“To build up a future, you have to know the past.” – Otto Frank

Today’s entry has no picture, there is none needed. The most telling picture of the Anne Frank Huis was drawn, years ago by a little girl in her diary.

Traveling is always about opening up that great opportunity to meet people you would never otherwise have known. From the person sitting next to you on the plane, the cab driver, the waiter at the restaurant or even your tour guide to the chap sitting next to you at the pub. You get to meet all sorts of people. The other incredible people you meet are those who have been immortalized in museums.

In Amsterdam, I got to meet Anne Frank. I am of the age that the “Diary of Anne Frank” was still required reading in school. Even amidst our air raid drills in school, it was impossible for us to really understand what Anne’s life was like, try as we may. I tried to imagine what being confined to my small bedroom would be like, even for a day. I tried to imagine what the incessant darkness behind the blackened windows was like (and as a young girl in Buffalo, NY I had a better chance of that than most), but I couldn’t. I tried to imagine what the constant fear that someone would come take you away at any moment, simply because of the religion you born to was like, but I couldn’t. Mostly I tried to imagine what kind of people would do that to other human beings, and I still can’t.

Most of us mourned for Anne Frank years ago while reading her diary. Visiting the Anne Frank House in 2012 brought a different kind of sadness. The sadness that 6 decades later, 12 years into a new century, there are still children living with the same kind of fear all over the world. And there are still people willing to kill others for their own beliefs.

At the end of the tour, visitors hear from Anne’s father himself. In that video, he tells us about the kind of girl Anne was and about his special relationship with her. He concludes, after reading her diary for the first time after her death that “most parents don’t know, really their children”. For those of us who believe in some kind of God, as father, perhaps that is how he feels as well.

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