Holland is a small country, but it has so many great museums. I was there for almost two years and it wasn’t enough time for me to visit all of the museums that I wanted to see. One of the museums I didn’t got the chance to visit was the Anne Frank Museum, on Prinsengracht 267 Amsterdam. This is the location of the “secret annex”, the hiding place of Anne Frank and her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.
During the two years when she was in hiding, Anne Frank wrote a diary that later became the world-famous book, The Diary of a Young Girl. She received the diary as her birthday present, so she wrote the diary when she just turned 13. She kept writing regularly until she turned 15 and was forced to stop when they were arrested.
At such a young age, Anne Frank was really mature. I read her diary as an adult and I often find myself comparing my 13 year old self with her. I started writing a diary too when I was 12, but I’m pretty sure that my entries were mostly crap. I mean, at that age I don’t think I have Anne Frank’s ability to have a deep reflections about self. It’s obvious that she knew herself really well and she was able to identify her feelings clearly.
One thing that’s really appealing to me is the way she distinguished the “Outer Anne” and the “Inner Anne.” Outer Anne has a happy-go-lucky personality, always cheerful, has lots of friends and admirers, a very social person. On the contrary, the Inner Anne has the more serious side; quiet, thoughtful, melancholic, and more of a loner.
She identified more with the Inner Anne, a personality that often take over when she was alone. Unfortunately, most people only see the Outer Anne. I guess it’s easier for her to show them that side of her instead of the more complicated personality of Inner Anne. So despite of the large number of friends that she had before they went into hiding, she felt so lonely and longs to have a meaningful conversation with others. She believe that no one can really see her through and therefore conclude that she has no friends. It was only to her diary that she was able to confide all of her feelings. Wow, I must say that I can really relate to this, Anne!
It is also so enjoyable to read her view about God and her progressive opinion in regards to sexuality as well as gender. She wanted to be a writer and to do something meaningful.
“I need to have something besides a husband and children to devote myself to… I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even to those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death.” ~ Anne Frank
Oh Anne, your dreams came true after all. You are still with us thanks for the gift of your diary. May all in the world and for generations to come always learn and be inspired by your voice of truth and beauty.
Do you want to keep Anne’s ideals alive? Place your leaf on Anne Frank Tree, an interactive memorial to remember Anne Frank and the tree that brought enjoyment to her when she was in hiding. The original chestnut tree was 170 year old, and it fell down August 2010.
Photo from Annefrank.org