Anne Frank House

Visiting the Anne Frank House has always been emotional for me. This visit was no different.

I am not old enough to have any first hand memories of the second world war, everything I know has been passed down to me either through books or movies.

I first read the Diary of Anne Frank almost 25 years ago, it was very moving then, especially as I was student teaching at the time and I was working with a grade 6 class. They were all Christian and had no direct knowledge of what persecution based on religion was like.

I knew then that if I had the chance I wanted to see the secret annex in Amsterdam. I wanted first hand knowledge of what it was like during the war; or as close as possible to first hand.

Walking through the secret passage and seeing how small the space was and knowing that there were 8 people living there made the spaces even smaller.

Reading the notes and the information on the walls and tables brought everything to life.

The cramped spaces, lack of food, and the constant fear of being discovered had a major impact on those hiding. Anne makes that clear. It becomes clearer when you are standing in the same room she sat in to write; when you look out the same windows she looked out through and listen to the same bells she listened to.

Anne died a few short weeks of her camp being liberated.

The Anne Frank House forces me to remember that over a million children were part of the 6 million Jews that were killed during the Holocaust.

A generation lost.

A bit of a side note…..The Dutch seem to have a storage way of celebrating….

I was at The Anne frank House today with a school group of 12 year old kids. This was a class trip to celebrate the end of the school year and their “graduation” from elementary school. A celebration…at the Anne Frank House?

Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery

“…is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery containing the largest number of Canadian war dead in the Netherlands. There are 2,338 graves…”

The cemetery is located near Nijmegen

The area is famous (or infamous) for a critical battle in WW II, Operation Market Garden as told in the book and film A Bridge Too Far The allies tried but couldn’t break through the German lines in Arnhem. It was a defeat for the allies.

I have no first hand knowledge or memories of the war, and besides my great uncle Syd, no other family members saw any active duty (I may need to be corrected)

I have no one to thank for their duty to MY (our) country.

This would be my chance to pay my respects.

Below this the inscription reads (in dutch on this gatepost):
The land on which this cemetery stands is the gift of the Dutch people for the perpetual resting place of the sailors soldiers and airmen who are honoured here

Walking through and between the head stones I thanked the men here. I left small stones on the headstones of the Jewish members of the forces, and asked G-D to look after them.

I left small Canadian flags on their graves and on other random graves.

They shall not grow old as we who are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

This is a Google satellite image of the cemetery

View Groesbeek War Cemetery in a larger map