Monday, September 27, 2010

Anne Frank House

When I mentioned to other SHAPians (yes that it the term for people associated with the base) that I was going to Amsterdam and Anne Frank's house, the most common reaction was - that is the only way you are going to get in!  This crowd of people is lined up to get into Anne Frank's house.  It wraps around the corner and extends for quite some way.

As we were part of a group tour, we didn't have to wait in this line and we had a bit of an orientation before joining the shuffling line through the house.

I had always wondered how one kept an entire house hidden from view.  Now I know.  Here is what one sees from the street.
I've cut off a bit of the roof and the ever present hook for raising and lowering things but that is it.  This is the warehouse frontage.

There is an entire house with two additional stories behind it.  From the street, from across the street, from around the block, it doesn't matter where you stand, you can not see the house behind it.

This is best seen by looking at a cut away picture of the warehouse and annex.

Those hiding in the annex occupied the attic and top two floors of the house.

In some ways the space seemed large - I think of hiding as being in a small space, smaller than a single room.  In other ways the space was very small.  The room Anne shared with Pfeffer (Dussell) could have barely held two beds.

As we shuffled through the rooms we could see the pencil marks Otto Frank made measuring the height of the children and Anne's pictures of movie stars.  The windows were covered with blackout curtains.  We got a sense of the space and the atmosphere.  What none of us knew and hopefully will never know is the sense of fear that the occupants of the annex lived with day in and day out.

Anne's diary has been translated into many languages and read by millions and in many places in our world people are free from this kind of oppression and persecution.  But there are still some places where people are in hiding because of their race or religion.  There is still work to be done...

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