anne frank Het Achterhuis diary

Remembering Anne Frank: a testament of courage and hope

in Dutch tradition on 30 April, 2024

Anne Frank gave us a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

Anne Frank’s story is one that transcends time and generations. Born on June 12, 1929, in Frankfurt, Germany, Anne’s life was forever altered by the rise of Nazi Germany. As a Jewish girl, she and her family faced persecution and discrimination, eventually leading them to seek refuge in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1933.

Invation of the Nazis in 1940

Tragically, in 1940, the Nazis invaded the Netherlands, and the Frank family went into hiding in a concealed apartment above Otto Frank’s business. For over two years, Anne, her parents Otto and Edith, her sister Margot, and four others lived in confinement, unable to step outside for fear of capture.

In this cramped annex, Anne found solace in writing. She poured her thoughts, dreams, and reflections into her diary, which she named “Kitty.” Through her poignant words, we gain insight into the life of a teenager grappling with the horrors of war, yet still holding onto hope and humanity.

anne frank Het Achterhuis diary

Remembering Anne Frank: A Testament of Courage and Hope

Anne’s diary is not just a historical document; it’s a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. Despite the dire circumstances, she remained optimistic, believing in the inherent goodness of people. Her famous quote, “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart,” encapsulates her unwavering faith in humanity.

Tragically, the hiding place was betrayed, and on August 4, 1944, the occupants were arrested by the Gestapo. Anne and her family were deported to concentration camps, where she ultimately perished at the young age of 15. Only Otto Frank, Anne’s father, survived the Holocaust.

After the war, Otto Frank returned to Amsterdam and was given Anne’s diary by Miep Gies, one of the courageous individuals who had helped the Frank family while they were in hiding. Recognizing the importance of Anne’s words, Otto fulfilled her wish of becoming a writer, publishing her diary under the title “The Diary of a Young Girl.”

Since its publication, Anne Frank’s diary has touched the hearts of millions worldwide. It has been translated into over 70 languages, reminding readers of the atrocities of the Holocaust and the importance of standing up against intolerance and hatred.


Freedom cannot be taken for granted

Today, the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam stands as a poignant memorial to Anne and all the victims of the Holocaust. Visitors can walk through the annex where Anne and her family lived in hiding, experiencing firsthand the cramped conditions and the emotional weight of their confinement.

Anne Frank’s legacy lives on not only through her diary but also through the countless educational programs and initiatives dedicated to promoting tolerance, understanding, and human rights. Her story serves as a beacon of hope, inspiring generations to strive for a world where such injustices are never repeated.

As we remember Anne Frank on what would have been her 95th birthday, let us honor her memory by embracing her message of compassion, empathy, and the enduring belief in the goodness of humanity. In a world often plagued by division and conflict, Anne’s voice reminds us of the power of hope and the importance of never forgetting the lessons of the past.

Read more about May 4 Remembrance Day (Dodenherdenking) and Liberation Day (bevrijdingsdag) >

Dutch flag half-staff as a token of respect for the fallen soldiers of war

Lowering the flag to half-staff is a way to express sympathy and honor

Flags in the Netherlands are typically flown at half-staff (half-mast) as a sign of mourning or respect. There are several reasons why the Dutch might lower their flags in this manner:

  1. National Mourning: Flags are lowered to half-staff in the event of a national tragedy, such as the death of a member of the Dutch royal family, a significant political figure, or a national disaster.
  2. International Mourning: Flags can be lowered in solidarity with other countries experiencing a tragedy or loss. For example, after major disasters or terrorist attacks in other countries, the Dutch may lower their flags as a sign of respect.
  3. Remembrance Days: The Netherlands observes several national days of remembrance, such as Remembrance Day (Dodenherdenking) on May 4th, which commemorates those who died during World War II, and National Memorial Day on the second Saturday in November, which commemorates all Dutch military personnel who have died in conflicts or peacekeeping missions since World War II. Flags are often flown at half-staff on these occasions.
  4. State Funerals: During state funerals or official ceremonies honoring notable figures, flags are lowered as a mark of respect.
  5. Tragedies or Losses: Flags might also be lowered in response to specific tragedies or losses that deeply affect the Dutch nation, such as mass casualties in accidents, acts of terrorism, or natural disasters.

In all cases, lowering the flag to half-staff is a visible and solemn gesture to acknowledge loss, reflect on tragedy, and show solidarity with those affected. It’s a way for the Dutch people to express their sympathy and honor the memory of those who have passed away.

For more information:


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Categories: Dutch tradition



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