I have always wanted to write a piece about the Anne Frank House.
Anne Frank is one of the millions of victims of the Nazi prosecution of the Jews during the second world war. In 1933, when Hitler comes to power and establishes an anti-Jewish regime, the Jewish Frank family went into hiding at 263 Prinsengracht in Amsterdam i.e. the ‘Anne Frank House’, also referred to as the Secret Annexe in Anne Frank’s diary.
“One day this terrible war will be over. The time will come when we’ll be people again and not just Jews!” This is an excerpt from Anne’s famous diary which is now one of the world’s best-selling books.
A visit to the Secret Annexe in Amsterdam was heartbreaking. I saw the depressing living conditions of the family in hiding – an extremely dark and claustrophobic house; the people in hiding have to stay indoors 24 hours a day. The curtains are always kept closed. And as described in Anne’s diary: “During the day our curtains can’t be opened, not even an inch.”
I started reading Anne Frank’s Diary after the visit, and I’m very inspired by her talent to express her feelings so articulately through writing. I also admire her character and confidence in standing up for her own opinions. Mind you, she was only 14. Particularly reflecting this in a Malaysian/Chinese context, the culture of fear to stand up for something. The fear of being judged as being disrespectful for ‘talking back’, and it’s such a taboo especially to your parents. Nonsense. I don’t agree with this style of upbringing. All kids learn is to shut up, and poor child would never have the chance to learn a proper way to challenge ideas and channel their thoughts – a vital skill to survive in the modern world.
In the museum, there were exhibits depicting the harrowing faith of Jews under Hitler’s anti-Jewish regime. Photos are not allowed, and according to a sign, this is because the visit may be an emotional one for some visitors.
The queue to get in was almost 2 hours, and it’s all worth it. It has opened up my mind, learned a bit of history and has given me lifelong inspirations.