Friday, May 7, 2010

The Anne Frank House

Visiting the Anne Frank House was both surreal and sad for me.

I had read the book, The Diary of Anne Frank, when I was about 10 or 11. We won't go into how long ago that actually was. At the time, I remember that I couldn't fathom how she must have felt, trapped inside that house, a prisoner, unable to go outside or even open a window for fear of capture.

Visiting the house, walking through the rooms those 8 people lived in, touched a spot deep inside me. In the picture below, the house where they hid is the house next to the one with a pitched roof.

Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures inside the house. Stepping through the secret doorway hidden behind the bookcase was like stepping back in time. There was no furniture there. Otto Frank, Anne's father and the only one of the family to survive Auschwitz, didn't want any brought back in after the Nazis carted it all out upon their discovery.

The wallpaper in the rooms is the original and still contained the pictures that Anne hung up to brighten the place up.

What struck me was the size of the space. For 8 people to live there for 2 years, it was small. But the space was quite large to have been hidden all that time. I don't know how the authorities didn't know it was there.

In other rooms of the house, there are models, pictures and videos. Part of her actual diary is under glass. The video interviews were powerful. There was one by Otto Frank, another by one of the people that helped hide them, one from Anne's best friend.

They also had a bookstore, with her diary and other books available in many different languages. I bought a copy of The Diary of Anne Frank. I feel compelled to read it again since it's been so long. I also picked up a book with stories from 7 different women that knew Anne while she was is Auschwitz.

Here in Germany, they've set Auschwitz up as museum. I haven't made it there yet but I feel I need to before leaving Germany. I'll probably read both books before going.

It's a sad part of our history but if you ever visit Amsterdam, please make a point of visiting the Anne Frank house.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Michael Bulger said...

My wife has been there. She agrees, you can still feel the emotions there. She said she felt like her spirit was still there too.

Pamela Hearon said...

I taught The Diary of Anne Frank for 15 years and hope to visit the Secret Annex some day. Thanks for sharing your photos and insights.

Rachel Lynne said...

Riley, I envy you your travels:) I too read Anne Frank's Diary as a preteen and can only imagine what it must have been like to visit her hiding place. Such a terrible waste of a precious spirit, she was a bright star snuffed out way too early but I have hope that the diaries she left behind will help to show and remind the world that this must never, ever happen again.

Maeve said...

I remember reading The Diary of Anne Frank. I still can't fathom what that poor girl's family, or that entire people endured. It's mind-boggling and chilling. Thank you for this wonderful post.

Indigo said...

Reading this made me want to read 'Anne Frank's Diary', all over again. I made a note to pick up the book the next time I'm at the bookstore. Thank you! (Hugs)Indigo

GPS said...

I read the book too and meant to read it again. It made a big impression on me. I can't imagine living in such fear every day. We watched Inglorious Basterds recently and there's a scene where the Nazis come into a house and the Jewish people hide under the floor. It's chilling.

Stephanie said...

I visited the Anne Frank House several years ago and I was amazed over again how that family managed to survive over two years in that annex. It just boggles the mind. People were very quiet and reverent as they went through the house as I think everyone could still feel the emotions running through the place. It was a very humbling and rewarding experience.

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