Why Is There No Furniture in the Former Hiding Place of Anne Frank?

See what the hiding place of Anne Frank would have looked like with furniture

Anne Frank House

The room of Otto, Edith and Margot Frank - Anne Frank House by Cris Toala OlivaresAnne Frank House

Why is it unfurnished

‘Why is the former hiding place unfurnished?', is one of the frequently asked questions in the Anne Frank House. Otto Frank, Anne’s father, did not want to refurnish the former hiding place. In an interview in 1962, he said: ‘After the Anne Frank House had been restored, they asked me if I wanted to have the rooms refurnished. But I said, ‘No. They took everything out during the war, and I want to keep it that way.’’ 

Otto Frank and Johannes Weiss at the presentation of the modelsbij de maquette by Collection Anne Frank HouseAnne Frank House

Scale models

To give visitors an impression of what the rooms in the hiding place looked like furnished, Otto Frank commissioned a scale model, one of each floor. In the photo you can see him with Johannes Weiss, who made these models. They were a valuable source of information for the set of the Anne Frank video diary.

The set of the Anne Frank videodiary by Raymond van der BasAnne Frank House

Anne Frank video diary

The Anne Frank House, in collaboration with Every media, launched the YouTube series ‘Anne Frank video diary’. This is a photo of the set that was specially built for this series, since filming on location in the original hiding place is, for various reasons, not possible. The set was made up of the main rooms of Anne's former hiding place, life-size with correct measurements and  furnished based on sources at hand, such as Anne's Diary and the scale models. Obviously Anne did not record every item in the hiding place in her diary. At times we had to make an educated guess. 

Luna Cruz Perez (Anne Frank) on the set of the Anne Frank videodiary by Raymond van der BasAnne Frank House

From diary to camera

Starting point of the Anne Frank video diary was the idea that Anne did not get a diary for her 13th birthday, but a camera. She uses this camera to record her daily life, her thoughts and feelings in the hiding place. The photo shows Luna Cruz Perez (14) playing the part of Anne Frank in 'her' room on set. 

The room of Hermann and Auguste van Pels - on the set by Raymond van der BasAnne Frank House

The set

The set of the Anne Frank video diary allowed us to show you what the rooms would have looked like when Anne and the others were in hiding there. In the next photos you will first see the original room  in the actual Anne Frank House and after that what the same space looked like on set, furnished. This is the bedroom of Hermann and Auguste van Pels, which was also used as living room and kitchen for Anne and the others.

Movable bookcase - Anne Frank House by Cris Toala OlivaresAnne Frank House

The moveable bookcase - original

The bookcase in the Anne Frank House itself is one of the few original items that remained after the arrest of those in hiding. When Anne and the others arrived, there was a normal grey door. But their helpers thought that was too risky – the hiding place could easily be discovered – so they came up with the idea of putting a moveable bookcase in front of the door.

The movable bookcase - on the set by Raymond van der BasAnne Frank House

The moveable bookcase -  on set

For the series a replica bookcase was built and the space was made to look like an storeroom for files and records. 

The room of Anne Frank and Fritz Pfeffer - Anne Frank House by Cris Toala OlivaresAnne Frank House

The room of Anne Frank and Fritz Pfeffer - original

This is the room Anne had to share with Fritz Pfeffer, who came to the hiding place in November 1942. Before this Anne shared the room with her sister Margot. In the Anne Frank House you can still see the original pictures that Anne pasted on the walls. Over the years they have faded.

The room of Anne Frank and Fritz Pfeffer - on the set by Raymond van der BasAnne Frank House

The room of Anne Frank and Fritz Pfeffer - on set

For the series and creation of the set careful research was done and duplicates found of Anne’s pictures, to ensure it looked like it was in the period 1942 - 1944. There are quite a few details we have no knowledge of, eg what their beds looked like, what kind of lamps they had. What we do know is that Anne had to add some chairs to her bed, because it became too small for her. We also know that Fritz Pfeffer, who was a dentist, had one of the helpers bring some of his equipment to the hiding place in secret, such as a dentist drill. 

The bathroom - Anne Frank House by Cris Toala OlivaresAnne Frank House

The bathroom - original

The bathroom in the Anne Frank House. The sink and mirror are not original.

The bathroom - on the set by Raymond van der BasAnne Frank House

The bathroom - on set

While Anne and the others were in hiding there, they had to share the bathroom between the eight of them. In the evenings everything went according to a schedule, with Anne’s use of the bathroom between 9 and 9.30 pm. 

The room of Hermann and Auguste van Pels - Anne Frank House by Cris Toala OlivaresAnne Frank House

The living room, kitchen and bedroom of Hermann and Auguste van Pels - original

This was the room where those in hiding spent a lot of time. They had their meals here, listened to the radio, celebrated Jewish holidays… The kitchen counter is original. At night this room was transformed into the bedroom of Hermann and Auguste van Pels.

The room of Hermann and Auguste van Pels - on the set by Raymond van der BasAnne Frank House

The living room, kitchen and bedroom of Hermann and Auguste van Pels - on set

For the Anne Frank video diary, we added many items to make the place look like a living room, bedroom and kitchen. Luckily we could get some details from the scale model. 

Peter's Room - Anne Frank House by Cris Toala OlivaresAnne Frank House

Peter's room - original

Peter’s room with the original stairs to the attic. Anne was jealous of Peter van Pels, because he had a room of his own. On the left you can see a board game, similar to the one he received on his 16th birthday, while in hiding here.

Peter's room - on the set by Raymond van der BasAnne Frank House

Peter's room - on set

Anne gave Peter some pictures of movie stars to make his room look a bit more cheerful. Photos made in 1954 still show a couple of these pictures, but they have since disappeared. For the series we found duplicates and pasted them on the walls. As Peter would probably have had a few more, we took an ‘educated guess’ and added some. 

The attic - Anne Frank House by Cris Toala OlivaresAnne Frank House

The attic - original

This is the attic in the Anne Frank House. It is not open to visitors. The original stairs from Peter's room and the attic itself simply cannot cope with 1,3 million visitors a year.  

The attic - on the set by Raymond van der BasAnne Frank House

The attic - on set

For the Anne Frank video diary an attic in the city of Hoorn was found that could serve perfectly as a 'stand-in'. The attic was the place where Anne and Peter spent a lot of time and where Anne went daily to get some fresh air, longing to be free... 

Poster Anne Frank video diary by Meis & Jip, Anne Frank StichtingAnne Frank House

What if Anne Frank had a camera instead of a diary?

The YouTube series is called the 'Anne Frank video diary'. Curious? Watch it now!

Anne Frank video diary | Trailer | Anne Frank House, From the collection of: Anne Frank House
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Credits: Story

Curious about the series? Watch it on https://www.youtube.com/annefrank

Text:
Anne Frank House
https://www.annefrank.org/

Photos:
Raymond van der Bas
Cris Toala Olivares
Meis & Jip
Anne Frank Stichting

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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