The Holocaust has been a topic that has recently been popping up in my abroad experience. Although a touchy subject, learning about the Holocaust in Europe, where it occurred, has been very illuminating and a great educational opportunity.
I spent one night in Amsterdam after traveling to Paris, and decided to visit the Anne Frank house. The Anne Frank house is the annex where her and her family hid from the Nazi’s for over two years, until they were taken into German occupation and killed in concentration camps. The only survivor of the Frank family and the rest of the people who stayed in the annex was Otto Frank, Anne’s father. He published Anne’s diaries, known today as The Diary of Anne Frank, and the world is now able to learn her story.
The tour of the Anne Frank was extremely moving. An audio tour is given with the walking tour through the house, narrating important events in history and quotes from everybody involved. Some artifacts from the families remain at the house, and even the original bookcase that hid them in the annex. Each room is designed to it’s original state, and as you travel throughout the rooms, you learn the historical purpose of each one. One of the most moving parts for me was seeing Anne Frank’s original diaries. Something about seeing her handwriting really brought the experience to life for me. If you ever travel to Amsterdam, I highly recommend touring the Anne Frank house.
Shortly after my visit to the Anne Frank house, we visited the Imperial War Museum to see the Holocaust exhibit for a class of mine abroad. The Imperial War Museum serves to record the civil and military war efforts of Britain in the First World War. Great Britain was refuge to many escaping continental Europe during the Second World War, and therefore had a huge demographic impact. The Kindertransport, a significant recuse effort before the outbreak of the Second World War, saved over 10,000 Jewish children by bringing them into the United Kingdom. In 2000, the Imperial War Museum opened a Holocaust exhibit as a memorial. The Kristallnacht and the Kindertransport are both extremely well documented in the Holocaust exhibit.
Learning about Europe’s significant historical events is a great opportunity to take advantage of when spending time here. The endless amount of museums dedicated to these events are easily accessible, and most of the time, free. I feel extremely grateful to have had to opportunity to visit some of the Holocaust memorials.