Most young women will remember reading Anne Frank, the diary of a young girl, when we were in high school. It always struck me as so unfair, them being cooped up for so long, being caught after surviving for years, and then her dying a month before the concentration camp was liberated.
Visiting the house in Amsterdam was something I am glad I have done. It wasn’t as emotional or heartbreaking as I imagined it might be, but I think partially that’s because it is so busy, and not everyone is respectful, and the noise prevents you from getting lost in the experience.
The layout is tasteful; the original decorations were up in the rooms. Photographs show what the rooms look like when they are full, but they stand empty now, making room for the line of people to snake their way through.
After you leave the two floors where the eight people hid, and move into the rest of the museum, there is a presentation on what happened to them after they were caught, and a brief glimpse of Bergen-Belsen. Of the eight, Anne’s father, Otto Frank is the only one to survive.
The most poignant moment for me was the diary. Anne Frank’s diary is open, encased in protective glass and on display. When you read the book, you understand it is a diary, but it’s not until you see the pencil writing on the unlined pages, with the plaid cover, that it really hits home.
The museum is worth the visit.
On a cold winter night, we lined up for an hour in the wind to get into the museum. The understanding is that it closes at 7 p.m. with the last time you can get in at 6: 30 p.m. We made it through the door just before the cut off.
Turns out you can buy tickets online through the website to go in after 7 p.m. (and eliminate the wait).
Pro tip: check the website and book a specific time to go.