In order to promote a Human Rights message that would resonate with youth, David Clark created and produced the “Anne Frank 75th Birthday Tribute” in New York City with Anne Frank’s friends and only living family member, Buddy Elias, her first cousin.
With help from The Anne Frank Center, Clark secured the support of Miep Gies, age 96, and Simon Wiesenthal, age 97, as Event Chairs. Miep Gies is known as the courageous woman who hid Anne and her family for over two years and found Anne’s diary, while Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal is known as the Nazi Hunter and an author.
The host was Buddy Elias who introduced his special friend, Edmund “Hello” Silverberg, Anne’s boyfriend at the time of her hiding who celebrated Anne’s life by reading from her diary. Millie Perkins who portrayed Anne in the 1959 film “Diary of Anne Frank,” and Natalie Portman, who played Anne in the 1997 Broadway production of the same name both read passages from her diary as well.
Event Chairwoman Miep Gies discusses Anne Frank and her family
Clark learns from Buddy Elias that Anne’s goal was to become a journalist, which is why she kept her diary. Clark leverages Anne’s goal and the global impact her diary has made, creating the “Anne Frank Human Writes Award” to promote writers of every description–from journalists to screenwriters, playwrights to poets, and songwriters to novelists—who promote social justice.
Elias, a life-long actor before he became the Director of the Anne Frank Foundation in Basil Switzerland, felt strongly that the recipient of the inaugural Anne Frank Human Writes Award be Arthur Miller, a man who he said wrote about ordinary people like his family swept up in extraordinary circumstances. When approached, Arthur Miller graciously agreed to attend the Gala to receive this award from Mr. Elias, but sadly passed away a month before the event.
Knowing how touched his father had been by the nature of this award, Robert Miller attended the event with Arthur’s sister and stated: “My father agreed to accept this honor because of his belief in the relevance of the writer in society and their power to inform us of the human condition. I feel that this award honors his lifelong commitment to seeking and exploring that relevance.”