Anne Frank House: A Museum with a Story published by Anne Frank House
Back when I first read Anne Frank’s diary, I dreamed of visiting the house where she and her family and the others were in hiding. And I swore that when I first went overseas, that would be my destination. And then I wondered whether it ever would really happen.
A decade or two passed (or maybe three) and finally the opportunity presented itself. And I kept repeating to myself, “Lucky, lucky, lucky…” because really: how many of us get to actually realize a childhood dream?
And then I thought of how Anne’s childhood dream—of publishing her story—came true, but how it happened only after her much-too-young, much-too-terrible death. And then I felt that awful sick feeling that comes over me when it hits me that that was really real.
So when I visited the Anne Frank House recently, the experience was very real and also surreal.
And when I saw the swinging bookcase, I stopped in my tracks and blinked a whole bunch to keep from crying.
People, it’s an emotional experience to visit that place.
The good people at the Anne Frank House museum have put together a remarkable website that allows virtual visits.
But there’s nothing that really compares to being in that space. My God. Anne’s movie star pictures are still on the walls of her room, and one of the doorways still contains the marks the Franks made to record their daughters’ growth in height.
It’s devastatingly moving.
The museum’s book, Anne Frank House: A Museum with a Story,
is a wonderful companion. It provides photos of the spaces with the furniture in place, so you can get a sense of what it was like when the Frank family, Van Pels family, and Fritz Pfeffer lived there. (The rooms are now devoid of furniture.)
At the end of the book, there are pages about the fate of each of the occupants of the secret annex. And it was in this section that I struggled to keep it together.
A small book, but an important one.