Friday, October 23, 2009

AMSTERDAM: The Anne Frank House

"Moving" is an adjective that barely does this historic site justice.

As you likely know, Anne Frank was a young Jewish girl who, with her family and members of the van Pels family, hid in several secret rooms above her father's jam factory in an attempt to avoid persecution from the Nazis in World War II.

The facade of the building has been modernized since the early 1940s (a tragedy, in my estimation) but the interior has been kept much as it was. The several rooms that made up the hiding place have been emptied of their furniture at the request of Otto Frank, Anne's father, but there are many pictures as well as scale models, so one can get a sense of the claustrophobic conditions within.

Line outside Anne Frank House
Tours of the Anne Frankhuis are self-guided, so a broad overview can be obtained in a fairly brief visit. However, there are sufficient details in a variety of exhibits to hold a visitor's attention for quite a bit longer.

Two of my fellow travelers said they'd spent an hour and a half inside reading the details,taking in the atmosphere, and viewing Anne's original diary, which is on display.

Photography is not permitted but there are many postcards in the gift shop, so you can leave your camera... but bring tissues or a handkerchief; you may need them.

To say it is a very popular attraction is something of an understatement. When I arrived at 11:00 a.m. on a Friday morning, the line was well over a block long. Fortunately, I had purchased a ticket on-line (which I highly recommend) and was able to walk directly in.

It is indeed sobering, but a "must see" for any visitor to Amsterdam old enough to be familiar with the history of World War II, Anne Frank, and her story.

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Photo by Carl Dombek
Click on photo to view larger image

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