My husband and I recently returned from a long anticipated trip to Ireland and Amsterdam. Ireland was all and more than I expected it to be with wonderful people and beautiful countryside…and we missed the rain!
In Amsterdam we visited the Anne Frank House which is a moving experience. One single person sharing her story has captured the suffering of countless others whose faces have remained in the shadows.
One of the most powerful parts of this experience was interactive videos clips that were shown at the end of the exhibits. Well-produced, short video clips depicting issues from current events around the world. After each clip there was the opportunity to vote “yes” or “no” on the question posed. Surprisingly I found the questions were very difficult to answer because they involved weighing the rights of one group over another group, stigma and persons acting out of fear rather than understanding. Do we protect the civil rights of all persons including those groups that preach hatred and insight violence through fear?
As you entered this section of the museum, there is a wall that states, More Than a Museum. One the wall is a quote by Anne Frank’s father. “We can’t change what happened anymore. The only thing we can do is to learn from the past and to realize what discrimination and persecution of innocent people means. I believe it’s everyone’s responsibility to fight prejudice.”
Anne Frank’s father was instrumental in setting up the Anne Frank House. He wrote, “The Anne Frank House is meant to be and will be an instrument to build a better world and to work against persecution, discrimination and fear.”
I couldn’t help but think about the many persons around the world who suffer the stigma of mental illness because of fear and because of the lack of knowledge about these illnesses. This experience affirms the power of sharing our story and that through education we can work together to fight persecution, discrimination and fear.
The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy
is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone
with the heavens, nature and God.
Anne Frank, February 17, 1944.