The Diary of Anne Frank is surely the world’s most famous journal. For two years, while hiding in the secret annex of an Amsterdam house, Anne shared on paper her fears, frustrations and dreams for the future. The Anne Frank House at Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam brings the diary to life and gives a human face to the Holocaust.
It is difficult to imagine a thirteen-year-old girl living in a secret annex on the Prinsengracht canal and being unable to go outside. But this was Anne Frank’s life. Together with her father Otto, mother Edith, sister Margo, the van Pels family and Fritz Pfeffer, she hid here for two years during the Second World War. Anne shared her bedroom with Fritz Pfeffer, a man whose company she did not always appreciate: Pfeffer was noisy at night and Anne could only use the small table in the bedroom when he was having his afternoon nap.
The annex has been restored to its original condition as far as possible. From the bedroom with its pictures of movie stars, dancers and art to the wall against the office where Anne would sometimes sneak a peek through the window to the outside, everything is virtually as it was, The size may be the most striking aspect of these spaces: It seems almost inconceivable that eight people could spend two years hiding in just 75 square metres. The clock tower of the Westerkerk church can be seen from the annex. When the carillon plays, Anne’s diary truly comes to life: She loved the sound of the chimes and regularly mentioned the church in her diary.
The original version of the world-famous diary is also kept in the Anne Frank House. The first entry is on 12 June 1942, the day of Anne’s thirteenth birthday, when she was given the diary as a gift. The last entry is dated 1 August 1944. Life in the secret annex came to a brutal end three days later, on 4 August. The fugitives were betrayed and all eight arrested and deported. Only Otto Frank survived the war. After receiving his daughter’s diary he decided to publish it. The journal remains the most translated Dutch book of all time, having been published in over seventy languages and sold more than thirty million copies.
Address: Prinsengracht 263, More information on: http://www.annefrank.org/