|Clay version of the Anne Frank statue|
A life-size statue of Anne Frank will be unveiled at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans on Sept. 12, as part of an ongoing installation at the museum’s Founder’s Plaza.
Two years ago, the first statue and bench in the plaza were unveiled, featuring a life-sized Franklin Roosevelt. The Anne Frank statue will be the plaza’s second installation, and more will be added as funding is available.
Dedicated in January 2017, Founder’s Plaza spans Andrew Higgins Drive between Camp and Magazine Streets. The plaza is the entryway to the institution’s grounds, providing safe passage for guests, and a setting for rest and reflection as part of the visitor experience.
Large Nuttall oak trees line the plaza, providing color in the fall and shade in the summer, and historic-style street lights assist with nighttime pedestrian access and safety. An 80-foot American flag and six service flags of the U.S. armed forces are also featured in the plaza, along with sections of Hitler’s Atlantic wall and German sentry shelters.
The museum hopes to eventually have around 10 sculptures in the plaza. While some specific individuals are under consideration, such as Dwight D. Eisenhower, others are more symbolic of different groups, such as a World War II nurse, a war dog and his handler, and a Red Ball Express supply driver.
Clem Goldberger of the museum said “we are thrilled Anne Frank was the second one that was funded.” The Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust is underwriting the Anne Frank statue.
Goldberger said a large proportion of museum visitors want to take their picture with Roosevelt, “and Anne Frank will be equally popular, especially with young people,” as so many students read her diary in school.
The Anne Frank bench and sculpture will be to the right of the flagpole in the plaza.
Designing the sculpture was a long process, with decisions needed for every detail. Historians pored over numerous photos as they decided what age the depiction should be, what she should wear, how to pose.
Goldberger said that while Roosevelt is seated, they decided Frank would stand next to her bench, looking upwards while holding her diary to her chest. “She’s looking up, with a hopeful look on her face,” she said.
A clay version was sculpted before the statue was cast in bronze. “The detail in the sculpture is phenomenal,” she added.
The statue was sculpted by SudioEIS in Brooklyn, which specializes in historical figures.
The 10 a.m. ceremony will begin with a brief presentation outside by the bench, and then proceed to the Stage Door Canteen, where there will be refreshments and remarks about the statue, and news about the forthcoming Liberation Pavilion.
Three significant exhibitions in the Liberation Pavilion’s “And Then They Came For Me” gallery are also being sponsored by the Tolmas Trust — “The Office,” “The Hiding Place” and “The Concentration Camp.”
In a statement, the Tolmas Trust said “We are proud to honor Oscar J. Tolmas’ legacy by underwriting the Anne Frank Sculpture Bench” and the three Liberation Pavilion exhibits. “We believe the combination of these sponsorships create a beautiful and profound opportunity to honor Mr. Tolmas’ Jewish heritage and his wartime service for our country.”
The Sept. 12 ceremony is open to the community.