Amsterdam was much more than any of this. The canals with their beautiful boat houses, the windmills, the smiling people on their cycles and then the house that hid eight people for two years from the Gestapo. This post is about my feelings as I stepped back in time on entering Prinsengracht 263, Anne Frank Huis, Amsterdam.
I’ll probably fail at putting it into words, but it was definitely one of the most overwhelming experiences of my life. Not “getting married” overwhelming, or “having a kid” overwhelming, but overwhelming in the sense that I was standing in the same place where people hid for 2 years in order to save their lives. Standing and walking around in the same place where this girl wrote in her diary, not knowing what would happen to her family, to her. I felt as if I had stepped back in history. To the period that is evident only in the books on holocoust now.
The secret annexe, the thick black curtains on the windows, the narrow staircase, the single toilet that was used by eight people. The flush that could be pulled only after 12 at night and before 8 in the morning, the hollywood stars on the walls, the hope of a young girl amidst the chaos outside. The pointers on the walls by Otto Frank depicting the growth in height of Margot and Anne, the gas stove, the cots, the attic window. As I walked through the rooms, touched the walls, slid the curtains, sat on her bed, the thought of that young girl was never far from me. It was as if she was whispering to me, " You are free, I was not."
- Birth Name: Annelies Marie Frank
- Birth Date: June 12, 1929
- Died:March 31, 1945
- July 6, 1942: Frank and family moved into hiding place, "Secret Annexe"
- August 4, 1944: Hiding spot found by the German Police
- March 1945: Died of typhus at age 15 while in a concentration camp
- AP: Anne Frank Saplings May be Planted in 10 US Cities (April 17, 2009)
- The concentration camp was liberated one month after her death
"I've reached the point where I hardly care whether I live or die. The world will keep on turning without me, and I can't do anything to change events anyway. I'll just let matters take their course and concentrate on studying and hope that everything will be all right in the end." - February 3, 1944
"It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart. It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more" - July 15, 1944
"You know what I do when I think I can't stand another minute cooped up? I think myself outside. You know the most wonderful part of thinking yourself outside. You can have it any way you like. You can have rows of roses and violets all blooming in the same season, isn't that wonderful!" July 15, 1944
"I don't think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains."