Anne Frank House, Amsterdam

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The Anne Frank House in many ways was like the concentration camps. Knowing what has happened in this place makes it a fascinating but eery place to be. All furniture has been taken out of the building, lighting is kept dim and the shades are kept down (at the time they were trying to avoid detection and everything has been kept that way.) people walk around the different rooms of the house reading and looking at models of the annexe in complete silence. There are many videos of Otto, Anne’s father, the only one of the group to have survived the concentration camp and some of the “helpers”, the friends of Otto’s, who knowing they would be in deep trouble if they were ever caught doing so, helped hide the family during the war. These people sacrificed a lot for their friends. Just getting food for them was a huge risk! Everything during this time of the war was rationed, therefore it was necessary to have food stamps in order to buy anything, the Jewish people in hiding of course did not get stamps. There was the black market, but everything there was extremely expensive, they did find ways however and it was very much thanks to these “helpers” that the Frank family was able to stay in hiding as long as they did. The videos of the helpers  are very touching and give a very interesting perspective as the only one we really get from the diary is Anne’s. The feeling you get from many of these videos is the sense of responsibility the helpers had to help their friends, it almost seems in their voices that they are not scared because they know this is the right thing to do. At one point there is a video of one of Annes old friends, who meets her in the concentration camp. At that time they were on separate sides of the camp split by a high wall. Annes side was not receiving very much food and the friends side somehow was able to save enough food to send a small bag over. The friend throws the bag over and this is the last she ever hears from Anne. She later finds out Anne has died of an illness from the concentration camp. Annes friend survives her time at the concentration camp and later writes to Otto Frank who has gone back to Amsterdam looking for his family and takes an add in the paper to ask for any information of them. Annes friend tells all she knows. In the video she also adds that Anne believed her whole family was dead. She believed she had nothing left. Annes friend believes that if she had known her father was still alive, Anne may have had the strength to fight on. When Otto comes back to Amsterdam, he finds out his family has not survived the concentration camp. We can imagine Otto must be torn apart with all that is going on, the fear of being found, split apart from his family, the joy of being freed, and the horrifying moment he finds out about his family. Otto is a very brave man for all this, and continues on in this manner. He says himself in one of the videos that it took him a long time to read through Annes diary. Again, one can only imagine what this man has gone through and is now feeling. Miep, one of the early helpers, gets Annes diary to Otto. She was there when the soldiers came in to collect the family. They had been tipped off by an anonymous source, to this day no one knows who called on them. Even as they came in to the annexe the Gestapo were surprised to find anyone was there, the group was very well hidden in the annexe behind a bookcase on hinges.  Miep was able to save these precious pages and eventually get them back to Otto for him to share them with the world. In a very chilling video, Otto gives his view of having access to some of Annes deepest and most personal thoughts. He was stunned at his daughters wisdom for her age. “Anne and I got along quite well and still, seeing her diary made me feel as though I didn’t even know her. Is it really truly possible to know your daughters, your family, the people around you?” (not a direct quote) After having read through the diary Otto brought it to many publishers, and eventually had Annes dream of becoming a famous author come to reality. She is now published in many different languages, she is known worldwide and has this museum in her name. Otto started the museum and played a big role in many of the decisions related to it, he also started a foundation in the name of Anne, his family and all others that were influenced by the holocaust.

At the end of it all are more videos, these of people who have been influenced by Anne’s story. Some of these people are Jewish themselves, a very memorable quote is from a Brooklyn writer talking about his experiences as a young child playing a game to find out who would hide them if they were in a similar situation to Annes. He says during the clip that growing up he would find out this wasn’t just a Brooklyn thing, Jewish people all over the world have played similar games influenced by the diary. Another very important quote in this part was that of Nelson Mandela. Saying that he too and many of the people on Ruben Island (the prison where he spent many years of his life), living in a similarly oppressed situation to Anne’s were reading the book and were greatly influenced by it.

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This is the view from one of the windows in the museum. After having heard and read the stories of the time spent in the house, you can only imagine this street being full of people being rounded up by heavily armed soldiers. These people would shortly be loaded up in to cramped cattle carts on trains and shipped off to one of the concentration camps. After having witnessed the “herding” and heard many stories, this would eventually happen to Anne and her family as they were eventually found, most of them would never return. One of the most striking parts of this whole story is the way it is told. From such a young point of view, Anne’s Diary tells this story very honestly. She stays optimistic even through the hardest times. Anne never seems to show any anger towards the people that are causing this terrible situation, and this is still very much the way the museum is set. Anne comes across as a very “normal” girl and in many ways this helps to put the reader in a position of feeling as though this really could be their own story.

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4 thoughts on “Anne Frank House, Amsterdam

  1. Great story. It a very deep and profound experience. Have you seen The Fault in our Stars movie? I absolutely hated that movie because of how they showed her visit to Anne Frank’s house. Clapping and applauding as well as making out once she made it up the stairs. No one would ever have done that!!!

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