Anne Frank gets her wish

Digital image of Anne Frank as she would have been at the age of 80

Digital image of Anne Frank as she would have been at the age of 80

It is a heartbreaking and striking image, made all the more poignant by the knowledge that the pretty, white-haired old lady never existed.

Instead, to mark what would have been the 80th birthday today of the wartime diarist, the UK Anne Frank Trust has commissioned an age progression photograph.

A Michigan company, Phojoe, specialises in digitally adjusting photographs. The company uses its techniques to help in forensic detective work, frequently aiding police to show witnesses how missing people may look.

An age-progressed picture was issued by the parents of the missing child, Madeleine McCann, to try to jog people’s memories and give them some idea of what the toddler may look like today.

Anne Frank died of typhus and starvation in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, aged just 15, in March 1945. Many of the Trust’s educational programmes are on the theme of “A life not allowed to be lived.”

The Trust’s executive director, Gillian Walnes, said: “We hope the astonishment of seeing Anne Frank as an elderly lady will bring home the poignancy of millions of young lives that are extinguished through wars and persecution. Sadly, one can only imagine what her life would have been like.”

In April 1944, Anne wrote in her diary: “I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people.

“I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death!” Next week, the Mayor of Bradford is hosting a civic dinner in honour of his city’s Anne Frank Ambassadors; 30 young people aged 13- 16 who are re-telling Anne’s story in their ethnically diverse city — even more important in the wake of the BNP European victory.

Last updated: 12:04pm, June 11 2009