Anne Frank House
Updated: Jun 12, 2019
In 2011, I finally made it to see the Anne Frank House.
Having read every version of her diary, I have always felt connected to this amazing young woman who kept a record of the reality of the Holocaust that has been shared with millions.
The house where Anne and her family and friends hid from the Nazis is now the Anne Frank House Museum.
I had wanted to see this for 30 years by the time I had a chance to visit.
The original building was saved and a museum added on.
All the things I read about in The Diary of Anne Frank were there including the heavy curtains in the back office. This is where they could sneak down on the weekends to bathe. The Nazis had taken all the furniture after the family was outed. Otto Frank asked to have it left empty.
There were videos of Miep Gies and Otto Frank, Anne's father. And of course, the Secret Annex.
I have not been able to stop thinking about this family hiding out.
I stood washing dishes the other day and thought about how people were just going about their business, washing dishes, living, working, loving and suddenly everything changed.
Fear became their constant companion, joined by confusion, pain, horror and sadness.
How did they stand it?
The hiding, the fear, the closed-in quarters and having to put up with other people. People they hardly knew!
Another issue that would be so difficult would be the dependence on Miep Gies and the other helpers. Anne mentioned in her diary that they never complained.
How difficult they must have found it sometimes.
We walked past the bookcase that guarded the entrance to the Secret annex, walking on the narrow steps. We visited the floors of the Secret Annex and saw Anne's room that she had tried to brighten up with "movie star" photos, the pencil marks where Otto Frank had marked their growth on the wall, and something I found particularly chilling...a yellow cloth star.
It was so much smaller than I pictured. Peter's area hardly a room at all, just a little area at the bottom of some stairs, carved out for him.
Near the end of the tour were index cards kept by the Nazis detailing information about each person they imprisoned. We left with a whole new feeling. I cannot even explain all the emotions.
The awful reality is that these same things are still going on in the world. People having to hide, unfair attacks, violence, hate and genocides.
I will never forget this trip or her story. She is a hero to me for writing her words and leaving them for the rest of us to learn.
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