Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Most Famous Two-Year Diary in the World?

The main reason for this Dutch stop-over was A’s love of two books - The Fault In Our Stars by John Green and The Diary of Anne Frank. The former is largely set in the States, but there’s a key bit which takes place in Amsterdam. So we spent today soaking up the wonderful townhouse architecture and canals… and queueing for three hours to get into the Anne Frank House.
The impact of these half-a-dozen ‘hidden’ rooms at the top of an inauspicious townhouse, and the diary that the teenage Anne wrote in them from 1942 until 1944, has been nothing less than extraordinary. I learned a few new things: that Anne was in fact German (the family had moved to Holland to escape persecution), that she shared her room with a much older man and that the diary was actually supposed to be for autographs. Of course, the hiding place’s eventual discovery in the summer of 1944, the death of seven of the eight inhabitants in various concentration camps after that (her father, Otto, was the only survivor) and the publication of the diary in 1947 has turned her story into the international phenomenon that it is now. Was it worth the queue? Just about.  
A is the same age (13) as when Anne Frank started her diary. I also just found out that when Liz's mum was 13, she had a Dutch pen-friend during the war. Strange to think that the two of them were writing letters to each other while another girl was writing - to herself - under very different circumstances...

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