Germany: Anne Frank waxwork unveiled at Berlin Madame Tussauds

BERLIN, Germany — A waxwork of Anne Frank went on display in Madame Tussauds Berlin today, the first time the German wax museum has built an exhibit around the Jewish teenager killed by the Nazis in 1945.

The Berlin Tussauds has previously borrowed a waxwork of Frank from the Amsterdam branch, but it has never before commissioned one of its own. 

Unlike the Amsterdam version, which shows a pensive, uncertain looking young girl, Berlin's new model is of a smiling, adolescent Frank.

It is based on the last known photographs of her, and was painstakingly researched by a team of London-based experts, Madame Tussauds spokeswoman Nina Zerbe told the Spiegel Online.

"We even consulted experts who could tell us how the hair and skin would have changed in the time that had elapsed since the last available photograph," she said.

The museum wants visitors to take a positive message from the spirited looking figure, according to Zerbe:

"Anne Frank was such a hopeful person. It's that sense of optimism that we want to convey in this figure. It's important to let the story continue."

The waxwork is displayed in a reconstruction of the attic in which she and her family hid following the German invasion of the Netherlands. Seated at her writing desk with a pen in her hand, she is surrounded by her favorite things, including movie and theater magazines, a copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, and her own famous diary. A page from the original is in a cabinet nearby.

The exhibit opened Friday morning to a class of local school children and guests from the Anne Frank Center in Berlin, the Berliner Zeitung reported. It coincided with Germany's annual Anti-Racism Week, which begins officially on Monday.

The Berlin Madame Tussauds also has waxworks of German resistance fighter Sophie Scholl and, controversially, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

The latter model – which unlike others is not advertized on the museum's website – was criticized by numerous Jewish groups and politicians when it went on display in 2008, the Telegraph reported. Minutes after the exhibit opened, a visitor decapitated the waxwork, but it has since been repaired and is once more on view to the public, this time protected by a glass panel, according to Bloomberg.

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