Anne Frank’s Childhood Friend Lays First Stone of New Amsterdam Holocaust Name Monument
A close childhood friend of the Holocaust diarist Anne Frank on Wednesday laid the first of a new 102,000-stone monument in Amsterdam that will commemorate Jewish and Roma Gypsy victims of the Nazis.
Josephine Maarsens, 91, placed a stone bearing the name of Dina Frankenhuis — a 20-year-old Jewish woman deported from Amsterdam to the Sobibor concentration camp by the Nazis — to inaugurate the monument.
Designed by the American architect Daniel Libeskind, who also designed the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, the Amsterdam Holocaust Name monument is set to be completed in a year.
Prior to the ceremony on Wednesday afternoon, Maarsens told reporters that she thought the monument was “very important, all those people who will be on it.”
Funded largely by the Dutch government and the city council, the new monument on Amsterdam’s Weesperplantsoen has also been supported by private contributions — including a substantial donation of 50,000 euros from Maarsens herself, after she auctioned a 1942 handwritten poem by Anne Frank that had been included in a family poetry album.
Maarsens readily acknowledged the contribution of her late childhood friend, who died in the Belsen concentration camp in 1945 shortly before its liberation by British troops.
“That [her donation to the monument] is largely because of Anne Frank,” Maarsens said, adding: “Anne would have loved it.”
The project’s initiator, Jaques Grishaver, said that the purpose of the monument was to enshrine the names of Holocaust victims who were forgotten.
‘We will have the names of 102,000 people who died, have no grave and whose names are never spoken,” Grishaver told Dutch broadcaster NoS.