Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Anne Frank

I just returned from an amazing week spent in the Netherlands. It was part of a study abroad trip concentrating on housing & preservation issues in Holland, but don't worry I had plenty of fun too! We stayed in Amsterdam, but took many day trips outside of the city. I highly recommend a visit - I can't sing this place's praises enough!
On one of my two free days I visited the Anne Frank House {Oh, that line was long! We went back right before closing & had better luck}.

I have been a fan of her diary since I was younger; having re-read it a handful of times. The house itself was quite interesting from a museum studies/preservation standpoint {which I'm sure you're all thrilled to hear about!} - Otto Frank insisted that the house remain unfurnished {the Germans stole/sold off the contents of the house immediately after the inhabitants were arrested} & there are sections of it that have been altered in order to narrate the concentration camp segment of their journey {all metal & grommets, etc}.

I have always been captivated by Anne Frank's story mainly because she was such a normal, albeit eloquent, teenager, immensely relatable, with a shockingly sad ending. While reading her diary, without knowing the outcome & taking out the portions discussing the persecution of the Jewish people, you could almost forget that she & her family were in hiding. It is a powerful book that can initiate conversation on any number of topics - especially human rights & religious acceptance. If you have never read it, regardless of your age, I highly recommend giving it a try.

Annelies Marie Frank was born in Germany in 1929 & moved to Amsterdam in 1933. In 1942, Anne & her family, along with a few others, went into hiding in her father's office building on Prinsengracht {a canal street in Amsterdam}. Two years later, in 1944, they were betrayed by a still unknown source & were shipped off to various concentration camps. Anne & her sister Margot went to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where they died of typhus in 1945 {at only 16 years old}, just a short time before liberation.

Her father, Otto, was the only survivor of the Holocaust out of the group of people they went into hiding with. He returned in 1945, found his daughter's diary & had it published in 1947. It has been translated into a multitude of languages & has gone through many publications. In 1999, Time Magazine named Anne on of the heroes & icons of the 20th century. The Diary is truly an important work, for historical & literary reasons.

  • "And finally I twist my heart round again, so that the bad is on the outside and the good is on the inside, and keep on trying to find a way of becoming what I would so like to be, and could be, if there weren't any other people living in the world."
  • "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."
  • "If I read a book that impresses me, I have to take myself firmly by the hand, before I mix with other people; otherwise they would think my mind rather queer."
  • "Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart."


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