People who work at the Anne Frank House talk about their experiences. Here, Anja van ’t Hoenderdaal tells about a very special group she received at the Anne Frank House.

A special group in the museum

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Anja van ’t Hoenderdaal is educator in the Group Visits department. She sees plenty of school groups every month. But sometimes one of them is very special.

Exhibitions and activities worldwide

The Anne Frank House is active in more than fifty countries with exhibitions and educational projects.

Exhibitions and activities worldwide

Recently there was cause for celebration in the museum. For the 40th consecutive year the Anne Frank School from Heemskerk  came for an educational program. This special event was something to celebrate. We did this together with the retired headmaster George Paauw (84 years old) who started the visits 40 years ago and the present headmaster and his pupils. Several retired teachers also joined the group. They had all visited the Anne Frank House with their pupils over the years. 

Kind speech

George Paauw gave a very kind speech . He thanked the Anne Frank House for all the visits over the years. ‘We always felt so welcome.’ The pupils  were also made to feel special and were treated to sweets and lemonade. It was  special moment for me too. I’ve been receiving groups for many years now and these personal contacts make my work very special:  I cherish them.

Every group is different

The variation makes my job fun and exciting. Each group is different and I work with adults as well as children. For each group there are specially adapted programs. During a program I like to enter into discussion with ‘my ‘ group. That’s easier with some groups than others but always a challenge. I really want them to learn something: that to be able to live in a free and tolerant society is important for everyone. I’ve remained somewhat idealistic. Of course a lesson in a museum should always be an event that they always remember. I’m really pleased when a pupils thanks me and says: “It was an interesting day!’

Group visit Teacher training group visits the Anne Frank House

Deep impression

Why did I come to work at the Anne Frank House? Perhaps it had to do with my father who was imprisoned in Camp Amersfoort during World War Two. He went into hiding to avoid being sent to work in Germany but he was arrested. His time in the camp affected him for the rest of his life. He suffered mentally and physically and this made a deep impression on me as a child.

Still relevant

That’s why I always tell the groups that I receive that  freedom, equal rights and democracy are not self evident for everyone. Not only in the past but today too. The educational activities of the Anne Frank House are still very relevant for today and this is demonstrated by the fact that schools come back year after year.  This appreciation and regard for our work motivates me to continue with my work!

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