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Anne Frank's life on display in Lake Zurich
By Corrinne Hess | Daily Herald Staff

Anna Goldstein, 13, of Lake Zurich served as docent at the Anne Frank photo exhibit this month at the Ela Area Library in Lake Zurich. The exhibit ended with a public discussion Sunday.


Daniel White | Staff Photographer

David Bier, a representative from the Holocaust Community Services program, speaks about Holocaust experiences Sunday during a discussion at the Ela Area Library in Lake Zurich.


Daniel White | Staff Photographer

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Published: 3/31/2008 12:13 AM

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Anna Goldstein unwittingly stole the spotlight Sunday at Ela Area Public Library during the final day of the month-long Anne Frank exhibit.

At 13, Anna not only resembles Frank, but she is the same age as Frank was when she wrote her famous diary in 1942.

As a volunteer docent over the weekend, Anna answered questions from dozens of visitors, often attracting a crowd impressed with her knowledge of not only Frank's life, but the Nazi Holocaust and Jewish history.

"I'm the only one in my family who is fluent in Hebrew," Anna said proudly.

Anna's mother, Amy, said her family moved from Buffalo Grove to Lake Zurich three years ago, which meant leaving a predominately Jewish community for one that attracts very few Jewish families.

"We are so impressed the exhibit came here," Amy Goldstein said, adding that Anna volunteering at the library seemed like a perfect fit for her. "In many ways she has a personality much like Anne Frank."

"Anne Frank: A Private Photo Album," has been showcased since March 1. The exhibit features more than 70 black-and-white photos of Frank and her sister, Margot, taken by their father, Otto.

During its opening day, the exhibit attracted 3,000 visitors to the Ela Area Public Library.

Natalie Ziarnik, the head of children's' services at the library and person responsible for bringing the exhibit to the library, said she thinks its popularity has to do with people's familiarity with Frank's story.

"Because Lake Zurich is becoming more ethnicity diverse with Chinese, Hispanic and Indian people we thought it was a good time to approach the issue of tolerance," Ziarnik said. "This does so in a subtle way. It has had a much more profound effect than we even imagined."

To celebrate the end of the exhibit, social worker David Bier, a representative from the Holocaust Community Services Program, was on hand Sunday leading informal dialogue about the Holocaust.

About 25 people attended the discussion, which focused heavily on the parallels between the Holocaust and the events going on in today's society.

"We end up struggling with why Hitler did this, when what is more instructive is thinking about what we would have done," Bier said. "What would you do for your neighbors? That is the goal of these exhibits, to think as opposed to just being entertained."