July 7, 2010

Anne Frank Huis

I wanted to share my experience with you when me and the hubbs visited the Anne Frank Huis.
We were told that it was a "Must Do/ Have To" thing while we were in Amsterdam. 
I remember reading the Diary of Anne Frank when I was in middle school.  I never would have imagined that I would one day be standing in the very place where this family lived in hiding.  It was a moving experience.

Before you actually go into the Secret Annex, you go through the "office" part of the buiding.  You walk through rooms where people continued to work not knowing there were two families living in hiding just a few flights of stairs above them.  There were scale models of what the Secret Annex looked like before Anne Frank and her family were imprisoned, and before the Nazi Army took everything out of the hiding place. 
To actually get to the Secret Annex, you have to climb a very steep set of stairs.  The steps themselves were tiny. The hubbs had to brace my back just to make sure I didnt fall down the stairs.  I almost felt like I was climbing a ladder.
When we got to the top of the stairs, I wanted to go back down.  I didn't want to go any further.
I had always known that a movable bookcase is what stood in the way of the entrance to the hiding place.  But when it came time to actually walk through that bookcase into the Secret Annex, I hesitated. 
So many thoughts went running through my mind at that moment. 
I was about to take the same steps that Anne Frank and her family took walking into the hiding place. 
I was standing in the same place they were at, when they were drug out of their Secret Annex. 
But, I pressed onward. 
It was an awkward feeling and emotion actually being in the Secret Annex.  The most moving room to me was, Anne Frank's room.  The things Anne Frank had posted on the walls of her room were still there.
I wanted to get out of the hiding place as fast as I could.  I felt like it was somewhat wrong to be there.  I felt like I was trespassing in these peoples lives. 
Once we actually exited the Secret Annex, we came into a room where all of Anne's diaries were.  Though I couldn't read what she wrote {the language barrier kind of got in the way} it was still moving.  On display was Anne's first diary, her notebooks, and scrap sheets of paper.  After she filled up her first diary, she began to write in notebooks.  Once those were all filled, she wrote on scrap pieces of paper she found.  There they were, all of her thoughts right in front of me.
Once again, I wanted to leave.  I wanted to get out of that place as fast as I could. 
One of the most moving parts of the experience to me was the fact that Otto Frank, Anne's father, came back to the Secret Annex.  He wanted the rooms to stay empty, just as they were left after they were imprisoned.  He wanted Anne's diary to be published, just like she had wanted.  He wanted people to be able to come to the hiding place to see for themselves.  He wanted the world to know what they went through.  He wanted the world to know how discrimination can affect the world.
We weren't allowed to take pictures while we were actually at the Anne Frank Huis, but I strongly urge you to visit the website.  You can read all about the Frank family history, their time in hiding, their time in the concentration camp, Otto's return to Amsterdam, his fight to keep the house from demolition, to the opening of the museum itself.  It is moving.



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