Anne Frank House
"What is done cannot be undone, but one can prevent it happening again."
- Anne Frank
We visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam today, the house where she and other family members hid for over two years and where she wrote her diary and also worked on her short stories.
It is a difficult journey to walk through that space, to walk up all the tall, steep steps that they walked, to go behind the bookcase that disguised the entrance, and to stand in the place where they all lived. It would be such a different feeling if the story had a happy ending and they all survived, but it is a solemn place to witness.
I felt a sense of grief the entire time we walked through the museum; the sadness was so intense that I felt like I was going to throw up. As I walked up the steep, worn staircase, I thought about those who walked those same stairs, the ones who were hiding and the ones who brought them food and supplies. I also thought of that horrible day when they were discovered and taken down that staircase by force. How terrifying it must have been. After all that time of living so carefully and quietly, in fear, and without daylight, to then be found and taken away. The sickness I felt in my stomach grew worse, and I felt like everyone walking through that house today was thinking the same thing...will the history written on these walls repeat itself in the events unfolding in America right now.
I find myself wondering far too often if humanity will ever learn, and if people will stop hating, judging, and thinking that any one person is better than or less than another person. Will a day ever come when all people will show love and compassion and acceptance to one another? Can that day please be now? Can that day please last forever?
On a lighter note, the Anne Frank House must hold some kind of magic because of all the many places we've been; today was the most polite behavior we've ever seen from tourists. People were not rushing through the exhibits, and every single person walked all the way through in complete silence. No one asked us to be silent, and there were no signs, it was simply the appropriate response to such a place, but in so many other places we've been people seem oblivious to appropriate responses. And, believe it or not, miraculously, not one person raised their cell phone to take a photo or selfie. Everyone respected the 'no photos' request, even though there was no security personnel to enforce it. That was also a refreshing first from what we've seen in our travels.