The exhibition The other home of the Frank family gives an impression of the life of the Frank family at Merwedeplein, in the southern part of Amsterdam. In the 1930s, many Jewish families who didn’t see a future for themselves in Nazi Germany settled in this same neighbourhood.
The first years in Amsterdam
A number of 360-degree photos of the house were made especially for this exhibition. Visitors can pay a virtual visit to the house as it is today and listen to stories from the past. Special objects and unique documents illustrate the normality of the Frank family life in those first years in Amsterdam. Anne and Margot went to school, Otto worked hard to get his company off the ground, and Edith ran the household
Even so, Otto and Edith were very concerned about the family they had left behind in Nazi Germany, and they desperately tried to move away, first to Great Britain and later to the United States. Both attempts failed.
From Merwedeplein to Prinsengracht
After the German army had occupied the Netherlands and as Jews were increasingly being excluded from society, Otto and Edith Frank saw but one option to escape deportation: to go into hiding in Otto's company building on Prinsengracht. On 6 July 1942, the Frank family left their home at Merwedeplein for this hiding place. Otto Frank was the only one who would ever see their old home and neighbourhood again.
The story of the Frank family is only one of the many stories of families living at Merwedeplein at the time. Other Jewish families faced the same question of how to respond to the persecution. Some of them went into hiding, others joined the Resistance, but most of them just waited to see what would happen. The exhibition tells the story of seven other Jewish families who lived on the square.
We worked with historian Rian Verhoeven on the stories of these neighbours. Rian Verhoeven is the author of Anne Frank was not alone - Merwedeplein, 1933-1945, a book about Merwedeplein during the war.
The exhibition will be on view until June 30th.
Would you like to know more about the Frank family’s life on Merwedeplein? Historian Rian Verhoeven gives guided tours of the square and surrounding area which feature Anne Frank and her neighbours. Visit www.annefrankwalkingtour.com for more information.
Want to see more of Merwedeplein? Go to the Google Arts & Culture exhibition: