‘No Asylum’ documents attempts to escape Nazis

ALAMOSA – The Adams State University Theatre program will show the documentary No Asylum: The Untold Chapter of Anne Frank’s Story at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26 in Richardson Hall Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

The free screening is presented as part of Of Words and Walls: The Anne Frank Theatre Project at Adams State. This 2015 film is about the stunning discovery of the lost letters of Anne Frank’s father which reveal an unknown chapter of their family’s life as they try to escape Nazi-occupied Holland.

Anne Frank has become an icon of tolerance and the face of the Holocaust. Through recently discovered letters from her father, Otto Frank, and interviews with remaining members of the Frank family, the painful and relentless struggle to save the family from the clutches of the Nazis is revealed. One by one his pleas for exit visas are rejected and the world turns its back on him, one country at a time. The Franks, with no asylum and no hope, remain helpless as Hitler and his men destroy their family one by one.

In 2005, Estelle Guzik, a volunteer archivist at New York City’s YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, came across a curious file previously not indexed: a cache of letters written by Anne Frank’s father, Otto. The roughly 80 documents, including considerable correspondence from Otto Frank to friends, family and officials, reveal just how desperately Mr. Frank—who survived the Holocaust—was trying to save his wife Edith, his mother-in-law Rosa Hollander and his daughters Margot and Anne.

The Otto Frank file measures at least half an inch thick, and page by page tells how the Franks tried urgently to escape from Nazi-occupied Holland. As Otto wrote his letters, the US Consulate in the Netherlands was destroyed. He struggled to obtain visas to the US and Cuba, and explored possible escape routes through Spain that would ultimately lead to exit via neutral Portugal, and sought visas to Paris.

Perhaps the most interesting question raised by the letters’ release is why Otto Frank’s letters and pleas were not answered in a way that he could save his family.

The universal message of “never again” has even greater relevance today. No Asylum asks, when atrocities due to prejudice and discrimination occur, will society look away, or finally take action?

Of Words and Walls: The Anne Frank Theatre Project at Adams State observes the 70th anniversary of the publication of Anne Frank’s diary with a call to remember the past so that we can engage in a dialogue about the present and future.

For more information about this event or the Of Words and Walls Project, please call 719-587-7382. This project is made possible through the generous support of Leslie and Maury Lieberman.

Tickets are still available for the Theatre Production, The Diary of Anne Frank. Dates for the play include 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23, 29, 30 and 2 p.m. Oct. 1. The theatre box office number is 719-587-8499.