Deeply Touched By The Anne Frank House


I think it’s utterly amazing how sometimes in our lives we will experience something; not ever realizing at that moment how it will contribute to an experience in our unknown future.

Back in the mid 70’s, while performing a musical review in Amsterdam, Holland, I had the opportunity to take a tour of The Anne Frank House.

Sure, I had read The Diary of Anne Frank while in grammar school. However, it didn't deeply touch me until much later, when I was actually in the place where it all happened.

Walking though the house was like taking a voyage in a time machine that transported me back to history, where I could actually feel the past as it lingered in the air like a heavy blanket of memories, never wanting to be forgotten.

As we entered the Secret Annex, I literally found it difficult to breathe.

Outside of occasionally hearing someone overcome with emotion, the tour was pretty much silent. It was as if we were walking through a sanctuary that was both sacred and horrendous, unable to express what we were feeling.

It was incomprehensible to me how these eight people lived in such a small space for over two years.


A rear view of The Anne Frank House.
The Secret Annex is that tiny window you see on the roof.


The bookcase hiding the Secret Annex.

I vividly recall walking through this doorway, feeling chills running up and down my spine.


Anne’s room.
She share her space with Fritz Pfeffer (aka Mr. Albert Dussel). She enjoyed collecting photographs of movie stars that she glued or taped on the wall above her small bed. It was her way of escapism. 


A closer view of the wall.
Notice the photograph of actress Norma Shearer on the lower right-hand corner. Norma was one of Anne’s favorite movie stars at the time.

I remember gently running my left hand over the glass sealed wall; knowing at one time the hands of Anne Frank touched that wall.


The bathroom (WC) that was shared by all eight people during their time in the attic


An open page of the actual diary of Anne Frank.

Now, what’s really incredible about this story is that 20 years later, I ended up auditioning and getting cast in a professional theatrical production of the play version, The Diary of Anne Frank, which some of you may remember in this post.  I portrayed Mr. Albert Dussel, the man who shared a room with Anne. And I can't even begin to tell you how honored and reverent I felt, portraying a real-life person who was a part of history.

This was one of those times in my career that I knew was Divinely orchestrated.

Because every night before the curtain went up, all I ever needed to do was to take a moment to remember what it was like to walk through that house in Amsterdam….

...and I was there.


“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” 
-Anne Frank

Have a beautiful week, everyone!
💗


*all photos found online.

28 comments

  1. Valerie DaggattJune 09, 2020

    Thank you for this, Ron. You must have been so proud to be in that house and to remember everything you knew about Anne Frank. Although I knew about her and her history, a lot of it sailed over my head as if I was just reading a book. It is good to be reminded about people with a proud history.

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  2. Ron, I got chills reading this! I was in Amsterdam eight years ago and tried to visit the Anne Frank House, but the wait line was forever. We've would have gone back on another day but we were only there for two days. I was so disappointed. I read the book too and have always been interested in Anne Frank, always wanting to know more. I think it's amazing that you visited and then years later were in the play. Where did you perform the play, New York?

    I love that final quote! Thank you for sharing this, Ron.

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  3. What a wonderful memory. And the fact that you got the role of Albert twenty years later just brought the experience full circle for you. I'm wondering if you got the role because you were able to convey your experience in the Anne Frank house?

    I'm not sure I knew you spent time in Europe. Have you posted other photos before? I only remember Japan. Thank you for sharing your touching memories and photos of that day.

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  4. Ron, your post brought back a lot of memories for me because I've been the Anne Frank house. I traveled to Europe with two of my friends and we were all anxious to see it. We made reservations because I heard that if you didn't, chances are you wouldn't be able to get in spontaneously. Your words expressed exactly how I felt and what it was like to see it. It felt so raw, didn't it? And yes, I couldn't get over how small it was. I had no idea you had acted in the play. That's awesome! There have been several movie versions, but I've never seen the play. Was it difficult to go through the emotions each time your performed it? I can't imagine what that must have been like for you and the other cast members.

    You did such a beautiful job presenting this, Ron.

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  5. Hey there Valerie!

    Yes I was because it gave me a strong emotional connection and relatability to the space. We also as a cast, did a lot of research in the way of books and documentaries to get a sense of what that time in history was like. As draining as it was, it was an incredible experience, both as an actor and a human being.

    I read the book so long ago, which is pretty much based off her diary entries. Her father (Otto Frank) was the only survivor. He's the one who allow the diary to be published.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Hope you're enjoying a great week so far!

    X

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  6. Hey there Candice!

    Yes! I keep hearing that from people who have visited Amsterdam and couldn't get tickets to The Anne Frank House. You know, back when I was there (late 70's), it was much easier because I don't remember even having to wait in line. We (our cast) just walked in. Now I hear that you have to make reservations beforehand.

    No, I didn't do the play in New York, I did it in Orlando, Florida. We did a four week run and then did another two week tour, taking the play to various high schools to educate the students.

    What a great experience that was. To portray a character who was a part of history.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have super week!
    X

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  7. "I'm wondering if you got the role because you were able to convey your experience in the Anne Frank house?"

