Anne Frank's Life in Letters at Amsterdam Museum

"I am independent in both body and mind. I don't need a mother anymore and I have emerged from the struggle as a stronger person", the young author of the "Diary of Anne Frank" wrote in one of the letters, on display in a show opening Wednesday at the Amsterdam Historical Museum.

The Anne Frank exposition at the Amsterdam Historic Museum, April 10 (AFP Photo)

The letter was written to her father who was critical of her budding romantic feelings for a young man who shared the Franks' hiding place in the annex of an Amsterdam canal house.

"Don't think of me as a fourteen-year old, since all these troubles have made me older," she added.

"The Frank family had the habit of writing letters when there were problems between them," curator Wouter van der Sluis said.

The letter is dated May 5, 1944 -- several months before the family was found and deported to the Nazi concentration camps. Anne died in the Bergen-Belsen camp in March 1945.

This declaration of independence from her father is also mentioned in her dairy but Anne's father Otto Frank had said he burned it because it upset him so much.

"The letter reappeared in Otto's papers. This is the first time it has gone on display," Van der Sluis said.

A large part of the letters date from before the time when Anne lived on the Merwedeplein in southern Amsterdam where the Frank family settled after leaving Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

The first note was written by Anne when she was seven in her mother tongue German, to her grandmother who lived in Switzerland. The later letters are in Dutch, the language Anne learned in elementary school.

The correspondence on display is accompanied by pictures of Anne's neighbourhood, her family and her friends.

The pictures also show the house of the Frank family at the Merwedeplein, which has been restored to what it would have looked like in Anne's time.

It was set up to house refugee writers, poets and journalists who cannot work freely in their country of origin. Each year a new refugee writer is invited to live in the house on the Merwedeplein.

A picture from the Merwedeplein shows Anne aged 13 in an elegant pose writing behind a desk: the picture of the writer she wanted to become.

She wrote to her grandmother: "Here I am, sitting at the writing desk".

In 1942, just before the family left the Merwedeplein to hide in the annex behind her father's office, Anne wrote a farewell letter to her best friend Jacqueline van Maarsen. Otto Frank refused to send it, afraid that it could give away clues about their hiding place.

Anne then pretended she had had a reply and wrote another letter to Jacqueline. After this pretend correspondence with a real person she decided to start her diary and send letters to an imaginary girl she called Kitty.

After the family was arrested and deported, a friend of the family found Anne's diary and kept it. Otto Frank was the only one of the Frank family to return from the camps.

He was given the diary and decided to publish it. Its first Dutch edition appeared in 1947 and translations into German, French and English followed in the 1950s. Now the diary has been translated into over 60 languages and read by millions of people.

"She did not survive. By publishing the diary her father fulfilled her dream" of becoming a writer, Van der Sluis said.

Anne Frank - Her Life in Letters, is on show at the Amsterdam Historisch Museum from April 12 to September 3, organised with the Anne Frank House museum. For information on opening hours and ticket prices the museum has an English language website (www.ahm.nl).

Other news