Anne Frank Diary Reference
Visitor Impressions
Merwedeplein, Anne Frank House, (map)

The Shop Where Anne May Have First Seen Her Diary
This shop was around the corner from where the Frank's lived (on the Merwedeplein, or "the Merry" as Anne called it), in part part of the same building.

Impressions of the Merwedeplein in 2001 This is from our email correspondence. The part in [] is my note. (There is also a map on page 46 of Anne Frank: Beyond the Diary, a photographic remembrance.)

Suzanne Morine wrote:
> Cool idea. Was it interesting -- have the buildings remained?

Yes! Everything is still there! The large building in the middle where Anne and her friends used to meet and where they'd store their bicycles.

The middle triangle section is still grass, however it is lined with trees and benches and there is a play area complete with a sandbox.

Her balcony is still there (which you can see in the moving footage of her [in the Anne Frank CD and I think it's also in the Anne Frank video]) as well as the numbered sign and railing going up the steps to her apartment.

There is nothing, however, to indicate that such an important person ever lived there.

It's odd how life just goes on as normal there. On the railing there were some pink ribbons tied - left overs from a recent birthday party no doubt. In the play area there were some toys left half buried in the dirt.

But still - you could imagine Anne skipping along and trying to whistle (though unsuccessfully with her overbite) the secret tune they agreed upon as a 'calling' for everyone to come out and play.

Perhaps the greatest thing that still remains is the store where Anne first saw the diary. (Which was actually an autograph book)

She saw it in a store window around the corner from her apartment on Waalstraat and told her parents that's what she wanted.

[See p. 139 of Anne Frank: The Biography, by Müller, however, the more recent version of this book, currently only available in Dutch, has removed this information as it is rather unfounded. Pages 32-3 of The Footsteps of Anne Frank stated this is where Anne's diary was purchased, but the source of this information is not given. In fact, Anne's 20 Oct 1942 diary entry (in the original unedited diary) implied the diary came from a downtown shop called Perrij's (Perry's in English). Anne did mention this shop (then called Blankevort's Subscription Library) as where a box came from (20 June 1942, available in CE89 p. 186]

I decided to try to find where that was - and to my surprise - the book store still remains. Although the store clerk confirmed it was indeed the store where Anne's diary was purchased, there was no signs or indications of it. I thought that was a shame!

Anyway... it all had a kind of magic to it for me.

The Anne Frank House is the museum in the building where they hid (263 Prinsengracht). The photographer said the museum store has a wealth of books and other items, such as the Anne Frank House CD-ROM.

Related links:

The Arial Reconnaissance Archives includes free arial images of the annexe area from August 1944. The 4033 link includes the secret annexe — too small to see — on 3 Aug 1944 (the day before the raid on the secret annexe). That image is upside down.
    The zoom link on the page is a more detailed image of the area, but you will need to sign up to something to see the zoom. I am told the image is impressively detailed.

More info at the BBC site.

Images of their apartment (where the Franks lived before going into hiding) on youtube.

26 June 2013