Once I finally got into the Anne Frank House, I knew that I was in for an emotional experience. You aren’t allowed to take photos in there and I have to say that I am very pleased that they requested that people do not take photos in there because it does distract others from what they are seeing in front of them. The house is set up in a very specific path that takes you through the front of the house where the business was held, up the stairs and through the book case into the back of the house where the Frank family spent their days in hiding and then up through each of the levels and then out the back of the house. Each room is decorated with excerpts from Anne Frank’s diary where she described the rooms or memories of each of the rooms or experiences she had there.
The house is actually empty minus a few things that are on display. It was requested that the house remain empty rather than recreating what the family had set up in this home but they did provide a to scale model version of the rooms and furniture so that a visitor can get a better idea of what it looked like.
There are also interviews with the friends who helped with the family and Otto Frank who was the only survivor of the Frank family that play throughout the various rooms.
Walking through this house is an experience and it is almost surreal but definitely heartbreaking. I spent most of the tour holding back my tears as we walked through each room, reading each quote, listening to each interview and seeing what the families went through. The idea that people had to live in hiding like that and having read Anne Frank’s Diary and seeing it in real life, I almost couldn’t handle the emotions as they took over. The book itself was hard to read but to me, sometimes reading something still gives the reader the ability to disconnect from what’s actually being read. But standing in those rooms and seeing the remnants of their lives still intact, it made everything very real. The blackout curtains that prevented any sort of natural light are still covering the windows. The pictures that Anne put up on the walls of her favorite movie stars are still on the walls.
I remember reading her diary and thinking that this book was amazing because it provided an insight into someone’s life in a very historical moment in history and now standing in that house, it was more than just real. It was heartbreaking. To know that families, not just the Frank family, but so many other people had to go through some version of this hiding really put things into perspective. It really was eye opening and made me think about how I need to be more appreciative of what I have and the experiences that I get. I can live my life as I please and pursue what I want to do without fear. I do not have to spend my life in hiding and disconnected from the outside world.
I wouldn’t have traded that experience for the world. I will never forget standing in that house and the emotions I felt as I walked through each room.
If you have a chance to go visit the Anne Frank House, I would highly recommend it.