Memento Of A Lost Childhood: Anne Frank's Marbles

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Before her family went into hiding, Anne Frank gave away some of her toys to her neighbor, Toosje Kupers. The gift included a set of marbles, now on display at at an art gallery in Rotterdam. NPR's Scott Simon takes a moment to note the childhood gift.


A small tin of marbles went on display in a Rotterdam art gallery this week. They're more than 70 years old and the blues, pinks and greens look faded. But those marbles are bits of history because they belonged to Anne Frank. She gave them for safekeeping to a friend, Toosje Kupers - another little girl, who lived in the apartment building next door - along with a book, a tea set and Moortje, the Frank family's cat.

The Franks went into hiding in July 1943, in small rooms above a warehouse. They were betrayed two years later and dragged out of those rooms by the Gestapo and sent to concentration camps. Anne Frank and her older sister, Margo, died in March 1944, in the Bergen-Belsen camp. Anne Frank was 15 years old.

The diary she wrote in what she called her secret annex has become one of the most famous documents in history; not just an artifact of the Holocaust, but a testament to courage and kindness surviving in a hellish place.

The marbles are small, touching reminders that the author was still a little girl who had toys.

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