A Museum to Remember: Anne Frank House, Amsterdam

Originally written in www.PostcardsForYou.com
By Arnie Greenberg
rnultours@aol.com

You might walk right past it if you didn't know what it was. Maybe the long lines of people would make you ask what it is. But once you know, you\'ll be drawn to it as thousands of people have.

It's on a small street near a canal in downtown Amsterdam. It is a memorial to a young girl and her family who hid there during the war. It\'s the home of Anne Frank.

Here, at 263 Prinzengracht, in an annex of a canal house, the Frank family and friends lived in four tiny rooms. These Jews from Germany, now living in the Dutch city, hid from the Nazi invaders from 1942, when they were called to report for work in the camps, until they were betrayed and discovered.

In her tiny room with pictures of Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret as well as Deanna Durbin on her walls, the innocent young daughter of Otto Frank wrote her thoughts in a diary. Anne Frank was eventually arrested and, with her family, deported first to Auschwitz, then to Bergen-Belsen, where she died in 1945.

Did a cleaning lady or a business associate of betray her and the others? We may never know, but it's the story of hope that's important. It's the story of the Nazi's most famous victim, the story of a young girl whose faith and courage remain a lesson for us all.

Her diary, with 1,500 copies published by her father in 1947, immediately went on to become a world best seller translated into over 65 languages with more than 31 million copies sold.

By 1955 a stage play was written, and the world knew what had gone on in the mind of a young teenager doomed by the events around her. She had faced the threat of discovery every day in silence, without electricity, flush toilets, running water and adequate food and drink. Yet she wrote that she "still believed that people were truly good at heart."

One enters the space occupied by the Franks and Van Pels families through a door guarded by a bookcase on hinges.

We climb the steep stairs to a man-made prison for innocent souls. I invite you all to visit this famous site and museum. It is a non-profit and politically unaffiliated organization -- a place where a young girl lived in hiding. It started as "an exciting adventure". It ended with death for all but Otto, the girl's father.

While the original diary is on display and a statue greets visitors, the importance is the feeling one gets when witnessing the museum. We can read Anne's diary and try to understand what we cannot change.

If Otto Frank's message is to be heeded, we all have a responsibility to continue to fight prejudice. The original diary was saved during the war by one of the family\'s loyal helpers. Thanks to Miep Gies, the story could be told. This story is, for many, an extension of the story of the Holocaust.

Once Anne's plight was known, publishers, filmmakers, and theatre producers came forward to spread the word. Even Simon Weisenthal, the Nazi Hunter, aided in the arrest of the SS officer who had arrested the Frank family.

In the United States, there is a non-profit organization that promotes the message of tolerance by creating information and exhibitions. One can visit the Soho, New York, location or you can become a volunteer or intern.

It is a good way to help communities explore and challenge discrimination, intolerance and bias-related violence. It is an opportunity to bring understanding to the uninformed.

But the message is clear: The Anne Frank Museum and home in Amsterdam makes it so.

To contact the Amsterdam Anne Frank Museum, visit www.annefrank.nl

For more information, check Anne Frank on the web: there are over 1.3 million sites. But to get the essence of Anne\'s message, read The Diary of Anne Frank.