Anne Frank House still stands as a grim reminder

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Chilling footage of a pile of emaciated, dehumanised bodies at the Bergen-Belsen Nazi concentration camp and a narrator's voice: "One of these many victims was Anne Frank".

This scene confronts visitors to the Amsterdam house where the Jewish teenager and her family hid from the Nazis for two years before they were betrayed and carted off to concentration camps in 1944 when she was 15.

In the next room of the Anne Frank House museum, 50 years old next week: four large photographs of a seemingly care-free, smiling Anne before going into hiding and starting the diary that has made her a household name.

"People need concrete stories to be able to identify with the gravity of what happened," Hans Westra, director of the Anne Frank Foundation that runs the museum, told AFP.

"Anne Frank's story is a story that touches people. They can get an image from it, a feeling."

Anne, 15, and her sister Margot, 19, died of typhus at Bergen-Belsen in Germany in March 1945, just a few weeks before the camp was liberated by the British Army.

Their mother, Edith, died at Auschwitz.

Father Otto Frank was the only one of the eight people hiding in the annexe to survive World War II, later editing Anne's diary for publication and working with the foundation. He died in 1980 aged 91.

Pictures and interviews displayed in the house portray a mischievous, intelligent girl struggling with adolescent issues in unusual circumstances - battling to remain positive in the face of food shortages, household squabbles and the constant fear of being caught.

"We have to whisper and tread lightly during the day, otherwise the people in the warehouse (downstairs) might hear us," Anne wrote on July 11, 1942. Her diary, first published in 1947, has sold more than 35 million copies in 70 languages.

A tour of the complex where Anne chronicled her life begins in the canal-side office building of Otto Frank's company, where he worked until the family went into hiding in a secret annexe in the back - aided by his colleagues.

Up two steep flights of stairs, one stoops through the entrance to the annexe which is hidden behind a bookshelf with office files, swinging open on a hinge.

Walking on squeaky floor boards in the room shared by Otto, Edith and Margot Frank, visitors see the map of Normandy on which Otto kept track of the Allied forces' progress with drawing pins.

Next to it, pencil lines on the wall measured the Frank children's growth during the hiding period.

"I long to ride a bike, dance, whistle, look at the world, feel young and know that I'm free," reads a diary entry from December 24, 1943, inscribed on the wall of the room that Anne shared with family friend Fritz Pfeffer.

The windows blacked out and the room artificially lit, the walls of the room are full of postcards, photos and magazine clippings of royals, children, landscapes and movie stars that Anne glued there.

The two-storey annexe, also shared by Auguste and Hermann van Pels and their teenaged son Peter, Anne's love interest, contains no furniture.

"Otto believed the house should be empty. He said: "I was taken away, my family was taken away, the furniture was taken away. The emptiness symbolises what happened to us, and what happened in this place'," explained Westra.

First opened on May 3, 1960, the museum will mark its anniversary on Wednesday with Dutch Queen Beatrix opening a diary room where all of Anne's original writings will be on display together for the first time.

Attracting a million visitors a year, the museum plans to launch an online 3-D tour of the secret annexe and has launched projects on YouTube and Facebook in a bid to remain relevant to its younger audience.

"We want to bring the story of Anne Frank to the whole world," said Westra.

"We want to remind people of the fragility of democracy, the fragility of human rights."

Near the end of the tour, a big book in a glass case lists the more than 102,000 Dutch Jews killed in Nazi camps.

On page 209 the name: "Frank, Annelies Marie."

"I want to go on living even after my death!" Anne had written four months before her capture.

Fifty-five years later, in 1999, Time magazine named her one of its Most Important People of the Century, stating: "With a diary kept in a secret attic, she braved the Nazis and lent a searing voice to the fight for human dignity."

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