“I’ll make my voice heard, Ill go out into the world, and work for mankind.” (11 April 1944)
In the beginning of sixth 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” for the rest of the year. In their minds, the resemblance was amusing, entertaining, and hilarious. The joke stuck with me for many years. Yesterday, November 16, 2016, I arrived at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam at 7:45 a.m. sharp. I had been looking forward to this moment since sixth grade.
The large brick Visitors Center hovered ahead. Between it and me was a long line of people. However, the Loyola students were fortunate enough to get tickets ahead of time, and so the glass doors automatically opened for us and we stepped into a large white room.
One by one we entered the vast rooms, the kitchen, bedrooms, storage spaces of the house. The atmosphere was stuffy and smelled musty. It was completely silent, no one dared to speak. However, the voices of the past resonated within. I kept walking within the line of visitors from room to staircases to more rooms. Photographs, videos, and audio stories shared the story of the Frank Family.
I entered a smaller room and noticed photographs, magazine cutouts, and quotes. It tookm me a few moments before I realized I was in Anne’s bedroom, and the only thing that was left in this space was what she had hung on the wall…
I looked at every single photograph that she had hung. Film stars surrounding her, and photographs of her past. She created her own world within this space. Bound to this room and secrete annex, but her mind had no limits here. Daring to escape through her writing here, she imagined, dreamed, feared, and loved. Here in this very spot she envisioned her perfect life. Her thoughts became her world. She did not let her limits of war become a barrier for her voice. Within the dark currents from the outside, she found her voice within this space.
With one diary and pen she told her story. She is the representation of the millions of young girls who lost their lives during World War II.
After reading, reflecting, and visiting the museum exhibited to me how similar we really. She told her story through literature; I tell stories through photography. Writing is her escape; my camera is mine. Her authentic and powerful words of creating a difference manifest within my mind and always will.
Each of us have the role of educating ourselves so that we can construct a better future for generations to come.