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Anne Frank’s father Otto, revisiting the attic where they hid from the Nazis. He was the only surviving family member, 1960

2.3k comments
89% Upvoted
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level 1

Any redditors been to the Anne Frank museum, and, if so, what were your expectations vs what you experienced?

level 2
4.0k points · 7 days ago · edited 7 days ago

I have been. It is probably the best ran museum I’ve been to. Only a certain number of people are let in at a time, and then you walk through it in a specific order, kind of like a trail. There’s an audio tour and you learn about her early life as you approach the part of the building where they hid. I can’t even explain how it was.

Also, when you actually get up into their space here were my surprises:

  1. It was the size of a small house. They had more room than I thought, but definitely would be extremely uncomfortable not ever being able to leave and sharing the small space with so many people by the end.

  2. It is very much how they left it. Things I remembered from her diary were there. Images she cut from magazines and used to decorate her walls. The gifts peter received for his birthday and Anne described were there. The lines on the wall tracking the kids’ growth.

After you walk through the attic (in silence. No audio tour in that part. All guests were silent and respectful. No one talked for the whole time we were up there. Many people silently wept), you go back down the stairs and finish with an audio tour about what happened to Anne and her family after capture. There’s documents from her early life. A book they had to register in that listed Local Jews.

I can’t explain it. Just go.

The whole journey is surreal and emotional.

I don’t know what I expected, but I was blown away. It was my favorite part of the Euro trip I took this summer.

Edit to add: when we first got to Amsterdam we learned that you must get tickets in advance. We checked online and they were all sold out for the two days we had allotted to Amsterdam. I was devastated. The hotel concierge told us to check back regularly since they add new tickets all the time. The next morning, I woke up and my boyfriend told me he had bought tickets in the night. I guess he woke up in the middle of the night and checked, and more had been released. I don’t know if we got lucky or if this is common. Also the audio tour includes audio interviews with people who knew the family, and Mr. Frank crying and talking about how he was the only survivor.

level 3

Great write up, thank you for taking the time to put that together. I'm in the US and would like to make this part of a day should I be fortunate enough to get to Amsterdam. How much time would you allot for a tour? How difficult is it to get tickets (is there a walk up booth or do you have to order online)? Is it crowded during the tour, if so, does it lessen the experience, in your opinion? Again, thanks for your time

level 4
315 points · 7 days ago

I've been too. It's almost exactly an hour long. The design of the museum is amazing and the audio tour really ushers you through at a comfortable pace that doesn't feel rushed but doesn't make you want to linger too long anywhere.


YOU MUST ORDER TICKETS ONLINE. ABSOLUTE MUST. There is no counter to buy tickets from. In fact you gotta get them preferably weeks in advance. Check the website, they release 80% of the tickets months in advance and the last 20% on the day itself only. Book early.


Just go it's an amazing experience and probably the best experience I've had regarding ww2, and I love reading and studying about it. No other memorial has encapsulated what the holocaust really meant for Jews living in that era as well as the anne frank museum. I was skeptical before I went too but if you're even remotely interested in WW2, JUST GO.

level 5

Wow, great writeup. Thanks for the response and the information, especially about the tickets.

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level 4
41 points · 7 days ago

You absolutely have to go. You should buy your ticket 2-3 months in advance. The tickets have a pretty strict timeline on when you can arrive and this helps them control the crowds. They'll let a small group in maybe every 15 minutes and you can kind of pace yourself once you're inside. It didn't feel overly crowded and I had plenty of time to just take in each room. I would plan 1-1.5 hours.

Also, just wanted to note that Amsterdam is fairly easy to get to from any major European city. You don't have to plan a whole trip from the US just to see Holland - it's an excellent side trip.

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level 3

All the original furniture was removed and the rooms were recreated based on how Otto remembered them, but absolutely powerful nonetheless. Definitely larger than expected. But it was like 7 people living there

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level 2
135 points · 7 days ago

Went with my wife in January 2015, at the end of a long overseas trip that included stops in Egypt and Israel. I was surprised to see how small the space was, plus the steepness of the stairs up into the attic. It was really clever how the bookcase hid the access to the stairs, and you just had to assume someone ratted them out; no way anyone would have discovered that entry otherwise.

