Anne Frank's bookcase wasn't built to hold books, but to protect lives.
We felt it was the right moment to bring it back.
Anne Frank House
It’s no secret we’re living in turbulent times. In 2020, homophobic and transphobic crimes in the UK rose to 14,670, from 10,817 in the previous year. In the Netherlands, the police have registered about 12 percent more discrimination incidents in 2020 than in 2019. And according to an FBI report, racially motivated crimes in the US reached their highest number in more than a decade.
One thing is for sure: intolerance is often fuelled by the unknown. By those considered to be “different”. It starts with words and is followed by acts of exclusion and persecution – culminating in terrible acts of violence.
Our friends at Anne Frank House believe that education is the best way to counter intolerance and discrimination. To quote Anne Frank’s father, Otto Frank: “We cannot change what happened anymore. The only thing we can do is to learn from the past and to realize what discrimination and persecution of innocent people means.”
So, we decided to turn Anne Frank’s famous bookcase – which was once built to protect lives – into a digital, immersive, and educative tool.
“The Bookcase for Tolerance” is an AR app that allows everyone to position Anne Frank’s bookcase in their own living rooms – or anywhere else. Behind it, visitors can step inside Anne’s room but also the rooms of four young adults who face discrimination today: Mees, Kuei, Majd, and Dalit. Inside each room, visitors can explore some of their personal objects and dive deeper into their stories.
The project website holds a series of short documentaries about each one of the protagonists and their respective struggles: inequality, racism, prejudice and antisemitism.
The campaign kicked off on the UNESCO International Day for Tolerance with a teaser directed by the Dutch filmmaker Johan Kramer and was voiced by Elliot Page, actor and activist.
Under the slogan #DontHateEducate, the whole campaign is available in 5 languages and has reached most corners of the globe. Contributing, hopefully, to a more tolerant world. One without discrimination.
Trailer to the campaign, directed by the Dutch filmmaker Ted Alkemade.
Project teaser, directed by Johan Kramer and voiced by Eliott Page.
“Shining a light on the intolerance that persists against young people in the 21st century, with a new campaign focused on today’s teenagers as well as Frank herself.” – AdAge
ROOM 01 ANNE FRANK – Writing against the depths of despair
“I’ll make my voice heard. I’ll go out into the world and work for mankind!”
Anne Frank was only 13 when she went into hiding with her family from the Nazi regime.
ROOM 02 KUEI – My stand against racism
“I just found out that my skin colour wasn’t really the problem, but it just was the way other people were thinking”.
As a black woman living in the Netherlands, Kuei is often discriminated against because of her skin color.
“This bookcase reminds us of what prejudice and discrimination can lead to. Many young people still have to deal with this. The Bookcase for Tolerance tells their story.” – Ronald Leopold, Executive Director, Anne Frank House
ROOM 03 MEES – My stand against inequality
“I think it’s important that we all listen to each other, so if you know their face and their story, then it’s very hard to hate them.”
As a transgender, Mees is not always accepted for who he is.
ROOM 04 MAJD – My stand against prejudice
“When I say I’m from Syria, people think I’m very religious, conservative, less developed. But they don’t realize that behind each one of us there is a story.”
As a Syrian refugee, Majd still has to deal with prejudice.
“This is so impressing and so hurting. I worked with these kids. We helped them in their depression, suffering from mobbing, school phobia… And the sad thing is, there are so many cases.”
– @Matziolaberry, Instagram user
ROOM 05 DALIT – My stand against antisemitism
“Just be proud of who you are. If you come from a good place, then all you get is good things back.”
Dalit, a feminist illustrator, turns modern-day antisemitism into fuel for her creative engine.
“The Bookcase for Tolerance” being featured on “Koffietijd”, one of the most popular morning shows in the Netherlands.