by Emily Reuben

The Anne Frank Foundation has announced that a comic book detailing Anne Frank’s life will be released on September 18th.

The Anne Frank Foundation, founded by Frank’s father Ottto Frank, holds the intellectual property rights to The Diary of a Young Girl, more commonly known as “The Diary of Anne Frank”. While unauthorized comics exist, this project marks the creation of the first Anne Frank comic officially endorsed by the Anne Frank Foundation. The two creatives behind the project, Ari Folman and David Polonsky, pitched the comic this past Thursday.

The comic is based off of the diaries written by 15 year old Anne Frank between 1942 to 1944. During this time, Frank and her family were hiding from the Gestapo in Amsterdam. After being found and captured in 1944, Frank perished at a Nazi concentration camp. The Diary of a Young Girl was discovered by her father and published in 1947, making Anne Frank one of the most famous and most discussed Holocaust victims.

Ari Folman, the illustrator behind the comic, a native of Tel Aviv, Israel is known for his work as a film director, screenwriter, and score composer. His most notable work is an animated documentary, Waltz With Bashir, in which Folman attempts to recover his lost memories from Israel’s Lebanon War. After debuting in the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, the film was met with high praise and has won various awards such as two Ophir Awards for Best Director and Screenplay (2008), a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film (2008), and Animafest Zagreb Grand Prix award for feature film (2009) to name a few. Other notable works of Folman’s include Saint Clara (1996), Made in Israel (2001), and The Congress (2013). Folman will also be directing an animated version of the upcoming Anne Frank comic which will be titled Anne Frank.

David Polonsky has previously worked with Ari Folman as Art Director for Waltz With Bashir  and Production Designer for The Congress. While Polonsky is most commonly known for his production work with Folman, he has also illustrated the book version of Waltz With Bashir as well as various children’s books.

Anne Frank’s story has been told countless times since the publication of her initial diary entries in the late 1940s. Cnaan Liphshiz with The Times of Israel notes, “Since the 1940s, many authorized and unauthorized adaptations of the Anne Frank story have been created in many media. In Japan alone, the Anne Frank story has been the subject of several comic books – graphic novels in the Japanese manga style. But these publications were not authorized by the Anne Frank Foundation for historical accuracy corresponding to Anne’s actual writings.” With unauthorized versions of Frank’s story muddying the historical accuracy of her life and the tragedies surrounding the Holocaust, the need for faithful adaptations is now in greater demand.

The goal of Folman and Polonsky’s comic is to retell Anne Frank’s story with as much historical accuracy as possible.  At a recent Q&A session about the project Folman stated, “I’m worried we’re coming to an era where there won’t be Holocaust survivors on Earth, no living witnesses to tell the story.”

According to The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s official website, Folman’s fears are warranted:

The Registry of Holocaust Survivors currently contains the names of over 195,000 survivors and family members and we are adding more every day. A growing number of these individuals, who registered their names and historical information over the last 15 years, are now deceased.”

The majority of Holocaust survivors have died, and those that remain are growing more advanced in age. In a matter of years no survivors will remain. As a result, projects such as this are vastly important in maintaining a critical part of world history. With survivors becoming more and more scarce, many people are losing emotional ties to the events of the past, so their stories and history become more like gruesome fiction rather than historical fact. As stated by Folman, “…the entire story of the Holocaust risks becoming something ancient so it’s essential to find ways to preserve.”

The adaption will be 148 pages and published in 40 different languages.

Source: The Times of Israel , United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, IMDb (Ari Fulman), IMDb (David Polonsky)

Image: The World’s Children’s Prize


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