Everyone always comments on their claustrophobia in the Annex that Anne Frank and seven others lived in during the Holocaust. The challenge for me was trying to comprehend how someone could survive in such little light . I felt the darkness was symbolic of the dark times. I can’t imagine staying inside for 25 months.
Visiting the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam can be an emotional experience. So many are familiar with the story of the young girl growing up during the Holocaust. As I walked through the museum, I wished that the rooms could have been recreated to look like they did while she was there. It would have helped me understand the size, and how confined it would have felt. There is power in seeing the table where they would have had whispered conversations, or beds where they slept through fearful nights.
In the museum, you wind your way through each of the areas as you learn more about her life. You see photos of celebrities pasted on the wall. She wrote in her diary, “I have transformed the walls into one gigantic picture. This makes it look much more cheerful.”
Another hall leads you to a room with videos. I was impacted by an interview with a survivor. She was a friend of Anne’s on the other side of the fence. There was a moment in the interview where she reflected on whether or not Anne would have had the strength to survive if she had known that her dad had survived. Could the power of hope have saved her? I think it would be nearly impossible to survive in a world where all hope seems lost.
One image that struck me was of Otto Frank. The photo was taken after surviving the concentration camp. In this postcard you see Otto Frank with the weight of knowing he was the sole survivor of those that resided in this room for two years and one month. How troubling for a father. Mies Giep was a savior for the families during the war, and I think she was for Otto after the war.
If you are interested in visiting the museum, I highly recommend purchasing tickets ahead of time. Otherwise, you will be spending more time outside the museum than in. If you’d like information, please visit the official site.