Why a visit to the Anne Frank House should be mandatory

“One day this terrible war will be over. The time will come when we’ll be people again and not just Jews”

Anne Frank, 11 April 1944

Only a few things can immediately bring back all memories: Auschwitz and other concentration camps, movies such as Schindler’s list or La Vita è Bella, and the Anne Frank House.

15890057193_de2d7801c6One thing is reading the diary of the young girl on a comfortable sofa or in a noisy classroom, but visiting her original hideout in the darkness of her room, and going up its narrow and creaky stairs is another. Only then can you will feel how she lived in secrecy for two years.

There you understand that she was only one out of millions of Jews who was hiding in similar conditions.

17967730870_6220b7eacdJust like Anne Frank and her family did, the visitor has to go through the original cabinet library (pictured on the right) used as a hidden door to the secret annex; and the visitor can see the original decorations on her bedroom wall, including pictures of actress Greta Garbo (at the beginning of her seclusion)  or artists such as Rembrandt (displayed after two years of hiding), are still hanging.

Human beings have short memory. The last survivors of concentration camps are passing away. Today, it is difficult to organise debates in schools or to invite witnesses. Some teachers even prefer not to touch dramatic WWII events in order not to rise any disputes between students from various ethnic backgrounds.

That’s why it is important to promote and encourage school and family visits where teachers and parents can explained to their students/children what happened to their peers.

Unfortunately anti-semitism is raising again in Europe. Some political and communication campaigns  are increasingly also supported by European media and it is no surprising to hear the news last month of record-setting Jewish migration to Israel in 2015.

“The English radio (BBC) says they’re being gassed. I feel terrible”  

Anne Frank, 9 October 1942