Dutch capital. In homage to the the teenager who so loved to write and in coordination with the Anne Frank Foundation, the Merwedeplein apartment's new owner has decided to stored it in the 1930s style. The foundation Amsterdam City of Exile, which is part of the network that supported the writer Salman Rushdie, is associated with the project.
An article (Anne Frank Apartment to Become Home for Writers, December 17) by Paul Gallagher for Reuters was not widely carried in the United States. (The Agence France-Press report is what Heileen was quoting.) Gallagher says that Anne celebrated her 13th birthday in the Merwedeplein house,
receiving the diary which was to make her a household name. The 3-bedroom apartment, overlooking a park in a quiet suburb of the city, will be restored to its former 1930s glory. The first visiting writer will be welcomed in September 2005 and will be invited to stay a year. "It will be used by the foundation to house writers from countries where it is difficult to write freely," said Pieter de Jong from the Ymere Public Housing Cooperative, which is buying the apartment.
I'm sure that Anne would approve.

2 comments:

Natalie said...

What an amazing idea! How unfortunate that the US news have overlooked a great story.

Meriwether Falk said...

If I were a persecuted writer, I wouldn't want people to know where I was staying. But I'm sure they have security cameras and whatnot. Thanks for sharing.