I went on a bus tour from Berlin to Amsterdam to satisfy my curiosity about one of the world’s most famous capitals. I was an exchange student in Germany and used my summer holidays to explore new places. The night-long journey was exhausting, but the sky blossomed into a beautiful sun-drenched September morning. The grand hauptbahnhof, or the main railway station, was our drop-off point. From there, we were free to explore Amsterdam as we pleased. I was delighted to observe that Amsterdam had trams and a chaotic traffic system similar to my hometown, Kolkata.
The most poignant detail of my Amsterdam visit was, of course, a trip to the Anne Frank museum. Here, pages from The Diary of Anne Frank came alive – the fake bookcase that swung open to reveal a flight of stairs that led to the rooms where the Frank family and a few others hid for two years, before they were betrayed to the Nazis and sent to concentration camps. Anne was fifteen when she died at Bergen Belsen concentration camp, but her extraordinary legacy, captured in the pages of her diary, lives on. Till date, her bedroom wall has the restored pictures of the movie stars she stuck there to make her room less squalid.
Not surprisingly, my heart became heavy after my visit to the museum. I could not get the young, spirited girl out of my mind, and the way she met her tragic end.