What was even more interesting was the silence of the people who were walking through the building. It's so popular they sell specifically timed tickets (we bought ours online well in advance, so didn't have to stand in line), and you traverse the property single-file because it's such a narrow space.

level 3
94 points · 7 days ago

Historians never did find out who betrayed them. There were a few possibilities -- the most likely was thought to be a man who was a relatively new employee in the building -- but the Anne Frank House commissioned a study a few years ago that suggests the attic residents may have been found purely by accident. The police who came to investigate that fateful day were the Sicherheitsdienst, who typically dealt with financial crimes and weren't tasked with hunting Jews in hiding. Researchers looked through Frank's diary entries, police records, and judicial records, and came to the conclusion that the police may have found them by happenstance while they were looking for fake ration cards.

As the museum points out, this doesn't invalidate the betrayal theory, but it does illuminate another miserable truth about the Holocaust: Whether you lived or died was often the result of nothing more than blind luck. However, there's an ongoing study examining the same issue now that will hopefully be completed in time for the 75th anniversary of the arrest this year, and that may yield more information.

level 4
16 points · 7 days ago · edited 7 days ago

Just wanted to add to your blind luck comment. I've been on a lot of Holocaust tours, including 5 contraction camps and have listened to many survivors. So many of them emphasize blind luck. One women, who was also the only survivor in her family of 12 children kept telling us this. She was sent to the gas chambers with her younger sisters but she thought "no I want to be with my older sister" and snuck into the other group. She had no idea what the groups meant she just knew she wanted to be with her older sister. She was lucky again when she was in the camp hospital and one of the nurses sent her back to barracks, even though she was sick. Turns out that day they had sent everyone in the hospital to the gas chambers. That nurse had saved her life.

Many people ask survivors why they survived, was someone watching over them? I've heard some interesting answers but a lot of the times I've just heard "luck".

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level 2

I've been there as well. There are two ways to take the tour, the normal one and the lecture tour. The lecture tour costs more by 5 euros and has 30 minute lecture explaining the events that lead up to Anne Frank and her family going into hiding.

You must book tickets way in advance. I did the lecture tour because it the only way I could get tickets for the next day, but I really enjoyed the lecture.

You can do the entire museum in about an hour because its small and you have to sort of keep moving because they restrict how many people can go in at a time.

The attic is fairly large, but it also had quite a few people there and you see quite a few artifacts from the people who lived there. Its a very powerful experience.

Sadly one of Anne Frank's diaries is missing entirely which is why there's a large gap of time in the diaries that did survive. When I was there, they had the actual diaries on loan.

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level 2
42 points · 7 days ago

Unrelated to her musuem but having visited Auswitchz I and II I can say from experience that nothing can really prepare you for it. Learning about the holocaust and all the horrible atrocities growing up can be a real downer but to see first hand the places you read about as a child are extremely harrowing. One of the top comments mentioned silence during part of the tour and that is on point. One of the most silent memories of my life were at the camps. It's almost amazing until you're brought back to the reality of what occurred there. There was almost a beauty to it... so much sadness but then realizing that ultimately there was some justice and that some were remembered for their sacrifice. If you ever get the chance to visit one of these sites make sure to make it a priority.

level 2

It's definitely worth going (we were unable to get tix in advance although we tried, so we waited for about 1 1/2 hours the morning we went). Seeing the layout, size, how the building is just in the middle of town, etc in person is much more informative than just seeing schematics or photos. One thing that I didn't realize before going, although it isn't a secret and you can read more about this online, is that Anne rewrote a lot of the early parts of the diary with an eye to publishing them after the war as time went on. There was even a diary entry about it, although you see it more clearly in the museum where you can see her rewrites. (They heard on the radio I think, or maybe it was in a newspaper, that after the war there would be a lot of interest in having regular people's daily accounts of how their wartime life had been, and that gave her the idea to eventually submit her work so she wanted to rewrite some of the earliest parts).

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level 2

I went once in March 2017 and again in October 2018 and they had changed it in those 18 months.

You definitely need to buy tickets online if you plan on going. I believe they go on sale 60 days in advance of when you want to go.

It takes an hour and I think the best part was seeing Anne's actual hand written diary at the end of the tour. One other thing that I really thought was special is walking through the space that was concealed by the book shelf and seeing n the shelf itself. The space is bigger than I imagined it to be but for 8 people to live in that space for two years makes it small.

I don't remember where I read it (maybe in the museum) but Anne's story isn't necessarily more unique than any of the other thousands upon thousands of Jews who hid or the millions who died. Her diary just so happened to be published. That doesn't detract from her plight though.

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