The best part about living in England is how close I am to so many incredible places. On the top of my list of places I absolutely need to go is Amsterdam. Lucky me, I did it! Last weekend I had the most amazing three days in the land of tulips, Heineken and pancakes.
The trip started with the Anne Frank House and stuck with me to this day, a week later, writing this. The first time I read Anne Frank’s Diary I was in middle school. I remember being so impressed at the fact that a 14-year-old girl could write the way she did. I also remember thinking I wanted to be able to do the same.
At 9AM my friend Maddie and I shuffled our way into the big black building that houses the Anne Frank Museum. To say that this place was well put together is an understatement. You receive a device at the door that spews information and stories into your ear and in each room there’s a different number to match the audio.
All of the rooms are chock-full of important details about Anne’s time in the house and throughout life. You get to journey all the way to the top floor; the annex.
Being able to walk where she and her family did, in hiding for so long, gave a feeling that left me speechless. It felt like I was in the history. I pictured writing in my journal alongside Anne. I pictured hanging up posters on my walls as she did to make her room feel more warm.
Something I couldn’t picture, though, was being in her exact situation, as no one can. To think that 14-year-old Anne had such deep thoughts and was able to portray those thoughts into words is impressive and horrifying at the same time.
A quote on the wall of the museum that stuck with me read, “I’ll make my voice heard, I’ll go out into the world and work for mankind!”
Reading something like this and knowing her situation is heartbreaking. With over 6 million people murdered in the holocaust, I can’t help but imagine what the world would be like had those people had a second chance at life.
Would one of those people go on to become a major political leader? Would one of those people go on to start a movement that changed the world? Would one of those people go on to become the scientist who cures cancer?
There are so many questions. So many wonders.
Out of those who survived, though, many did go on to tell their stories. Whether it be through a book, an interview, or simply word-of-mouth.
It’s important to educate yourself and remember times like these. Talking to people around me, I realize I might’ve gotten a much more extensive education on the holocaust. Being Jewish, I attended Hebrew school where we learned about the holocaust in it’s entirety.
While thinking back to what I learned about it in my public schools, I found myself slightly concerned. I don’t remember learning about this horrific event for more than maybe a few days in my 13 years of school. This puzzling realization led me to believe this isn’t a topic that’s prioritized very highly in generic educational settings.
The only way to avoid something like this happening again is through education. If people know what really happened and how incredibly wrong it was, I believe it can’t happen again.
The Anne Frank House was a thought-provoking experience. Walking through the halls and up the stairs that the Franks and friends walked got me thinking about my life and humanity as a whole.
It’s unsettling to think about but we have the power to make something like the holocaust happen again. But we also have the power to make sure something like the holocaust never happens again.
As displayed on the wall at the end of the tour, Emma Thompson beautifully said, “All her would-haves are our opportunities.” Everything she aspired to be, to do, to see, to live should and will be done through us. Humanity can be horrific at times but stay positive and I hope we make Anne proud.