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(Photo above ©AFS/AFF, Amsterdam/Basel)SALT LAKE CITY -- A new exhibit will open in downtown Salt Lake City that chronicles the story of a brave woman during World War II.
Anne Frank's story will be on display at the Salt Lake City Public Library. The exhibit not only tells Anne's story, but a story about tolerance, diversity and respect.
Noemi Mattis was just 3-and-a-half years old at the start of World War II. Her family was Jewish and living in Belgium.
As the war progressed, it became a dangerous time for the Jewish people. When Noemi was in kindergarten, her parents -- in an effort to save her -- put her in hiding.
"I was not in a closet or in an attic," Noemi said. "I had an assumed name, a phony history, a phony explanation as to why I was living with those folks ... A story probably nobody believed."
Noemi hid for three years. She lived with three families -- people she did not even know.
"Ordinary people who risked their lives just because it was the right thing to do," she says of those families.
During that time, she had no contact with her parents.
April 13-May 11
Salt Lake City Public Library
210 East 400 South
United Jewish Federation of Utah
"Mother told me later that she would occasionally come to school and watch me from afar, making sure she didn't get close enough to for me to see her," Noemi said.
When 8 years old, American troops rolled into Belgium. A short time later, Noemi was reunited with her parents.
Noemi's story resembles that of millions of children entangled in the horrors of war. Many hid under false identities, others hid in secret places -- such as Anne Frank.
Anne's life will soon be on display at the Salt Lake City Library. The exhibit -- called "Anne Frank: A history for today" -- tells the story of a girl's courage in a time of despair.
For 25 months Anne kept a diary as she and her family lived in a secret annex above her father's business.
"She wanted to write things that were significant and that she'd be remembered by, and little did she know what would happen," said Martin Gelman, co-chair of the Anne Frank exhibition.
Tragically, Anne never saw the end of the war. Her family was discovered and sent to concentration camps.
Anne died not long before the camp was liberated, but her story lives on.
"There is hope," Gelman said. "You get hope from what Anne Frank said in her diary."
The exhibit at the library opens April 13. This Sunday, Gov. Gary Herbert will preview the exhibit as part of Holocaust Remembrance Day.
"Anne Frank: A History for Today" was developed by the Anne Frank House and is sponsored in North America by the Anne Frank Center USA.