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The University of Sussex

 29 October 2001 

Anne Frank's diary under discussion at conference

The Diary of Anne Frank has become one of the most widely read books of all time. It has gained important historical significance as both a document of the Holocaust and as an intimate account of a young Jewish girl's life during the 1940s.

To coincide with a major exhibition about her life, to be held at Brighton College in November, the University of Sussex is hosting a conference exploring the value and importance of writing diaries.

Speakers for the two-day conference, to be held on November 22 and 23 at the University's Centre for German-Jewish Studies, include Christoph Knoch, guardian of the Anne Frank-Fonds in Switzerland, who will be discussing the use of Anne Frank's diaries in Holocaust education.

Professor Edward Timms, director of the Centre for German-Jewish studies will be talking about the diaries of two other Holocaust victims, Theodor Haeker and Victor Klemperer, while Sussex research fellow Deborah Schulz will examine the visual and verbal diaries of Jewish artist Arnold Dhagani, whose paintings of the Holocaust form part of the Centre's collections.

Academics from other institutions will be looking other aspects of diaries, including how to use them as a teaching resource in primary schools.

Chana Moshenska, director of educational programmes for the Centre for German-Jewish Studies and the event's oganiser, says she hopes the conference will have wide appeal. "It should be of interest to anyone involved in writing life histories, children's literature and the Second World War Holocaust," she says. "In education, Anne Frank's diary is usually the first introduction teenagers are given to the Holocaust. She comes across as a normal teenager. They're not immediately given horrific images of Concentration Camps."

She adds that the conference, entitled Dear Diary: New Approaches to an Established Genre, will also explore questions of why people want to keep diaries and who they're writing for. "Lots of diaries were found in the Jewish ghettos. Even though the people knew they were going to die, they didn't want to disappear."

To complement the conference, there will be an exhibition in the University Library from November 7 until the end of term (December 15) that will include information on Anne Frank, other Holocaust diaries and an Internet diary.

 Notes for editors 

For further information, please contact conference organiser Chana Moshenska on on 01273 678837, email, or Jacqui Bealing, or Peter Simmons, University of Sussex Press Office, Tel. 01273 678888, Fax 01273 877456, or

The exhibition, Anne Frank: A History for Today, is at Brighton College from November 3 to 29.

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