Another beautifully lost dreamer with an incurable case of wanderlust.

Anne Frank House

Anne Frank House is located on the Prinsengracht canal in Amsterdam and is a museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. Anne, with her family and four other people, hid from Nazi persecution at the rear of the building, in the secret Annex. The museum opened on May 3rd 1960, and as well as the preservation of the hiding place and an exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank, the museum acts as an exhibition space to highlight all forms of persecution and discrimination.

The house is very quiet and respectful. When you enter the museum the first thing you do is watch a short film summarising the war and educating you on the story of Anne Frank. You see quite hard hitting, graphic images of what the happened in concentration camps and it really makes you realise what these poor people went through. When I was at school I hated History, but now I am at an age where it interests me and I can understand it properly. I always thought I knew Anne’s story, but I didn’t know as much as I thought I did! I will be buying her diary now for sure.

You start to make your way around the old jam factory. Inserts of the diary is painted on the walls, to help tell her story as you venture through the museum. Original household items and information plaques on the tables and magazines from back in the 40’s. There are TVs in a couple of the rooms with interviews of people that used to work in the factory, it is really fascinating.

Then you walk up to the famous bookcase. And behind this bookcase, the hidden passageway to the secret annex. There are no words to explain the feeling of being there, you will have to go and experience it yourself. In the annex you can see Anne’s bedroom wall filled with her old posters and you can see where the parents measured the children’s height with pencil lines on the walls. You can try and visualise what it would have been like for them, but we would obviously never know, and hopefully never have to be in such an awful similar situation. The rooms were bigger than I expected, but then again there were eight of them living there for over a year. Without going outside, seeing the sunlight. The blackout blinds made the rooms very mysterious. In Anne’s diary she says how she would love to just run outside and ride a bike or dance. One lady behind me said ‘I cannot believe how evil some people can be’ , It is so upsetting that these families had to live in fear and in secret. And in such basic conditions, relying on the few people they told to keep them alive and supply them with food. The families couldn’t run water, move around or flush the toilets at night in case they were heard… things that we wouldn’t even think twice about doing.

Unfortunately, they were betrayed by somebody who knew about the annex and the Nazi’s invaded the house and the families were taken to camp. Anne and her family were all split up and sadly, the only person that survived was Otto Frank, Anne’s father. When he returned to the house at the end of the war, he was given Anne’s diary. He had never read any of the diary before as he had promised to Anne that he would never peak. When he found out his daughter would never return, he had it published. Anne’s dream was to be a journalist and get her diary published with the title ‘the secret annex’. Although Anne was not around to see the success of her writing, I am happy that she got her wish and everybody can now read about what she went through, admire her strength and try to understand what she was feeling. Otto Frank said in an interview that he wasn’t aware his daughter had such deep thoughts, he said that he doesn’t think any parent truly knows their child as well as they think they do.

I am quite an emotional person and I did find the experience pretty tough. You can just imagine if it was you and your family in that position. Some of the photos you see are quite disturbing, and reading the diary inserts makes you realise how grown up this child had to be. Anne Frank House really opens your eyes to how good we all have it now. If it wasn’t for the sacrifices that were made in the past for us, who knows what the world would be like now?

In the words of Otto Frank… “you must know the past, before you can build a future”

If you are in Amsterdam, I would really recommend a trip here. It is a truly moving experience.

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Visit the Anne Frank House online at http://www.annefrank.org/

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  1. Dear Diary. Welcome to Amsterdam - Totally Sam's World | Totally Sam's World - [...] really makes you realise that life right now is pretty good! You can read my full post on AFH…

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