Anne Frank House: Memorial or Tourist Attraction?

Today we went to the Anne Frank House. This wonderful museum takes the visitor through the life,hiding, and death of Anne Frank and her family. This personal view of The Holocaust allows for emotional and historical understanding from its visitors. However, has this museum lost its true meaning and message and become mostly a tourist attraction? This idea concerns me that to visitors, this is just another museum or attraction to see in Amsterdam. As a tourist attraction, the Anne Frank House draws tourists in (possibly) unaware of the education and deeply emotional understanding they will receive about the Holocaust/Nazi Regime in the Netherlands. The museum forces tourists to understand and reflect on Anne’s life. By connecting to an innocent girl, there is more of an emotional, human connection to the horrific events of the Holocaust.

In addition to this museum, I also went to the Dutch Resistance Museum. In the junior section, we follow the life of Eva during the Holocaust. Her and Anne Frank were close friends before the war and both were sent to Auschwitz. Eva survived and continues to write books about her life and the Holocaust at age 90. How come we haven’t heard of her before? Has Anne’s death been romanized by the popularity of her diary? What do you guys think of this and Anne’s role as a placeholder for forgotten Jews?

IMG_0269Photos are my own.

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4 thoughts on “Anne Frank House: Memorial or Tourist Attraction?

  1. The Anne Frank house has become more of a tourist attraction than a museum to remember Anne Frank and her family as they hid from the Nazis during their occupation of Amsterdam. Although the museum is very informative and you get a heavy feel when walking through the exhibits, it was ruined by certain tourists that ignored the rules of no pictures and taking pictures of everything. Because of how famous the book is and how well known Anne Frank it focuses so much on Anne Frank that thousands of other Jews that lost their lives are ignored.

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  2. I think that you bring up an interesting point. When I came to Amsterdam a few years ago, I wanted to go to the Anne Frank House. It was like a box I wanted to check on my list of attractions in Amsterdam. This is problematic. However, I don’t think this museum has lost its message or true meaning. Going to this landmark and experiencing it is considered one of the main touristy things to do here. But its not “touristy” Anne Frank was a young girl who had aspirations and dreams for her future. She is more than a placeholder, and breaking that stereotype is one of the goals of the museum, whether intentional or not. It humanizes her, and it humanizes the Holocaust.

    Its interesting that you bring up Eva. The fact is that Anne’s narrative dominates the landscape. Its sad that we don’t hear about these other stories. Its true that people could derive a lot of value from hearing these different perspectives, but another reality is that people like placing things in boxes, and labeling them. If one story is the focal point of humanizing Holocaust victims, it is easier to focus on that rather than 10 stories trying to accomplish the same thing.

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  3. I think you bring up a really interesting point. I believe that the Anne Frank House has become a tourist attraction but I don’t necessarily think that this is a bad thing. The fact that it is a tourist attraction lures people in, but hundreds of people everyday wait in a line hours long regardless of the weather. Once their inside they get to experience something truly increadible and possible learn new information about Anne Frank/ her family/ the Holocaust/ the Nazi Regime in the Netherlands. However, in response to the question of Eva, I think it is odd that more people don’t know of her story. Anne Frank became an icon after her death, but, as the video in the Anne Frank House says, there are so many more who do not have their stories out in the world. Eva survived the Holocaust, unlike Anne, and has continued to write about her experiences well into her 90’s. How come Eva (and the many others who have similar stories) isn’t celebrated the same way Anne is?

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  4. I think you bring up some really interesting questions. I think that perhaps the Anne Frank House has become a staple attraction for visitors to the Netherlands much like the Arlington Cemetery or Lincoln Memorial in D.C. Many foreign visitors don’t know about the histories attached to those monuments, they are just major sites people feel like they must see just to say they have. So, I think that the Anne Frank House brings in some tourists who are more indifferent to learning but want to say they’ve gone to the famous site. However, I think that this can have some benefits. By not being allowed to take photos, it forces the visitors to experience the museum and not just take pictures to show off late. Because of this these visitors that came just to say they have, are actually learning more than what they intended.

    One question I do have is whether the museum is non-profit or for-profit. Are people benefiting over the death of the families that lived in this house? And if so is that not controversial to you?

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