The Power of One Book: The Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial

08 Aug

There are moments in life when we realize how truly powerful the written word can be. For me, this happened when I discovered the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial. Of course, I’d read Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl. Everyone has, even my nine year old daughter. It’s been translated into 60 languages, listed as one of the best books of the twentieth century, and made into films.

Still, Boise, Idaho seems like an odd place for a memorial to someone who died in the Holocaust. And that’s precisely the point. The monument displays quotes from around the world: Mahatma Gandi, Maya Angelou, Confucius, Chief Joseph and a student in Sarajevo.

At the center of the display is a statue of Anne Frank with her diary hidden behind her back, peering out of her attic window.

A significant portion of the monument is dedicated to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The document is presented on several stone tablets resembling the pages of a book.

In a fitting tribute to Anne Frank’s love of stories and writing, the monument sits between the Boise Public Library and The Log Cabin Literary Center, where young writers gather to learn the craft of writing.

When an author writes a universal truth, it spreads all the way to the end of the earth.

So what is your universal truth? What book that you love has reached to the ends of the earth? What impact has it had?


Posted by on August 8, 2011 in Boise, Idaho


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21 responses to “The Power of One Book: The Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial

  1. Johanna Harness

    August 8, 2011 at 5:44 AM

    Thanks for the reminder about the power of words. Great post.

    • Clarissa Southwick

      August 8, 2011 at 6:29 AM

      Hi Johanna! Isn’t it amazing how far one story can reach? Thanks for the comment.

  2. Kris

    August 8, 2011 at 6:50 AM

    You’re right – what an odd place to have a memorial – but it is so fitting, really. Anne’s story, like all the stories from the Holocaust, has no boundaries. Thanks for the photos.

    • Clarissa Southwick

      August 8, 2011 at 4:56 PM

      Hi Kris, It is odd, but I’m very glad it’s here. It’s right on the greenbelt and very peaceful. Thanks for stopping by today 🙂

  3. Janis McCurry

    August 8, 2011 at 7:16 AM

    All that power and nothing blows up. Words are power. Thanks for the lovely reminder.

    • Clarissa Southwick

      August 8, 2011 at 4:58 PM

      Good point, Janis. Now if we could just convince the world. . .

  4. Peggy Staggs

    August 8, 2011 at 9:39 AM

    Sometimes we forget how powerful our words can be. When we write them down–especially with the internet–they are out there for all to see. A great reminder to write with care.

    • Clarissa Southwick

      August 8, 2011 at 4:59 PM

      Hi Peggy, Yes, you’re right. It’s probably easier now for word to spread quickly. It was quite a feat in Anne Frank’s day. Thanks for the comment. 🙂

  5. Liz Fredericks

    August 8, 2011 at 10:50 AM

    Thank you, Clarissa! You’ve given us a nice reminder of the power of words. They can be used to heal as well as hurt.

  6. Steph Bochenek

    August 8, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    Clarissa, One of the books that affected me the same way is ‘The Hiding Place’ by Corrie ten Boom. She was a Dutch Holocost surviver who wrote her story in the 70’s. She was a christian and helped many Jewish people escape. She was discovered and put into a camp.

    • Clarissa Southwick

      August 8, 2011 at 5:00 PM

      Hi Steph, I haven’t read that one, but it sounds interesting. It’s always good to see your comments here. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. John Ross Barnes

    August 8, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    What a great monument, both in message & in the installment itself. Love that the design chose to include a bronze statue. We need more bronzes.(ok some of my old friends work in/with monumental sculpture).

    This seems like a point in history, right Now, when a Universal declaration of Human Rights Needs to be strengthened in the collective mind of man.

    Thanks for this.

    • Clarissa Southwick

      August 8, 2011 at 5:01 PM

      Good to hear from a man who knows his art. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  8. Mary Vine

    August 8, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    Thanks for reminding me how writing can produce so much in the world.

    • Clarissa Southwick

      August 8, 2011 at 5:02 PM

      Hi Mary, Thanks for the comment. It is pretty awe-inspiring when you think of the ripple effect across generations.

  9. Carley Ash

    August 8, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    Great blog and tribute to the written word Clarissa.

  10. MKHutchins

    August 8, 2011 at 6:10 PM

    I went to one of those writing camps for kids at the LCLC — but before the Anne Frank Memorial went up. I remember the construction everywhere. Just piles of dirt. And then somehow, it transformed into this beautiful place. Thanks for the photos and the memories.

  11. Judith Keim

    August 8, 2011 at 6:51 PM

    Hi, Gail! What a wonderful memorial to Anne Frank. I can’t wait to see it on one of my trips west. Various books have made an impact on me from an early age. I think I was about 12 or 13 when I read Alan Paton’s Cry Beloved Country, (I think that was the title) about Africa. It opened my eyes to a bigger world, a cause for others and a place whose beauty and cultural differences have never left me.

  12. Meredith Conner

    August 9, 2011 at 8:04 AM

    Words can be so powerful. Anne Frank’s diary affected so many generations. Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech affected our political and cultural history. How many times has Elizabeth Browning’s “How do I love thee, let me count the ways” poem been quoted to a loved one?
    Thanks for this powerful reminder of the power and strength in words!

  13. Donna Cummings

    August 9, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    What a wonderful monument, and such an inspiring setting with all those word-related places together. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this.

  14. Bil Panama

    May 28, 2014 at 10:15 AM

    Such a peaceful place. I am lucky to have passed thru here twice a day to work and back. So miss it!


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