Secret Screening of Anne Frank Film Teaches Iranian Students, Professors About the Holocaust
A documentary film about the Holocaust was secretly screened at a theater in Iran, Deadline Hollywood reported on Wednesday.
According to the report, the film — titled “Anne Frank: Then and Now” — was shown at a provincial theater to a group of film students and their professors. Since the screening was not approved by government authorities in Iran, Deadline did not disclose the names of the Iranians involved, the location of the theater or the timing of the screening.
The film’s Croatian director, Jakov Sedlar, told Deadline, “Before the start of the screening, I did an introduction with an explanation about Anne Frank and the Holocaust. After the screening, I had a one-hour conversation with the audience. Those students never ever heard about Anne Frank; just two young people knew something about the Holocaust.
“We spoke a lot about the influence of art in today’s world. At the end, one of students told me: ‘Thanks for teaching us about something new.’”
The film features eight Palestinian and two Israeli girls reading excerpts from Anne Frank’s diary.
Frank, a German-born Jew who later moved to Amsterdam with her family after the Nazis came to power, died at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the age of 15 in 1945. Her diary, The Diary of a Young Girl, details her life while in hiding in Amsterdam between 1942-1944.
Holocaust denial is prevalent among top Iranian regime officials. In recent years, both Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have publicly questioned Hitler’s genocide of the Jews on numerous occasions. In January, Khamenei posted on his official website a video expressing doubt whether the Holocaust took place and complaining about European nations’ ban on Holocaust denial.
Nevertheless, as The Algemeiner reported, Iran has held three Holocaust cartoon contests. Though Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told The New Yorker magazine in May that these are not sponsored by the regime, Massoud Shojaei Tabatabaei, secretary of the Holocaust International Cartoon Contest, admitted in an April 27 interview with the Iranian website Nasimonline that his organization “cooperates with the Ministry of Culture.”