August 4th 2019. I look to the sky. Around me, people are dancing, going wild, celebrating love and acceptance in the country that was the first in the world to legalise gay marriage. We don’t have to hide, not here.
August 4th 1693. The day that, according to myth, champagne was invented. A happy bubbly drink, blending together with a happy and bubbly day 300 years later. But I can’t find that bubbly-ness in me. Not today.
Today, I will raise a glass while my mind wanders as I look to the sky above Dam square. My face for a second is solemn and in my mind there is just one sentence:
“[ik] zoek aldoor naar een middel om te worden, zoals ik zo erg graag zou willen zijn en zoals ik zou kunnen zijn, als… er geen andere mensen in de wereld zouden wonen.”
It’s the last thing she’ll ever say to us, to the world. On August 4th 1944 her pen was forever silenced, her voice followed only months later. We, 30 other researches and little old me, have researched the family of Anne Frank for so long now, they feel as if they’re part of our team. And on this day, the day they were betrayed and taken from their home, that betrayal feels as if we just lost eight dear colleagues. The question how they were found, that’s what drives us all. We want justice, even if it’s long overdue, for our “co-workers”. Justice for the girl who has become a beacon of hope to so many lost souls in this world. Souls that are standing, dancing, singing around me.
Many of us on this central square in the capitol of the Netherlands aren’t Jewish, some might be. Many of us weren’t discriminated, and definitely not hunted down because of who we are, and some of us might have been. But I see more lost looks than I would like to, and that makes me wonder how much the world has really changed.
Today, on this August 4th, it’s been 75 years since Anne Frank was taken from Amsterdam and eventually from the world. And how much has really changed?