Anne Frank House: A tiny monument of resistance
The Anne Frank House is an essential site. But unless you plan far ahead, it's difficult to get tickets
For almost exactly two years, from July 1942 until they were betrayed in August 1944, Anne Frank and her family hid from the terror of Nazi occupation in a small annex in the back of the Amsterdam canal house that served as her father's business. The diary she kept during that time would become a famous and moving chronicle of life during the Holocaust. Anne's father, Otto, the only member of the family to survive the concentration camps, wanted the family's house to also serve as a testament - as both a warning about the past and a call to fight prejudice in the future. Today, about 1.2 million visitors a year snake solemnly through exhibits, past the original fake bookcase that hid the entrance to the secret annex, and up narrow, steep stairs to their tiny rooms.
Until recently, visitors would wait as long as four hours in lines that would wrap around the square adjoining the museum. Now, all tickets are sold online and visitors queue up 15 minutes before their entry time. But getting these tickets requires planning. Eighty percent of tickets are posted online at noon Amsterdam time exactly two months in advance of a date and usually sell out quickly. Another 20 percent of tickets are held back for online release at 9 a.m. Amsterdam time on that date. Travel websites suggest having several devices ready to snag tickets at noon Amsterdam time for the day you hope to visit.
Location: Prinsengracht 263, Amsterdam. Annefrank.org.
Holland's story of resistance
The Dutch Resistance Museum teaches more about this era and has an interesting connection to Anne
There is just one Anne Frank house. But if you are unsuccessful in getting tickets, or want to know more about the Dutch Resistance, there is another possibility to consider on the other side of Amsterdam.
The Dutch Resistance Museum (Verzetsmuseum), which opened in 1984, is filled with the stories and memorabilia of people who hid Jews or fellow resisters, organised strikes to protest the treatment of Jews and published illegal newspapers or fake IDs. It became so popular that in 1997 it moved into a larger space in a former Jewish cultural center just outside the old Jewish Quarter. About 100,000 visitors tour the museum each year.
The museum is organised along a timeline, from the months following the May 1940 invasion when things were relatively quiet, through the period when restrictions were placed on Jews' daily activities and they began receiving orders to report for evacuation, to the period when resisters became most active. Visitors can step off the timeline to examine artifacts such as the yellow felt Stars of David that Jews were compelled to wear, solidarity pins that resisters hid under their sweaters, underground resistance newspapers and "farewell cards" - messages tossed by desperate Jews as they boarded the cattle cars that would take them to the camps.
A junior section provides the viewpoints of four teenagers: Eva Geiringer, a Jewish girl who was friendly with Anne Frank, and three non-Jews, including one whose parents were members of the Dutch Nazi party. The Jewish girl's small hiding place, which she shared with her mother, is recreated as one of the exhibits. Most interesting is a swinging section of tile wall in the bathroom, behind which Eva and her mother successfully hid during a Nazi raid. Eventually, they were sent to Auschwitz, but they survived. After the war, Eva's mother and Anne's father would marry.
Location: Plantage Kerklaan 61, Amsterdam. Dutchresistancemuseum.org.