To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands during the Second World War, the Dutch Canadian Club of Edmonton sponsored a statue of Anne Frank, which was unveiled in Light Horse Park (10324-85 Ave.) on August 8, 2021.
The bronze statue—one of only two in the world that can be viewed in a public space—is a replica of a 1960 work by Dutch sculptor Pieter d’Hont, recasted by his son. The figure of Anne Frank was chosen for this project because she is a symbol of hope and optimism for many. Plaques installed in the park inform visitors about the young girl, her famous diary, the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam, and the connection between Canada and the Netherlands.
“We the people of Dutch descent here in Edmonton and citizens in the Netherlands are forever grateful for the Canadian men and women,” said Club president Frank Stolk during the unveiling ceremony. “Their unwavering goal was to drive out the brutal Nazi regime from the face of the planet.”
Over 45,000 Canadians died in Europe during World War II. Stolk himself grew up in the Netherlands after the war and heard stories about the Canadian troops who were among the Allied forces that liberated Holland in 1945.
The event was originally intended to take place in 2020 for the 75-year anniversary, but was postponed due to the pandemic. Organizers marvelled at the unintentional selection of the new 2021 date of August 8—the day in 1944 when Anne Frank and her family were put on a train from Amsterdam to Westerbork, and eventually to Auschwitz.
Anne and her sister Margot were later transferred to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where they died. Those familiar with the story know that, of Anne’s family, only her father Otto lived to see the end of the war; for those unfamiliar, you can learn more in Old Strathcona’s Light Horse Park.
Lest we forget.
MORE LOCAL MEMORIALS COMMEMORATE LIVES LOST ALL OVER THE WORLD
Honour veterans and those Canada lost in service at a Remembrance Day ceremony on November 11, 2021, and pay a visit to a local war monument like the Aboriginal Veterans’ Monument, the Aviation Heritage Memorial, and the Edmonton Cenotaph.
This article originally appeared in our Info Edmonton Fall/Winter Guide.