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Bugs & the Annex

Tuesday was a quiet day around Bunnik, then on Wednesday we took the train to Amsterdam to visit Anne Frank's House. Thanks to tickets booked online weeks ago we skipped the crowds and queues. No photos were allowed inside of course, and there is nothing really to see outside either (which was the point) but it was very moving to be so close to the life, fear and death of not just Anne but of the thousands murdered by the Nazis from this city alone. The evil in which ordinary people like us engaged is sobering. It is inescapable as you walk through these now empty rooms, looking at the images and stories of the people who lived there for two years, that these and their fellow victims were ordinary people.

What I was surprised by was the size of the annex: I had imagined some sort of large priest-hole, but these were ordinary-sized rooms (albeit small when considering the numbers of people living there). Despite being sandwiched within the odd-shaped, odd-sized buildings and broken roof-lines so pressed together, it is still surprising that they were not discovered for two years. Considering searching had failed to find them, it’s difficult to imagine it was not betrayal that saw them “exported” to their extermination camps on the last such train from Amsterdam. I am very thankful for the enterprise of Otto and the literary skills and drive of this young girl that brings such zest for life to the fore in the face of such overwhelming evil.

But before we went to the house we stopped at a Bagel café Priscilla and I had found last year. Last year my dear wife threatened to walk out if I ordered what attracted me on their menu. This time Priscilla let me try their special bagel, although she would not look: dried crickets, meal-worms and a grasshopper. Very crunchy!


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