Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jewish Amsterdam

Lily and I have been getting our share of Jewish Amsterdam these last couple of days. According to Wikipedia, "Amsterdam has historically been the center of the Dutch Jewish community, and has had a continuing Jewish community for the last 370 years." The Portuguese Synagogue website says, "When Nazi Germany invaded Holland in 1940 there were around 140,000 Jews living here, some 120,000 of whom lived in Amsterdam... After the war there were only 20,000 Jews left in Holland... At present there are between 20,000 and 25,000 Jews in Holland, around 15,000 to 20,000 in Amsterdam." 

Yesterday, Lily and I made our way down to the Waterlooplein - in the old Jewish quarter. After checking out the Rembrandt huis, where Rembrandt used to work as an art dealer and painter, we headed over for a quick tour of the Portuguese Synagogue. The Sephardic Synagogue which was amazingly undamaged during the German occupation, was built in the early 1670's, and is quite beautiful inside. While there was very little light in the main sanctuary, some nice light was streaming in the windows of the women's area on the upstairs balcony, where I shot this man. 
Today Lily and I got up early so that we wouldn't have to stand in line for the Anne Frank Huis... which often has lines wrapping around the block! We were there about 8:45 am and the doors opened at 9, so thankfully we didn't have to wait very long as it has been a fairly cold and rainy week here in A'dam. It was amazing to be in the place I'd read about so long ago in the Diary of Anne Frank, and was one of the reasons I was interested in this city in the first place! I bought a copy of the book, in English of course, so that I can reread it while I am still here. It is pretty incredible though that one little girl who documented her family's attempts at hiding from the Nazis could easily be considered the face of the ridiculous number of Jews from Amsterdam who perished during the genocide. I was not allowed to take photos of the exhibit, but did snap this shot of people standing in line to get inside from the cafe conveniently located at the end of the tour.
I'm going to run now... it's Lily's last night here, and I want to spend as much time as possible with her! We've had a wonderful week together.

Hope everyone is having an enjoyable summer!

Goede dag! - T

No comments: