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Anne Frank Photography

When we arrived in Amsterdam on Thursday, our first destination was the Anne Frank House. Outside of the home, there’s a small, 4 inch wide plaque that reads “Anne Frank Huis.” People were standing outside the plaque taking pictures, but there were many that were lined up to take pictures of themselves in front of the Anne Frank House. One of the most memorable discussions we had in class before studying abroad involved a similar situation. We reviewed the appropriateness behind taking cheerful selfies in front of holocaust memorials. Are these photos of themselves respectful to those that suffered through one of the darkest times in global history? Though I can understand why people want to take their pictures, it is also important to think about the purpose behind these photos. When we take these smiling photographs in front of holocaust memorials, the focus shifts from remembrance to tourist attention. On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised once we walked inside the inside the house. There was an audio tour for people to learn more at their own pace, but best of all, photos were prohibited. When I heard that photography was not allowed, I was thrilled to be able to keep the memory of Anne Frank’s secret life inside the annex. People might have been able to take pictures of themselves outside with the plaque, but no one has the opportunity to pose for pictures where eight Jewish people hid from Nazis. This, to me, preserves the memory for those that visit because images are not widely accessible to the public. Instead, you must listen to Anne’s stories as they unfold in each room in the house. I only wish that more museums and memorials would think about following in their footsteps.