In the beginning of 6th grade, we read the Diary of Anne Frank. On the cover of the red book is a portrait of Anne herself. Her brown hair sits around her fragile face, hands folded on the table below her, smile beaming, and her brown eyes making contact with the viewer. My fellow classmates came to the conclusion that Anne and I had similar characteristics, so from that point on I was called “Anne”. In their middle school minds, the resemblance was amusing, entertaining, and hilarious. The joke someone always stuck with me.
On November 16th, 2016 I arrived at the Anne Frank House at 7:45AM sharp. I had been looking forward to this moment since 6th grade. The large brick visitors center hovered over the never ending line of people. However, the Loyola students were fortunate enough to get tickets ahead of time. The glass doors automatically opened for us and we stepped into a large white room. One by one we entered the vast rooms, kitchen, bedrooms, storage spaces, etc. The atmosphere was stuffy and smelt of must. Photographs, videos, audio stories echoed the story of the Frank Family.
Silence resonated throughout the home. No one dared to speak, however the voices of the past resonated within. I kept walking within the line of international visitors from room to room. I entered a smaller room and noticed photographs, magazine cut outs, and quotes. This was Anne’s room. The only thing that was left within this space was what she hung up on the wall. Film stars and photographs of her past, surrounded her. She created her own world within this space. With one diary and pen she told her story. “I’ll make my voice heard, Ill go out into the world, and work for mankind” (11 April 1944) She was bound to this room and secrete annex.
Her mind had no limits here. Here in this space she dared to escape through her writing here, she imagined, dreamed, feared, loved, etc. In this very spot she envisioned her perfect life. Her thoughts became her world. The limits of war did not become a barrier for her voice.
Within the dark currents of violence from the outside, she found her voice here. She is the representation of millions who never got to tell their story due to violence.
After reading, reflecting, and visiting the Frank home, exhibited to me how similar we really. She told her story through literature. I tell other people’s stories through photography. Writing is her escape, just as creating is to me. Her authentic powerful words of creating a difference manifest within my mind since the 6th grade and always will. Anne taught me that each of us have the role of educating ourselves no matter the barriers, and then to construct a better future for generations to come.