In October this year (2022) our first cohort of Anne Frank Ambassadors went on a study trip to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam as part of our Youth Empowerment Programme. 

Bringing together 16 young people from across England and Scotland, this trip allowed our Ambassadors to journey to the city where Anne Frank spent over two years in hiding, learning more about her story and the history of the Holocaust that drives their work as Ambassadors. 

Whilst visiting the Anne Frank House our Ambassadors also worked with the Anne Frank Youth Network based there. Deepening their understanding of what it was like to be Jewish under the Nazis and seeing how dangerous prejudice can be, they also explored the concept of identity and how we are all connected. The trip ended with a memory walk through the city, led by the Anne Frank House. This was a very powerful way for our Ambassadors to learn more about the Jewish history of Amsterdam. 

Here, Maddie, one of the young people who went on the trip, reflects on her experience. 


"Visiting the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam is an experience I will never forget, it makes me think about how lucky we are to live in a country where we aren’t persecuted for our religion or the way we choose to live our lives. We aren’t forced into hiding to live life a fraction of how life should be lived.

Going into hiding forced [Anne’s] family to give up everything they knew. I couldn’t imagine being told to pack only a few belongings to take with you and leaving everything else in your life behind. Giving up seeing your friends and family, going to school and just even going outside. The family’s thoughts and feelings during this time must have been so immense and incomparable to any other points in their lives.

We are so lucky to have Anne’s diary to document this time. Writing in her diary meant so much just like a best friend who you tell everything too. It was a way for her to document her thoughts and feelings when everything was such a whirlwind. She could read them back and make more sense of what was happening to her world and the horrors they were all facing. It was her lifeline in her life when there wasn’t much hope to hold on to. But she always did have hope and never gave up, I think that is the most impressive thing about Anne, even though she could have condemned lots of people living in the Netherlands at this time, she didn’t. She chose to see the best in people and that gives her and her family hope - the thing that keeps you going.

Anne’s diary gives us an insight into life for Jewish people in the Holocaust, and while it is a very saddening thing to read it is so beneficial. The diary shows how tough the regulations were especially in the run up of them going into hiding and when they would listen to the radio to hear the new laws coming into actions. There was a long list of rules for Jewish people and other groups that they had to follow. They came in so quickly one after the other - they couldn’t do basic things: “Jews cannot be doctors, Jews cannot vote, all Jewish pupils are expelled from schools.” They were ordered to wear the star of David on their clothes, among lots of other laws. These laws impacted Jewish people's lives so much and their lives were never the same again.

Many Jewish people were sent to concentration camps where the majority of them lost their lives. Antisemitism was at first “you may not live among us as Jews” but the Nazis made it “you may not live”. It affected every part of their life from education, to food, to profession.

During the Holocaust over 6 million Jewish people lost their lives. Antisemitism still exists in today’s society and we should learn from the Holocaust.. Antisemitism by definition is “hostility or prejudice against Jews”. We need to educate ourselves on antisemitism so we can help fight and prevent it."

Esha, another young person who went on the trip, wrote a poem in response to the experience, which you can read here:

The Hidden Truth by Esha