THE former classmate and friend of Anne Frank, Jacqueline van Maarssen has laid the first brick at a monument in Amsterdam to the 102,000 victims of the Holocaust with each brick bearing the name of one of the victims.
This concept was first promoted in 2006 and the 250-metre labyrinth of corridors was designed by Polish-American architect and child of holocaust survivors Daniel Libeskind, but was considerably delayed due to a court case brought by residents of the area.
They argued that the memorial was too large for the location and would cause problems for traffic especially as cars would slow down as they approached following formal approval being granted by Amsterdam Council in 2017.
It was only last year that the Dutch court confirmed consent for the project and work commenced in building the basic structure in June of this year.
The first brick laid by Jacqueline van Maarssen carries the name of Dina Frankenhuis who was killed at the Sobibor concentration camp aged just 20 and the list of victims includes Jews and Gypsies from Sinti and Roma backgrounds.
Anne Frank was born in Germany but her family moved to Holland due to the persecution of Jews and they hoped that they would be safer in the Netherlands.
Anne quickly assimilated, learning Dutch and making friends in school, so when the Germans invaded in 1940, she was just 11-years-old and as time passed so there were more and more restrictions imposed by the Nazi regime.
In 1942, she and her family as well as four others secreted themselves in a hidden annex in her father’s place of business and it was here that she started to keep her famous diary.
During the two years in hiding, Anne wrote about events in the secret annex, but also about her feelings and thoughts. In addition, she wrote short stories and started on a novel.
Suddenly on August 4, 1944, police raided the building and discovered all of those concealed and they were immediately sent to concentration camps although the diaries were saved.
Anne and her sister Margot both died of typhus in 1945 and the only survivor of the family was father Otto.