Monday, September 15, 2008

My Town Monday - Anne Franks House Amsterdam.

On our recent trip to Amsterdam we decided to visit the home of Anne Frank.Beth had recently been studying her story at school and was very interested in it. I can remember reading all about her when I was at secondary school and I remember the story being quite a sad one. I had for the most part forgotten about the finer points.
When we arrived at the house, there was a big queue, curling all around the road . We joined the queue and debated if we would wait to go in. The Men decided that they wouldn't wait, but the rest of us decided to go for it!!
Otto Frank, Anne’s father was born on 12 May 1889, in Frankfurt’s Westend, a well-to-do neighbourhood.Otto Franks father was a banker, Otto attended high school, and briefly studied art at the University of Heideleberg. Via a friend he was then offered and accepted a job from 1908 to 1909 at Macy’s Department Store in New York, USA.

When his father died, Otto Frank returned to Germany and worked for a metal engineering company in Dusseldorf until 1914. During WW-1 he and his two brothers served in the German Army, where Otto attained the rank of lieutenant.After the war he worked in his father’s bank, but banks did not fare well at that time, however whilst working in the bank he became acquainted with Edith Hollander, the daughter of a local manufacturer.

Born in 1900, she grew up in Aachen, Otto and Edith married in 1925 and settled in Frankfurt, they then have two daughters, Margot born in 1926 and Annelies (more commonly known as Anne), Marie born on 12 June 1929.

In 1933 after Hitler seizes power and anti- Jewish measures are introduced, Otto Frank leaves Frankfurt for Amsterdam. He starts a branch of the German Opteka Company there, and soon Edith, Margot and Anne joined him in Holland.

The Frank family moves into a house on Merwedeplein in the southern part of the city. Anne and Margot attend the nearby Montessori school. They are popular and make lots of friends, as do their parents with other Jewish refugees who settle in the same neighbourhood.
However, the German invasion of Holland on 10 May 1940 soon shatters this carefree life for the population of Holland.
During 1941 the Nazis increased the number of anti-Jewish, and the Franks started to prepare for going into hiding. Thanks to the cooperation of his staff – Miep Gies, Jo Kleiman, Viktor Kugler and Bep Voskuijl, Otto Frank was able to secretly prepare a hiding place for his family, the Van Pels family and others. Mr Van Pels worked at Otto Frank’s company.
On 12 June 1942 Anne celebrated her thirteenth birthday and her parents give her a present of a diary, in her diary she wrote about everything she experienced and felt.

On 5 July 1942 Margot Frank received the dreaded call to report to a labour camp, the next day the Frank family moved into the “Secret Annex,” on 263 Prinsengracht.

On 6 July 1942 Anne was awakened at five-thirty in the morning by her mother, the family dressed in thick layers of clothing. Miep Gies took Margot on a bicycle to the hiding place.

At seven-thirty in the morning the rest of the family went on foot to the “Secret Annex” located behind Otto Frank’s company. One week later Mr and Mrs Van Pels and their son Peter joined the Frank’s in hiding.
These people stayed in hiding in the secret annex of the house for the next two years until their location was betrayed and they were taken to the infamous prisoner of war camp Auschwitz.
In March 1945 5 weeks before liberation Anne died from Typhus in the camp, her mother and sister had died previously. Otto Frank survived and went on to have Anne's diary published.
Our visit was quite emotional, we actually walked up the stairs and through the door into the secret annex, we saw Anne's pictures on the wall and we saw where her father had plotted their growth on the door frame. We wandered through the house and looked out at the canals and looked at the artifacts, it was so sad to think that they stayed hidden for such a long time and died when liberation was just around the corner.


debra said...

Anne Frank was just a kid---like our daughters---and yet she has had such a lasting impact. Thanks, Lyzzydee.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Anne Frank spoke for millions and spoke to millions. May her words live forever in the conscience of all mankind.

Manna said...

Lyzzy, thanks for the story! It also has been a long time since I read her story. I'm sure it was very emotional for you ladies!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Going through that house was one of the most moving experiences of my house.

Travis Erwin said...

I'd love to experience that firsthand.

Maureen said...

very moving post Lyzzy! I know my daughter met the step daughter of Otto Frank on one of her trips to England during her high school years and so the story became one of great interest to her...this must have quite the experience ...tfs!

Reb said...

Wow, that must have been very interesting to go through the house. One of our tenants went to the same school a year ahead of Anne Frank.

Debbielou said...

Made a real impact on us all - Georgie is now reading the book x