The Anne Frank House is a writer’s house and biographical museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. The building is located on Prinsengracht canal close to Westermarkt in central Amsterdam.
During World War II, Anne Frank hid from Nazi persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms known as the ‘Secret Annex’ at the rear of this 17th-century canal house. She did not survive the war but her wartime diary was published in 1947. Every year millions line up and wait to get a feel of this immensely talented young writer and understand her thoughts that she penned down in her Anne Frank Diaries.
Almost two months before our actual visit in summer last year, I had written to Ms.Annemarie Bekker of Museum Communications, Anne Frank House and expressed my interest in visiting and writing about the museum, as both me and my wife have always been great admirers of Anne Frank.
My heartfelt thanks to her for extending press privileges to our travel blog “Travel with passion” and me personally and also helping us with official “Anne Frank House” photographs so that we could focus more on feeling the place, rather than clicking photographs.
We were staying in this nice Overtoom neighborhood in Central Amsterdam which was close to almost all landmarks. The hotel itself was nice and cozy but tested a little bit of our fitness. Hotel Abba, Overtoom 118-122, Amsterdam.
We went down for breakfast early the next morning to make the best of the day plus the fact that we had three museums lined up for the day. The second one post lunch at 2 PM was Anne Frank House.
One minute and one stop to Kinkerstraat by tram 3 and then a six minute ride by tram 17 and we were there at Westermarkt. Anne Frank House is just a short walk and 200 metres away. The wait in the queue was not too long as all visitors are allotted a time slot which makes the entry process very smooth.
We were soon in with Anne Frank. Many of us would have heard of her and probably know a bit about her and her diary. But when you wish to go deeper into the life of this sweet little girl with immense potential as a writer – her birth, her early life, her growing up years, what made her take to writing, her diary and probably many more questions would arise in our mind.
Let’s have a look at some of them and their answers before we experience it all. Courtesy Anne Frank House.
Anne Frank was born on 12 June 1929 to Otto and Edith Frank and they lived in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. She had an elder sister Margot. In 1933 after Hitler came to power, the Frank family emigrated to Amsterdam in the Netherlands where her father Otto set up his business.
On 6 July 1942 Anne and her family went into hiding in the Secret Annex to escape from the Nazis. On 4 August 1944 they are arrested and sent to concentration camps. In February 1945 Anne died in Bergen-Belsen camp. Only Otto Frank survived the Holocaust.
Anne and her early memories
Anne Frank Video Diary
Anne Frank video diary follows Anne Frank from 29 March 1944 onwards. She is 14 years old and has been living in hiding for over a year and a half, together with her parents Otto and Edith, sister Margot, Auguste and Hermann van Pels, their son Peter, and Fritz Pfeffer. Anne films herself and the events in the Secret Annex, looks back on the time before they went into hiding, talks about the war, and shares her deepest thoughts and feelings. The video diary ends on 4 August 1944, when Anne and the seven other people from the Secret Annex, as well as two of their non-Jewish helpers, are arrested.
The Franks and the Van Pels survival in the Secret Annex completely depended upon their helpers, who were all close colleagues and office staff of Otto Frank. These people brought them food, supplies and news of the outside world.
The Anne Frank Diary
On 12 June 1942, Anne was given a diary for her thirteenth birthday. It was something she really wanted. Her parents let her to pick one out herself in a bookshop.
On her birthday, Anne only wrote that she hoped that she would be able to entrust everything to her diary and that it would be a great support. The actual writing started two days after her birthday, on 14 June 1942. Anne wrote in Dutch. On occasion, she used German or English words.
The complete works of Anne Frank
When reading about ‘The diary of Anne Frank’, most people assume that a single diary is all there is. But in reality, Anne’s work comprises much more.
What did she write?
Tales – Anne wrote 34 tales. About her schooldays, things that happened in the Secret Annex, or fairy tales she invented herself.
The Book of Beautiful Sentences – These were not her own texts, but sentences and passages she copied from books she read in the hiding place. Her father inspired her to do so.
Cady’s Life – This is the title of the novel Anne attempted to write. She quit after a few chapters.
Het Achterhuis (The Secret Annex) – This was the title Anne had in mind for a book about her time in the Secret Annex. She used the texts of her diary as a basis. We therefore have two versions of some of the diary letters: Anne’s original diary letter and her rewritten version.
The first edition of Het Achterhuis (The Secret Annex) was published in June 1947 after the war, when Otto Frank fulfilled her wish. Since then, Anne Frank’s diary has been translated into more than 70 languages.
What did the Secret Annex look like?
Anne considered Sunday the most miserable day of the week. In her own words, ‘I wander from one room to the next, down the stairs and back up again and feel like a songbird that has had its wings torn off and flies against the bars of its cage in total darkness. “Outside, fresh air and laughter,” a voice inside me screams; I don’t even try to answer anymore, I lie down on a divan and sleep in order to shorten the time, the silence, the terrible fear too, because there is no question of killing them.’
It’s time for the journey
Anne Frank. This sweet little girl and a talented writer touched our heart. Visit Anne Frank House to feel her presence whenever you are in Amsterdam next time.