One of the most memorable things to do in Amsterdam is to visit Anne Frank House. Tragically, only 5000 of the 107,000 Jewish children and adults who were sent to detention camps in the Netherlands during World War II survived.
Entering the Secret Annexe, where the young girl and her family desperately fled the Nazis for more than two years before being apprehended, brings the Holocaust's atrocities into a sharply human perspective and directly personalizes the war's disastrous effects. It is impossible to forget seeing the diary Anne kept while hiding here while standing in these gloomy, empty rooms.
Having been born in Germany in 1929, Anne Frank escaped the country in 1933 along with her sister Margot, her parents Edith and Otto, and their other family members. Otto Frank founded businesses selling pectin, pork, and sausage flavoring in warehouses and offices on Amsterdam's Prinsengracht canal after the family arrived there.
Following Germany's takeover of the Netherlands in 1940, Otto and his coworker Hermann van Pels established a hiding spot in a Secret Annexe of Otto's workplace in the spring of 1942 with the assistance of helpers who would deliver essential supplies throughout their stay. In June of that year, Anne received her red plaid diary for her 13th birthday. When Margot was ordered to go to Nazi Germany in July, the family sought safety in the hiding place.
The lower levels of the modern shell that now houses the house combine interactive technology to portray history, such as WWII newsreels with narration from Anne's journal. You can see personal belongings and documents on display in the offices of Otto Frank's business partner and other collaborators who assisted the hiders.
A stark contrast is created by passing the bookcase that opens on hinges and entering the 'Secret Annexe' of the rear house. Below the mezzanine and above the office area are two floors that have a 1942-like feeling. In her little bedroom, which she shared with Fritz Pfeffer, Anne still had photos of Hollywood celebrities and Dutch royals hanging on the walls. Families only ate lunch with their caregivers after the employees left for lunch because they were unable to use the restroom in the mornings without alerting the warehouse workers to their presence.
The annexe is empty at Otto's wish, but after the museum opened in 1960, he had models of the home created that depict the claustrophobic conditions of the meticulously hidden floorplan. After exploring the annex, you may see more eerie movies in the front house, where there are also artifacts like Anne's diary, which is kept by itself in a glass case.
Prinsengracht 263 - 267 museum entrance Westermarkt 20, 1016 DK Amsterdam The Netherlands