Anne Frank Film Shot in Gaza Secretly Screened in Iran

Viewers of 'Anne Frank: Then and Now' risk being imprisoned as the film does not have government approval.

The Forward
Josefin Dolsten
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Anne Frank, who lived in the Netherlands during WWII, in 1941.
Anne Frank, who lived in the Netherlands during WWII, in 1941.Credit: AP
The Forward
Josefin Dolsten

A documentary about Anne Frank was secretly screened in Iran, a country whose leaders have openly questioned and denied the Holocaust.

“Anne Frank: Then and Now” was shown to film students and a professor in a provincial theater. The film did not have government approval, and viewers risked being imprisoned for attending the event, Deadline reported.

Credit: Dario Bajurin, YouTube

The Arabic-language documentary film chronicles the lives of eight Palestinian girls and two Israeli girls during the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict as they try out for the role of Anne Frank. It was directed by Croatian filmmaker Jakov Sedlar and produced by Branko Lustig, a Croatian Holocaust survivor who won an Oscar for producing “Schindler’s List.”

“Tell your friends about Anne Frank,” Sedlar, who attended the screening, told the Iranian students. “Try to find details of her life; try to learn something about the Holocaust.”

Frank is known for writing a diary when she hid with her family from the Nazis in Amsterdam during World War II. The young Jewish writer died at the age of 15 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, after her hiding place was discovered.

In 2006 the Iranian government sponsored a conference dedicated to questioning the historical accuracy of Nazi atrocities toward Jews, and the country’s leaders have publicly denied the Holocaust.

In 2014, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wrote on Twitter: “#Holocaust is an event whose reality is uncertain and if it has happened, it’s uncertain how it has happened.”

According to the U.S. State Department, the Iranian government censors films deemed incompatible with Islamic values. Reporters Without Borders rated the country as “one of the world’s most oppressive countries as regards freedom of information.”

For more stories, go to Sign up for the Forward’s daily newsletter at

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage