Anne Frank Art Contest Continues to Inspire

Friday, June 12, 2020

The annual Anne Frank Art Contest, sponsored by William Blair, drew more than 400 entries this spring from youth throughout Germany.

The contest honors the legacy of Anne Frank, a Jewish girl from Frankfurt whose diary of her experiences while hiding from the Nazis during World War II has inspired millions around the world.

The coronavirus pandemic complicated but did not prevent a spirited 2020 competition, which was conducted virtually for the first time.

A panel of judges selected the top posters centered on the theme of Pushing Boundaries, with winners announced via Instagram on June 11, the eve of Anne Frank's birthday of June 12. William Blair presented its art award to Nele Aschoff, 18, for her poster If You See The Hair In The Soup, Why Don't You See The People In The Sea.

"If you see the hair in the soup, why don't you see the people in the sea"

Winning artwork created by Nele Aschoff

The winners' artworks are on display at the Museum of Applied Arts in Anne's hometown of Frankfurt through June 15.

The museum described the artwork on social media as: "Be it social or national borders and the related issues of migration and marginalization; be it our personal boundaries concerning freedom of expression and privacy—these are some of the issues that young creatives were asked to deal with and to convince the jury with their impressive poster designs."

William Blair's investment banker Philipp Mohr, who heads the firm's Frankfurt office, founded the competition in 2014 and partners with the local Anne Frank Educational Centre to hold the contest each year.

The competition was started as a way for youth to remember Anne's life and the terror of racism and fascism. The Centre uses the Diary of Anne Frank and her tragic life to promote the ideals of tolerance and dialogue between those from different social, racial, and economic backgrounds.

"The contest is very important to me as it provides an opportunity to see 'art in action' and understand what moves the students," Mohr says. "It is particularly important at a time when we see social and racial unrest and when the battle against racism continues in so many parts of the world."

Anne was born in Frankfurt in 1929. Her family moved to Amsterdam when she was four to flee Nazi oppression. When Germany invaded the Netherlands, Anne and her family were forced into hiding. In concealed rooms in Amsterdam she wrote her diary, now considered one of the most important books of the 20th Century. Anne died at the age of 15 at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, about a year after the family was discovered by the German police.

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