    You know, I don't know but you could be right. I never even thought of that. But what I will tell you is that having visited the actual Anne Frank House, made performing the play very real to me. Our set designer did an AMAZING job on the set, by recreating the Annex. And the lighting designer as well.

    "I'm not sure I knew you spent time in Europe. Have you posted other photos before? "

    Yes, I spent summer in Amsterdam and Brussels, back in the 70's. I so wish I had taken advantage of the situation and traveled more throughout Europe. And these photos are not mine (I totally forgot to mention that at the end of the post). I found them online.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Hope you're having a great week so far!

    X

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  8. OMG Daniel, you were there as well? Wasn't it such an incredible experience? And yes, I had heard throughout the years that if you wanted to get in you needed to make a reservation. I feel so lucky because when I went (in the late 70's), we paid for out tickets and walked right in with no wait.

    Yes, RAW is the perfect word. It was odd because it was both beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. What was so moving to me was Anne's room. To think that she spent two years of her life in that room.

    I've seen two versions of the movie--the original one 1959, and the one that came out in 2009. The original will always be my favorite because it's shot in black and white.

    As a cast, we did a lot of research in the way of books and documentaries about that time. Some of the videos we watched were very hard to view because they included images inside the concentration camps. It was a draining play to perform because of the subject matter. However, the whole cast was wonderful in that we made sure to have some backstage humor in our dressing rooms, just to keep things from becoming too heavy.

    Thank so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a grrrrrreat week!

    X

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  9. I got chills reading your post! Truly an eye-opening, humbling, overwhelming experience. When I visit historical places and stop to really realize that THIS is the place where he or she walked, lived, touched etc, it ties all of time together. Peanut and I visited Laura Ingalls Wilder's home where she wrote her Little House of the Prairie books. While maybe not as historically significant as Anne Frank, it was surreal to be in the same place, walking the same paths, touching the same things she did and feeling the same inspiration. Experiencing these places make the books that much more alive! X

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  10. Ron, thank you for a sobering nudge for us all to remember that, while things today might not be entirely to our liking, they certainly aren't as bad as what Anne Frank and those other seven people had to endure. What troopers they were!


    I remember your post about being cast as Mr. Dussel, and I wish I'd seen the production. I saw the movie, of course, and read the book, but it would have been so cool to see your version and then, years later, "meet" you online! I'm sure you did an outstanding job, especially if you were inspired in your role.


    We're fighting the remnants of Cristobal today -- odd how a tropical system can wind its way clear up here from New Orleans. Enjoy your week, my friend! xx

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  11. http://ladyfi.wordpress.comJune 09, 2020

    It is amazing to think what people went through. And what resilience and optimism Anne had.

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  12. DA PerrucciJune 09, 2020

    This post was somewhat of an eye-opener for myself, Ron, as I will admit to never having seen photos of the Anne Frank house. Of course, I have heard about it but never looked online for images. I will also admit to not reading her diary, but can only image how "real" it would become after seeing the confined space where she and others lived in fear. That quote you included from Ms. Frank can well apply to current world situation(s). If only people would truly appreciate and be grateful.

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  13. Being part of the play taught me so much because like you, I sort of knew a bit about Anne Frank from reading the book. But when you're that young, you can't even full comprehend it. So, it really wasn't until I had visited the house and did the play, that I took the journey and immerse myself into it.

    " That quote you included from Ms. Frank can well apply to current world situation(s). If only people would truly appreciate and be grateful."

    You are so perceptive because, yes, that's exactly why I chose that quote.

    Thanks a bunch for stopping by, my friend. Hope you're having a faaaaaabulous week!

    X

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  14. I know, can you believe that? And even though I had done a lot of research through books and documentaries that shared raw, truthful stories and photographs, it was still hard for me to think that THIS is what so many people went through back then.

    Anne Frank, in my eyes, was a very wise teacher without even knowing she was. Because what she left behind is a wealth of knowledge about the human spirit.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a beautiful week!

    X

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  15. " When I visit historical places and stop to really realize that THIS is the place where he or she walked, lived, touched etc, it ties all of time together."

    Yes, Lisa...I do the same thing! And you're right, it's as if it ties all of time together. I love how you said that.

    I'm sure it was AMAZING to visit Laura Ingalls Wilder's home. And as you said, when you experience something like this, it's surreal!

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experience, my friend. Hope you're having a fantastic week so far!

    X

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  16. Meeeeee too, Mark! I am so fascinated with WWII. And in doing all the research I did while preparing myself for the play, it taught me so much about that whole time period. For roughly three months, I was totally immersed in it.

    Visiting the house was such an incredible experience.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a faaaaaaabulous rest of your week!

    X

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  17. Ron, I LOVED this post! I went to Catholic school in NY and "The Diary of Anne Frank" was required reading. I remember being so fascinated by Anne Frank and what she went through as a child. I've also seen the movie with Millie Perkins and Shelly Winters. Such a great movie, but so sad at the end. I cried so hard when I saw it.

