Netherlands // Amsterdam //

The Anne Frank Huis

In 1957, the Anne Frank Foundation set up the Anne Frank Huis in the premises on Prinsengracht where the young diarist and her family were in hiding for two years. Since the posthumous publication of her diaries, Anne Frank has become extraordinarily famous, in the first instance for recording the iniquities of the Holocaust, and latterly as a symbol of the fight against oppression in general and racism in particular.

Anne Frank’s diary was among the few things left behind in the annexe after the Gestapo raid. It was retrieved by one of the family’s Dutch helpers and handed to Anne’s father on his return from Auschwitz. In 1947, Otto decided to publish his daughter’s diary and, since its appearance, Anne’s Diary of a Young Girl has been translated into over sixty languages and sold millions of copies worldwide. The rooms the Franks lived in for two years have been left much the same as they were during the war, even down to the movie star pin-ups in Anne’s bedroom and the marks on the wall recording the children’s heights. Remarkably, despite the number of visitors, there is a real sense of intimacy here and only the coldest of hearts could fail to be moved. Apposite film clips on the family in particular and the Holocaust in general give the background. Anne Frank was only one of about 100,000 Dutch Jews who died during World War II, but this, her final home, provides one of the most enduring testaments to its horrors. Her diary has been a source of inspiration to many, including Nelson Mandela. Otto Frank died in 1980 at the age of ninety-one; the identity of the collaborator who betrayed his family has never been confirmed.

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