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US Holocaust museum tries Kickstarter to preserve war diaries

On Anne Frank's birthday, the museum announces that it wants your help preserving first-person accounts of the Holocaust online.

Anne Frank would have turned 88 years old on Monday, and it was 75 years ago she received a diary for her 13th birthday. Frank was only 15 when she died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, but her words, as published in "The Diary of a Young Girl," have taught generations about the Holocaust.

Now the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is launching a Kickstarter campaign to help preserve hundreds of other Holocaust diaries and first-person accounts.  The campaign, titled "Save Their Stories: The Undiscovered Diaries of the Holocaust," seeks to raise $250,000 (about £197,475 or AU$332,520) to "catalog, preserve, and make available online over 200 Holocaust diaries in the Museum's collection -- for the first time ever." 

The handwritten accounts that would be shared online are in 17 languages. If the goal is reached, three will be translated into English, though the project page says the Washington, D.C.-based museum would love to translate more if more funds are raised.

"Like Anne Frank's personal record, these stories expose the truth of Holocaust history -- so that ever more researchers, authors, teachers, students can learn from them and help fulfill the promise of Never Again," the campaign webpage reads.

Rewards for donors include behind-the-scenes updates on the work, watercolor prints and tote bags, and even exclusive tours of parts of the museum and its conservation center that aren't normally open to the public.

The museum has also shared a number of videos about the various diaries on its YouTube channel. In one, Holocaust survivor Asriel Strip displays the journal kept by his brother, Joseph Stripounsky, in the young boy's math notebook. A map drawn in the diary helped Strip find the village that hid the family when bombs began falling on Antwerp, Belgium, resulting in a tearful reunion with a member of the family who helped them survive.

As of Monday afternoon, the campaign had already gotten pledges of more than $21,000 toward its $250,000 goal.  

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