Anne Frank House – Amsterdam, Netherlands

A Precious Piece of History Preserved

With her moving diary translated into more than sixty languages, Anne Frank is one of the world’s most beloved teenagers, and her hiding place is one of Amsterdam’s most visited sites. As vivid as the world’s recollections of her concealment from the Nazis during WW II may be (who hasn’t read the book or seen the movie or the play?), a visit to the attic of this modest 1635 canal house is so powerful that it comes as a surprise to many.

Amsterdam has long harbored a cli­mate of tolerance, a fact that makes a reflective visit to the shelter all the more poignant.

After two years of living with her parents and the family of an employee of her father in cramped quarters in silence, unable to open a window for a breath of fresh air, the two fami­lies were turned in to the police and sent to concentration camps.

The fifteen-year-old Anne, together with 100,000 other Amsterdam Jews, never returned. Her father survived and was presented with the diary upon his return; it is on display downstairs as part of a perma­nent collection.

The swinging bookcase that hid the secret door to the attic is still there; so are the black-and-white pictures she clipped from movie magazines and pasted on her wall.

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