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History Archives - Ruth Chesney
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Anne Frank’s Journey, Part 3 – Auschwitz-Birkenau

In this final post of the three-part series about Anne Frank’s journey, guest blogger Chloe Smyth recounts her recent visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where Anne Frank and the other inhabitants of the Secret Annex were sent after Westerbork transit camp.

In February of this year, I had the amazing opportunity to visit Krakow with my school. On the second day of our trip to Krakow we went to Auschwitz, a concentration camp to which innocent people, mainly Jews, were transported by the German Nazis.READ MORE

Anne Frank’s Journey, Part 2 – Camp Westerbork

This is the second of a three-part series about the places Anne Frank stayed from when they went into hiding in 1942 until her death in the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen in 1945. Camp Westerbork, a former transit camp, is located in the north-east of Holland, near the village of Hooghalen.

The rain falls in sheets, dripping off the tall trees and turning the path into a dirty track. I huddle under an umbrella and wrap my flimsy raincoat tighter around me. My feet are wet and dirty in my peep-toe pumps. I’m certainly not dressed for the conditions.READ MORE

Anne Frank’s Journey, Part 1 – The Secret Annex

Earlier this year, I was privileged to visit the beautiful country of Holland and, while there, I finally realised a life-long ambition – visiting the Anne Frank House. I also had the opportunity to see Camp Westerbork, in the east of the country, where all the Dutch prisoners (Jews, resistance workers and others) were taken before they were transported to concentration camps in other parts of Europe.

This is the first of a three-part series where we will be following Anne Frank’s journey, from the Secret Annex in Amsterdam to Camp Westerbork, and onwards to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Anne died in March 1945 in Bergen-Belsen.

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Ugly Monuments, Beautiful Acts

Sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, swift incoming tides, leafy lanes, green fields with pretty Jersey cows – this little island packs more into its nine miles by five than one could ever imagine. Last week, I visited for the fourth time and was struck again by its beauty. The scenery is stunning, a feast for the eyes.

Dotted over the island are certain buildings which mar the beauty, stark reminders of a time when Jersey wasn’t a peaceful place, instead shut to visitors and a virtual prison for the Jersey people. I guess I had always known that the island had been occupied by the Germans for five years during World War Two, but it wasn’t something that I’d thought much about as a child. This time, I noticed the bunkers and the lookout towers, placed in idyllic surroundings like La Corbière, where the Victorian lighthouse stands, a warning beacon to ships of the dangers of the wild and rocky shores. READ MORE