    Oh how I wish I were you that you got to see the house in Amsterdam! If my husband and I ever take a trip to Europe, I told him that we have got to make Amsterdam and stop and see the house. Did you like Holland? I hear is such a nice country.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and photos. I had chills reading this. I'm glad you posted this at this particular time in our history.

    Have a great week, Ron xo

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  18. Hey there Elaine!

    I too went to Catholic school and read the book. It didn't fully hit me until years later when I went to the house and then did the play. The whole experience was altering.

    Yes, I saw the movie. There is two versions, but the first one (with Millie Perkins and Shelly Winters) is my favorite because it was filmed in black and white, which gave it a more authentic feel. The ending is so sad, isn't it?

    I loved Holland! Amsterdam has such a wonderful energy. Things are very laid back, open, and accepting. Visually, it's also a great looking city with the water canals and row homes. Our enter musical cast actually lived in a house that was rented to our producer/director. My room was on the top floor.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, neighbor! Hope your week is going well!

    X

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  19. Rob LenihanJune 10, 2020

    My goodness, Ron, what a beautiful post. And what a stunning, life-changing experience.

    I can't begin to imagine what it must have felt like walking through that sacred place, but I'm so glad that you shared your thoughts and feelings.

    And then to go on to portray one of the people in that story, well, that is just incredible.

    This post would've been important at any time, of course, but now it takes on such a special meaning, as the country is being torn apart by racial strife.

    The Anne Frank House serves as a stark reminder and dire warning of what can happen when hatred goes unchecked.

    Thank you so much for sharing story, buddy. I am so proud to call you my friend.

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  20. Hey there Rob!

    Thank you! You know, this was one of those experiences that I truly feel was Divinely orchestrated. I had one other experience in my life that I felt was that way too. It was when I was in Japan for the summer and went to visit the sacred temples in Kyoto and had a very deeply moving experience happen to me while I was there. That experience was very much a contributing factor to my involvement with Reiki, because when I began to study for my Reiki attunements, I found out that Reik was discovered in Kyoto, Japan!

    "This post would've been important at any time, of course, but now it takes on such a special meaning, as the country is being torn apart by racial strife."

    Exactly! Which is why I felt drawn to share this experience.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy, and for your kind words. Have a great weekend!

    X

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  21. What a powerful experience. It is such a heart-rending story.

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  22. Ron, even just reading your description of what it as like to walk through that house while looking at the photographs, I could feel what it was like. I literally got chills!

    Did you ever see the movie, "Schindler's List?" I saw it went it first came out and was so moved. That movie inspired me to investigate more about that time period because I honestly didn't know that much about it. When I was in school, "The Diary of Anne Frank" was not even mentioned. It wasn't until I saw the movie did I read the book.

    Thanks so much for sharing this, dude! Another great story!

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  23. Ron, this post was both touching and chilling. Wow, I think it's amazing that you visited the house and then years later ended up getting cast in the show! I believe in things being divinely guided because I've had several things happen to me in my life where everything just fell into place without any planning on my part.

    I can't even imagine what it would feel like to walk through that house, knowing that it was were Anne Frank and her family lived. I'm sure I would have been moved to tears.

    And to think that 20 years later you were cast in the play version. Amazing! Your time in the theater gave you so many great memories, didn't it?

    Hope you're having a wonderful weekend, Ron x

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  24. Hiya Matt!

    OMG, yes! I have seen "Schindler's List." In fact, that movie came out at the same time I was in the play, so members of the cast and I went to see it. And I loved that Steven Spielberg decided to shoot it in black and white because it gave the film a very realistic sense of the time period. AMAZING film!

    The play is very much like the book. Of course, not in as much detail, but the characterizations and much of the dialogue were from the diary.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Hope you're having a fabulous weekend!

    X

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  25. Hola Denise!

    "I believe in things being divinely guided because I've had several things happen to me in my life where everything just fell into place without any planning on my part."

    I know what you mean because not only with this experience, but other experiences I've had in my life where I could see that they happened without me doing anything. They just happened.

    The house/annex felt almost as through you were stepping into sacred space. It took your breath away.

    I feel so grateful for being given the opportunity to be in the play. And it was one of those plays in which every performance felt authentic.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, girl. Hope you're having a wonderful week too! The weather here is stunning, so I've been outside all morning and afternoon!

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  26. Yes, it truly is a heart-rendering story. Anne Frank was such an amazing human being. Her strength and ability to rise above what she and her family went through, yet always looking for the good, is such an inspiration.

    Hope you're enjoying terrific weekend, my friend. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  27. Hi, Ron. Of course, I know of Anne Frank, but have not read the book. The photos weren't familiar to me either, so thank you very much for sharing some of this history. Incredibly moving! I can just imagine how you must have felt to be there, and then later take part in the theatrical production. An experience to never forget.

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  28. Hey there Mary!

    When I was still in grammar school (I can't remember what grade though), The Diary of Anne Frank was required reading. Back they, all schools had that book as part of their history classes. However, the book really didn't affect me until I saw the house, and then did the play. What a powerful story! And what an amazing little girl.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, neighbor. Hope you're enjoying summer!

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