Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Anne Frank Huis: My Experience

The Secret Annex
In my last post, I told you all about my trip to Amsterdam. We all know that the city is famous for its liberal way of life, blooming tulips, winding canals, and so on. But there is something else that I did not speak about in my last blog post because what I have to talk about is far more significant than anything else I did on my vacation, and I felt that it would be inappropriate to include it alongside my details of the Red Light District and coffee shops. There is something much deeper and darker that looms within the city that cannot be missed when visiting Amsterdam. What I want to talk about is my experience inside the Anne Frank House.
The Diary of Anne Frank was my first formal introduction to the Holocaust. It was a ritual for my mother to read to my older sister and I before bed, and one night, she came into the room holding a small, yet thick burgundy coloured book. It was Anne’s story.
It was then that I learned the horrors of Nazi Germany and the evils of humankind. I am fortunate to have been raised in a generation where Holocaust survivors are still alive and possess a memory
Anne Frank
vivid enough to share their stories. But by the time I have children who are old enough to understand the Holocaust, there will be no survivors left to speak with them. I am thankful to have had this experience on more than one occasion.
This is why novels like Night by Elie Wisel, Man’s Search For Meaning by Victor Frankl and The Diary of Anne Frank are so important. These books have and will continue to educate the world on one of the most horrendous crimes of our time.
The Anne Frank House, also known as The Annex House, looks like an ordinary house, aside from the line of tourists that stretch outside. Inside, photos are strictly forbidden, because the flash could disturb those in the house experiencing a moment of silence and damage the fragile photographs and scribes of paper. Visiting the house was the most powerful moment in my life, and one that I will share with my children not through photos, but through memory. I met up with my Dutch friend Sanne (who I wrote about in my previous post),
The bookshelf that covered their secret.
and even though we were together, there was hardly anything that either of us could say. It was mostly silent through the house except for the creaking of the floorboards beneath our feet and the occasional comments from tourists. The most meaningful thing anyone said that I overheard was, "Why?" A simple question, but one that we all want to know the answer to. 
The museum begins with a short film on the Anne, and then a tour of the house itself. There are no guides due to the size of the building, and like I said earlier, it is best to keep quiet while inside.
The house itself was larger than I imagined, yet at the same time, smaller when I thought about the amount of people being hid inside. There was something so strange about being in a place
that I had read about and studied years prior to actually visiting. It was so special to me and something I will carry with me forever. No description will do justice to how a person feels upon standing in the actual bedroom that Anne had called "home" for two years.
For those of you who don't know, The Diary of Anne Frank is a nonfiction account of a young girl whose childhood, and ultimately life, is robbed by Nazi Germany. Her diary documents her feelings of anger and questions towards World War II, and throughout the course of the diary, we see Anne transform from a disoriented girl to a mature and brave young woman. Unfortunately, someone exposes the Frank’s secret in their hiding where they are then exiled to Auschwitz, the largest concentration camp during the war located in southern Poland. It was here that everyone in the Frank family dies, except for Anne’s father, Otto, who first published the novel in 1947. It is still unknown as to who exposed their secret, and will most likely remain a mystery until the end of time.
Visiting the Annex house allows its visitors to gain a true sense of Anne’s story, and the 6 million Jews who had their families, lives and voices taken away out of simple discrimination. The house of Anne Frank reminds its visitors of the importance of remembrance, and that no matter how tragic some events in history were, it is essential to carry on their lessons. It was, and will probably remain, the most powerful moment in my life. Anne's dream was to become a famous author, and her wish came true thanks to the survival of her father. It is now our responsibility to carry on her story and reflect on the importance of remembrance.
For more information on the Anne Frank house, please visit the museum's website below:

No comments:

Post a Comment