Anne Frank House Amsterdam THE MEMORIAL FOR ANNE FRANK
Everyone knows the story of young Anne Frank, making her one of the most well-known victims of the Nazi regime. Her diary is an eyewitness account that has enthralled readers for generations. The Anne Frank House is a museum and memorial site in Amsterdam, where you are invited to step inside the Secret Annex where the Frank family spent the last two years of their life in hiding.
This is a truly emotional experience. You will have the chance to learn a lot about the Jewish community in Amsterdam and look around the rooms in which Anne and her family hid.
There are many steep steps, so the museum is not suitable for people in wheelchairs or with walking difficulties. Prams and pushchairs cannot be taken inside. It is also really hard to actually get hold of tickets.
You have to book them two months before you want to visit. Keep reading for my top ticket tips...
EUR 1 for ICOM members, reservation of tickets is necessary!
EUR 1 for ICOM members, reservation of tickets is necessary!
Anne Frank House Photo Gallery
How to book anne frank house tickets?
It should come as no surprise that the Anne Frank House is one of the most popular places to visit in Amsterdam. No doubt you can imagine the crowds just waiting to descend upon the little house. But the museum has to do everything in its power to respect the family and make sure that the site is treated as a place of remembrance and reflection.
And that’s why you need to book tickets two whole months before you want to visit the Anne Frank House. Basically, if you’re planning a May trip to Amsterdam, you’ll have to get your tickets sorted in March!
But there’s no need to panic… Every morning, they do release some tickets for the same day, but you have to be quick.
1 hinged bookcase holding files. The door between the outside world and the Frank family’s hiding place. A simple item of furniture was the difference between life and death for so long. Until someone betrayed the Frank family and they were found and taken away on 4 August 1944.
2 years of hiding in a space spanning just a few square metres. During this time, helpers protected the family, delivering them supplies and feeding them information.
3 families living together in hiding. The Franks: Otto Frank, the father. Edith Frank, the mother. And Anne Frank and her big sister Margot Frank. They stayed in the Secret Annex with Hermann and Auguste van Pels, their son Peter, and Fritz Pfeffer, who shared a room with Anne. Victor Kugler, Johannes Kleinman, Johan and Bep Voskuijl and Miep and Jan Gies were the six loyal helpers who took a huge risk. But as Otto Frank’s employees, they wanted to do all they could.
Silence. Silence prevailed in the Secret Annex. Many employees were still working for Opekta, a company that produced and sold gelling agents, so the family had to stay extremely quiet. They couldn’t walk around, cough, run water or even go to the toilet. Most of us will never be able to imagine what it’s like to not be able to make the slightest sound for fear of being found. And the Frank family had to live with that fear for two whole years.
What did the family do during those hours and hours of silence? Otto Frank revealed that he spent his time reading books. And what about Anne? She famously wrote in the diary she had been given for her 13th birthday on 14 June 1942. In it, she penned letters to her imaginary friend Kitty. When she heard an announcement on the radio encouraging people to keep diaries as historical records that could be studied after the war, Anne became determined to have her diary published. She rewrote parts of it and called her new book ‘The Secret Annex’. Sadly, she never got to finish it. And she didn’t live to see her diary become a best-selling book and world-famous account of this period of history. Luckily, her father Otto survived the Holocaust and made sure that Anne’s story was told.
FRANK FAMILY HISTORY
I would have to say that Anne’s fateful story centres around her father Otto. He was born in 1889 in Frankfurt am Main (making him from the state of Hesse, like me). Having been born to a well-to-do family, a lot of doors were open to him. He studied art history for a while, before taking on traineeships at various banks and even Macy’s in New York. Following his father’s death and his own enlistment during the First World War (during which time he was awarded the Iron Cross), Otto started working at the family bank.
He married Edith Frank-Holländer in 1925 and his first daughter, Margot, was born in 1926. Anne came along in 1929. The family lived in Frankfurt am Main until the Nazis seized power in 1933. In 1934, Otto made the decision to move his family to the Netherlands, which was considered to be much safer at the time. He was asked to set up a Dutch subsidiary of Opekta, which was based at Prinsengracht 263 in a building that would come to be famous all around the world.
In 1940, the German army invaded the Netherlands and Otto Frank tried to emigrate to the USA with his family. But it was too late. And so he decided to build the Secret Annex onto his business premises so the Frank family would have somewhere to hide. They moved in with another four people on 6 July 1942.
They stayed in hiding until 4 August 1944, when the Gestapo raided the Secret Annex, acting on an anonymous tip. We still don’t know who betrayed the Frank family to this day. Everyone who had been hiding was interrogated and taken to the Westerbork transit camp. From there, they were transported to Auschwitz.
The family and the others who had shared their hiding place ended up suffering the same fate as so many other Jewish people. Eyewitness reports provided by survivors made it possible to trace the movements of the Frank family with almost perfect precision.
The entire van Pels family died between 1944 and 1945, and Fritz Pfeffer (who was born in Gießen like me) died in 1944 too.
Anne’s mother Edith died of hunger and exhaustion in January 1945. Both her and her daughters Anne and Margot were worked hard at the Auschwitz-Birkenau women’s camp and crammed into cold and crowded sleeping quarters. No doubt her daughters being moved to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on 28 October was the final straw. She must have been so worried about her children.
In January 1945, Anne and Margot were moved to a recovery camp – the “Star Camp”. Eyewitnesses report that Anne was emaciated and wearing only a blanket. She was suffering from a lice infestation. And yet she remained strong and seemed to be focusing on taking care of her sister Margot. “She was no more than a skeleton by then. She was wrapped in a blanket; she couldn’t bear to wear her clothes anymore because they were crawling with lice.” (Erika Prins, Gertjan Broek: One day they simply weren’t there any more… (PDF) Anne Frank Stichting, March 2015, accessed on 31 March 2015)
In March 1945, there was an outbreak of typhus that killed 17,000 prisoners. Anne and Margot were among them. Margot died first, followed by Anne just a few days later. Some sources do estimate that this happened a little earlier, probably in the February.
Otto Frank was the only member of the family to survive the Holocaust. He was granted his freedom when the Soviet Army liberated Auschwitz in January 1945. And it is likely that he only survived because the Nazis had left him behind in the sick barracks when they started to clear the camp in anticipation of the arrival of Soviet troops. Anyone who was able to walk was forced to leave with the Nazis. At this point, Otto weighed just 52 kilograms and was too weak to even put one foot in front of the other.
When he was strong enough, he set off on his journey home to the Netherlands. When he discovered that his wife Edith had died in Auschwitz, he pinned all his hopes on finding his daughters alive. Otto made it back to Amsterdam 10 months after his arrest and he was happy to find all the family’s helpers alive and well. But in July 1945 he was given the awful news that Anne and Margot had not made it out of the concentration camp. That was when Miep Gies gave him Anne’s diary.
By a stroke of luck, Bep Voskuijl, one of the other helpers, had managed to save the diary when the Gestapo raided the Secret Annex. Miep had then stumbled upon the pages when she returned to Prinsengracht and kept them safe for Anne. And so she handed them to Otto following the news of the young girl’s death. Encouraged by friends and family, Otto had the diary published. He went on to set up the Anne Frank Foundation in 1957 – to ensure that the house on Prinsengracht would be preserved – and the Anne Frank Fund in 1963. Otto died in Switzerland in 1980.