Monday, July 20, 2009
The tragedy of World War 2 and Anne Frank...
Day two in Amsterdam has been just as exciting as day one. We started the day in anticipation of the upcoming concert and have spent most of the day relaxing. The two highlights so far have been the Anne Frank Huis (home in Flemish ) and our Italian meal at a local cafe. The Anne Frank story is familiar to anyone who has been through middle school in the US. It pertains to a little girl who lived in Amsterdam during the Second World War, during which Jews were heavily tormented by the actions of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi’s. I have always wondered what it would be like to travel into the home and actually walk through the home where she and seven other people lay hidden for over two years. Her story is even more dramatic based on the fact that they were discovered and she was killed in the concentration camp at Bergen Belsen. When we arrived at the site, I was told that the wait would be considerable. Everyone was hungry, but being determined as I was to see this historic venue, I decided to wait and allow everyone else to venture off to find food.
Fast forward to what is likely to be the most solemn experience of the rally: Walking through the warehouse and realizing the size were very eye opening. The ‘home’ was actually a business warehouse where Mr. Frank, Anne’s father, conducting his business. When the Nazi invasion took place, he was forced to sign over ownership, as Jews were not allowed to own any private property including businesses. When families began being taken away, he decided to convert the upper three floors of the building into a makeshift apartment in order to hide from the Nazi’s. It was interesting that a bookcase was constructed in front of the entrance. The reason I found this interesting was because the only way they would ever be found would have been from betrayal, hence someone tipped off the Nazi’s, but no one knows who to this day who it was. I will suffice it to say that I was not able to think of anything else but the sure tragedy of the holocaust and what it represents. I recently learned that over 20 million Russians died in defense of their country during World War 2, on top of the 9+ million Jews that were eradicated as well. I realize this is a very sensitive subject and I will tread lightly here, but I am very moved to see and feel this type of location that brings such a massacre/tragedy to reality. The two great eye openers in the museum are the actual diary Anne kept during here incarceration and the stickers she placed on the walls in order to make here 8 x 8 room she shared with a man more cheerful. Both are still on site and are encased in glass. I cannot fathom the amount of sorrow felt by the families of these many victims and I will always be grateful that I live in a nation where such actions are not tolerated!
Well I am running out of time and need to get to the U2 concert on the right night this time, so I will update this again as soon as I am able!