Testimonies of the human spirit

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal
LRSC educator Teresa Tande is pictured with former LRSC student Leonie de Jonge at Anne Frank's House in Amsterdam. Tande said, "We chose to take it in front of the door that Anne would have entered carefree so many times before they went into hiding."

Upcoming trip to focus on different side of WWII

The ink on their passports is barely dry from their recent trip to Europe, but Lake Region State College educators Teresa Tande and Nicole Claussen are already busy planning the next adventure.

The LRSC Diversity and Humanities Division will be hosting a trip to Amsterdam and Berlin in May 2013 to follow the path of Anne Frank.

Frank was a Jewish victim of the Holocaust who stayed hidden in a secret room of her father's office building for more than two years before being discovered by the Nazis. Her brother, Otto Frank, was the only member of the family to survive the war. Her diary, which details her life in hiding, was published and has been the topic of many plays and films.

Tande said she had the opportunity to visit Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam about a year ago and was overwhelmed when she stepped inside.

“It's bigger than one would think,” she noted. “It's so wide open, when you look out the windows at all the activity outside, I can't imagine the fear.”

She continued, “The one thing that moved me beyond tears were the pencil marks of how much Anne, Margot and Peter had grown in the two years they were there.”

Tande was invited to Amsterdam by Leonie de Jonge, a student from Luxembourg who was attending LRSC, and she was given many viewpoints on the war.

“Leoni's grandmother came from Holland and told me what it was like to be in occupied Netherlands,” said Tande.

She said the woman told of the rations, and the fear, and the hope that someday they would be rescued.

“There were 50 to 60 of them hiding in a basement,” Tande recalled. “She said they practiced forever in English to say, 'We have been waiting for you.'”

Tande said she is hoping the woman will share those stories with the LRSC group next spring, along with other testimonies of the human spirit.

“The concentration camp will be horrible, but we don't want to dwell on it,” said Claussen. “We want to focus more on the resilience of people and how they grew stronger by it.”

In addition to Anne Frank's home, concentration camp and grave, the group will visit the Berlin Wall, a number of noted museums and several other historical places.

Want to go along?

Tande said students planning to attend must take one humanities class, either HUMS 251 or HUMS 252, or ENGL 220, Introduction to (Holocaust) Literature. Three credits will be awarded to all students who travel to Europe and financial aid may be used to help fund the trip.

Community members who wish to attend are also welcome.

“If community people are going we will hold a workshop to get them up to speed,” she said.

Claussen said the trip involves a full agenda with a lot of walking, but is well worth it for those able to come.

“We're not travel agents,” Tande said. “It's educational first and foremost and because they're college students, we try to get a lot in.”

Occupancy for the trip is limited, so those planning to attend are encouraged to sign up right away.

For more information about the trip, contact Tande at (701) 662-1656 or Claussen at (701) 662-1568.