Amsterdam , 6/12/2012
On 12 June 1942 Anne Frank celebrated her thirteenth birthday. Her parents gave her a diary with a red checked cover, her favourite present. “I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support”, Anne wrote in her diary the same day. Today marks what would have been Anne Frank’s 83rd birthday, and seventy years since she was given her first diary.
The red checked diary was not really a surprise. Anne had chosen it the day before in the bookshop around the corner from their house on the Merwedeplein square. Anne began the diary with her life story, and with profiles of her classmates. A few weeks after her thirteenth birthday, on 6 July 1942, Anne went into hiding in the ‘secret annexe’ at her father’s business on the Prinsengracht canal. Her diary was the first thing she packed. It became her best friend, and would remain so for over two years.
The Anne Frank House has recently launched the mobile app Anne’s Amsterdam, which you can use to explore the history of Anne Frank and her contemporaries at thirty locations around Amsterdam. You see stories, films and photos from the past at the same locations today. On and around the Merwedeplein square you can see the only moving images of Anne Frank, an interview with her neighbour and friend Hanneli Goslar and a photo of the Blankevoort bookshop where Anne bought her red checked diary. You can pick up the images and stories and collect them in a digital album on your mobile phone. The items you pick up are linked to the website Anne Frank’s Amsterdam, where you can find more information.