One of the things I was determined to do in Europe was visit places I had learned about as a child and teen. I’ve always found the first and second World Wars compelling – interesting in a cautionary and sociologically worrying way. In Amsterdam, I visited the Anne Frank Museum, where the Franks hid for more than two years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, in WWII. After touring the house, I bought another copy of Anne’s diary. I can’t think of a more pertinent time to read it.
I was about Anne Frank’s age when I first read her diary. At that age, I don’t think I could fully appreciate its importance. Or perhaps I simply understand a lot more of the context now, 10 years later. Either way, reading the Diary was a powerful experience. During my travels, I also visited Dachau, a former concentration camp outside Munich, Germany. The amount of history, the depth of sorrow, and the continuing warning provided by stories like Anne’s, and places like Dachau, make them crucial.
It’s easy to forget, when reading this diary, about all the external horrors Anne and the Franks faced. I Don’t Wanna Be: