Gillian Walnes MBE

Shopping basket

Your shopping basket is empty.

Meet our team

Gillian Walnes MBE

Gillian Walnes MBE

Patron

Vice President & Co-Founder of the Anne Frank Trust UK

                      

In 1990, along with family and friends of Anne Frank’s father Otto Frank, I set up the Anne Frank Trust UK. The Trust is a not for profit educational charity in the United Kingdom that uses Anne Frank’s powerful and tragic story to help young people understand and challenge prejudice and hatred, and embrace positive attitudes, responsibility and respect for others. 

Our team of 35 people educates over 40,000 young people a year throughout the UK in schools, prisons and community settings. We work in some of Britain’s most economically deprived and socially divided areas, training teenagers to become peer educators and giving them the confidence and skills to become socially active citizens.

Over the course of the past 26 years, I have travelled extensively around England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland setting up exhibits and educational projects, and I have opened Anne Frank exhibits in places as far reaching as Hong Kong, Argentina, South Africa and Brazil.

In my many years with the Anne Frank Trust I have met Presidents, Prime Ministers, government ministers, British and Dutch royalty and people who actually knew Anne and have shared with me first hand recollections about her. I have spent unforgettable times with Holocaust survivors and liberators of concentration camps.

                       

Along the way I have had the privilege of attending the 1996 Academy Awards in Hollywood (with Miep Gies, the courageous woman who helped the Frank family in hiding), and enlisted some very distinguished patrons such as the late Audrey Hepburn, Vidal Sassoon and Steven Spielberg.

I have spoken at the United Nations in front of the Secretary General Kofi Annan and at 10 Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament. I met the King and Queen of the Netherlands, Prime Ministers David Cameron and Tony Blair, London Mayor Boris Johnson, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Angelina Jolie, British Home Secretary Theresa May and legendary musicians Nile Rodgers and Peter Gabriel.

In 2010 I was honoured for my work by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and was inducted as a Member of the Order of the British Empire in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. I was also the recipient of the Holocaust Educational Trust Humanitarian Award in 1999, and was cited as one of Britain’s Inspirational Women by Candis magazine.

I have written extensively for newspapers about the impact of Anne Frank on young people. I have done innumerable TV and radio interviews, both in the UK and US.  I currently have a regular blog in the Huffington Post. 

I feel immensely privileged to continue to feel the moral duty to spread the story and philosophy of Anne Frank.  I am currently mindful that the generation of first hand witnesses, the survivors of the horrors of the Holocaust, will in just a few years not be able to tell their own stories, so I can explain how I have been equipping the next generation of young people to pass on the messages of Anne Frank’s important and powerful story.

Below are photos of myself with: HRH The Prince of Wales; Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel; Prime Minister Tony Blair and Angelina Jolie.