A few of our Year 8 pupils from both Prep and Senior school were taken to Cinema City in Norwich recently to watch a new documentary film, ‘Anne Frank: Parallel Stories’. The children have been studying the novel, ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ by John Boyne, and this was an excellent enrichment opportunity to support the work in the classroom.
The film was created in celebration of what would have been Anne Frank’s 90th birthday. Helen Mirren tells the story of Anne’s life through the pages of her diary, a story that has made the tragedy of the Holocaust known to readers and students all over the world.
This telling is intertwined with the stories of 5 Holocaust survivors who shared Anne’s experiences of deportation and suffering, but were fortunately able to go on and live the life that Anne was denied. The film also features insight and discussion from a number of historians and professors, combined to explore why this story has become such a historic journal that holds such great relevance today. It will also commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day and the 90th anniversary of Anne Frank’s birth.
The pupils and staff were spellbound by this intensely moving and tragic documentary and from the touching comments made after the viewing, it was very clear that it was a very valuable and educational experience. The film will definitely help the children to give context to the novel studied in class.
We were very lucky to have a question and answer session after the film with a lecturer, Samantha Knapton, from the UEA. Dr Samantha Knapton is a historian of twentieth century displacement, Central and East-Central Europe and international humanitarianism. Her work has focused on the post-war displacement of Polish people in the aftermath of the Second World War, many of whom were forced labourers throughout the Nazi period. She has extensively studied and written about Anglo-Polish-German interactions alongside the birth of international humanitarianism. Sam is a graduate of the Newcastle University and currently works as a Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of East Anglia.
The children coped admirably with such adult issues and concepts and the staff were very proud of their mature approach and attitude. They were a real credit to the school.