An Unexpected Discovery

I continued my research in Amsterdam, which is home to many stolpersteine, as many Jews were exterminated from the Netherlands. A major attraction in Amsterdam is the Anne Frank museum. There is always a long line with a 3-hour wait to get in. Of course, I visited it and waited because I was really interested to see her hiding place. However, because I was researching stolpersteine, I also found the home in which she lived before the family went into hiding. This is not a popular tourist attraction because it is just an ordinary house outside of the city center that people do not know about. The only thing about the house that signifies who previously occupied it is the stolpersteine in front of it. There are four in the ground, one for each family member. It’s crazy that the famous Anne Frank family has these memorials for them, yet most people who visit Amsterdam don’t know this. Across the street from the house is a small park. There is a statue in this park of young Anne Frank where people place fresh flowers, like I did.

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I was able to interview a woman I met while photographing stolpersteine near the famous Portuguese synagogue. She lived in a building that had a few stumbling stones in front of it and I asked her what she knew about them. She told me that she was actually present at the installation a year ago. She also said that relatives of the person being commemorated flew from Israel for the installation, one of them being almost 100 years old! It’s incredible for a person of that age to make the long trip and it shows how much these stones mean to family members of these victims.

Another interesting thing about Amsterdam is a different memorial, similar to stumbling stones. On one canal lay plaques with the names of people who lived in these buildings before they were taken and died in concentration camps. There are plaques in front of every house, some with more than ten names from one! This memorial is almost identical to the stolpersteine, however they lie only on one street in Amsterdam. As I walked down that street and read the names of all the innocent victims, all I could think about were the horrors they went through.

 

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