I got really excited writing the end of my last post, where I talked about my trip to Europe coming up in September. In less than two months, I will be on the longest plane ride of my life, bound for European adventure with my sweetie. So this will be part one in a three-part series of history-related sites I can’t wait to see when we’re “over there.” (Hint: there will be one part for each country we’re visiting.)
For our first country, the Netherlands, it’s all about World War II.
I can’t wait to see the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Yes, it’s heavily
visited, what some might call “touristy,” but there’s a reason why so many people visit this place. It’s the building, the very place, where Anne Frank, her sister and parents, their friends and their son, and a single dentist, went into hiding to escape Nazi persecution. Anne kept her famous diary during her two years hiding in a backhouse she called the “Secret Annex,” which was attached to her father’s business. The diary gave me images and real people to put with stories of the terror that swept through Europe, and I can’t wait to round out the experience.
Of course, the flip side of the Jews who were forced into hiding is the story of countless people who opened their homes to provide those hiding places. Let’s face it: in a country as flat and densely-populated as the Netherlands, private homes are about the only places to hide. So the second thing I can’t wait to see is Corrie Ten Boom’s House in Haarlem. Corrie is the author of The Hiding Place, in which she describes hiding Jews in a secret closet in the house she shared with her watchmaker father and older sister. The Ten Booms were devoutly Christian, and Corrie’s account of hiding the Jews and later being captured and enduring Nazi prison camp will strengthen the faith of anyone who reads it.
The third place ties these two together in a larget context: the Dutch Resistance Museum in Amsterdam. This museum’s web site was helpful when I wrote my article on the Dutch Resistance Movement last fall for Faces magazine, and I feel I owe them the price of our two admissions in return. I look forward to seeing pictures and articles on the ways simple acts of defacing posters and worker’s strikes, things we take for granted in the US, were powerful expressions of resistance over terror. According to their site, they were chosen as the “best historical museum in the Netherlands.” I hope to add my vote soon.