Wednesday, July 19, 2017 2:20 PM
“I have just realized how special it is that I can be in Israel. Anne Frank had never been allowed to experience this, which gives me a great responsibility to ensure that Israel remains.”
On July 11, the Maccabiah delegation from Holland visited the Anne Frank Memorial – situated in Martyrs’ Forest in the Jerusalem Hills – with KKL-JNF. For some of the team members, it was their first time in Israel. The powerful steel monument at the heart of the memorial was created in 2011 thanks to JNF Holland.
The 20th Maccabiah, also known as the ‘Jewish Olympic Games’, has come to a close. Between the 5-18th of July, 10000 Jewish athletes from 80 countries came to Israel to participate in 3000 tournaments for 47 different sports.
The Dutch delegation consisted of sixty participants this year, including medical staff and the board. The Netherlands participated in men’s and women’s hockey, swimming, chess, bridge, cycling, the half marathon and karate.
For many of the Dutch participants, it was the first time they visited Israel. For that reason, the Dutch Maccabiah organization and KKL-JNF decided to organize a visit for the team to the Anne Frank Memorial Park
, a forest park planted in the Jerusalem Hills in1960 to commemorate Anne Frank. This young girl would leave a powerful legacy after the diary she kept while spending her teenage years in hiding was discovered and published. She perished in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany in 1945. Otto Frank, her father, planted the first tree in the forest.
In May 2011, with the support of JNF Holland
, a special monument was created symbolizing Anne’s life during her years in hiding. The installation is made of steel, depicting the edges of a cube. On one side, the cube is filled in, with small spaces showing between the branches of a stylized chestnut tree. Anne Frank looked out from her little room in the back of the house on a chestnut tree, a small piece of the nature and freedom that she so desperately longed for. Her monument is stands in the middle of Israel’s nature and depicts so well the feeling of constraint and the longing for freedom.The visit to the park moved the Dutch delegation deeply.
“I have just realized how special it is that I can be in Israel,” said one of the young team members. “Anne Frank had never been allowed to experience this, which gives me a great responsibility to ensure that Israel remains.”
Another sportsman said: “The JNF has developed the country in the past and continues to do so. I’ve read and heard about it, but now that I’m here in this park, I simply understand what an amazing wonder has taken place.”
Another youngster added, “This park and monument is about the past, the present and the future.”
One by one, the youngsters read aloud parts of Anne Frank’s diary that are shown along the route towards the monument. “It felt like she was with us. Like we gave her back her life, here in our own country.”
Liri Eitan-Drai of KKL-JNF’s Netherlands and Nordic Countries Desk said that the visit was truly special, as she had the opportunity to acquaint the delegation with the activities of KKL-JNF in Israel and Holland, particularly with this project.
“I think we shared a very powerful moment in which Dutch youth enjoyed this beautiful project. Notwithstanding the fact it tells the story of a tragic chapter in the history of the Jewish people, it also contains a message of hope and of love between people and nature,” she said.
, the Director of JNF Holland, added: “Israel and KKL-JNF are one. You cannot visit the country without visiting a KKL-JNF project. KKL-JNF was and still is essential for the development of Israel. With the help of many donors, we plant trees
, maintain forests, optimize water usage
and make the desert bloom. You can tell the story many times, but it is only when you see it with your own eyes that you become aware of the importance of our work and the incredible results. I am really pleased that the Dutch Maccabiah organization has made KKL-JNF part of its trip.”