Anne Frank House is a historic house and biographical museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. The museum opened on the 3rd of May 1960. It preserves the hiding place, has a permanent exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank, and has an exhibition space about all forms of persecution and discrimination.
The canal-side facade dates from a renovation of 1740 when the rear annex was demolished. It was originally a private residence, then a warehouse, and in the nineteenth century, the front warehouse with its wide stable-like doors was used to house horses.
The Anne Frank Foundation was set up by Otto Frank and Johannes Kleiman on the 3rd of May 1957 with the primary aim of collecting enough funds to purchase and restore the building.
In October of that year the company who owned it donated the building to the Foundation as a goodwill gesture. The collected funds were then used to purchase the house next door, Number 265, shortly before the remaining buildings on the block were pulled down as planned.
The building was opened as a museum to the public in 1960. The former hiding place of Anne Frank attracted a huge amount of interest, especially as translations and dramatizations of the Diary had made her a figure known throughout the world.
Over 9,000 visitors came in its first year. In a decade there were twice as many. Over the years the building has had to be renovated to manage such a large number of visitors, and so it closed temporarily in 1970 and in 1999.
Nowadays, the rooms at the Anne Frank House, though empty, still breathe the atmosphere of that period of time. Quotations from the diary, historical documents, photographs, film images, and original objects that belonged to those in hiding and the helpers illustrate the events that took place there.
Anne’s original diary and other notebooks are on display in the museum. In the multimedia space, visitors can go on a “virtual journey” through the Anne Frank House, accessing background information about the people in hiding and World War Two.
During World War II, eight people from three families lived together in this house in near total silence for more than two years. The hiding place found by Otto Frank kept them safe until, tragically close to the end of the war, it was discovered by the Nazis. Its occupants were deported to concentration camps and Anne was one of those who died there.
Anne’s room is like that of any young girl, with photos, clippings and drawings decorating the walls. Among the photos are portraits of her favorite actress, Deanna Durbin, and of the English princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. The diary has been translated into 67 languages with over 30 million copies sold.
Anne Frank’s story is especially meaningful to young people today. After being betrayed to the Nazis, Anne, her family, and the others living with them were arrested and deported to Nazi concentration camps. In March of 1945, seven months after she was arrested, Anne Frank died of typhus at Bergen-Belsen when she was 15 years old.