Jun 14, 2008

Ice Cream On A Sunny Dutch Beach 1934

You may well wonder what prompted me to give this article such a title .... what would make me want to write about ice cream back in 1934 and on a Dutch beach of all places?

Well, I recently stumbled across a photograph on the web which stopped me in my tracks. It's a sepia toned photograph taken on the beach in Zandvoort (Netherlands) with four people in the picture all dressed for fun on the beach. There's a woman smiling and sitting on one of those wonderful big wicker chairs that you rarely see these days with another woman, obviously a mother, also smiling and sitting on the sand alongside her two young daughters. The girls are not looking at the camera though - they're busy concentrating on eating. The youngest girl in the middle appears to finishing off an ice cream cone.

It's a happy, almost idyllic photograph taken at a time when the world knew peace, at least for a while .... but this photograph holds a poignancy I've rarely experienced in an image. The young girl with the ice cream cone in one hand and the other hand on her mother's shoulder is none other than Anne Frank, just 5 years old. Beside her sits her elder sister Margot and the bespectacled lady in the wicker chair is Mrs. Schneider who worked for her father Otto Frank. They are on a day trip from Amsterdam. It is a picture of innocence and genuine happiness.

Little did the Frank family know the horrors that lay ahead for them and countless others and of course 5 year old Anne could not possibly have imagined that one day she would write the most well-known diary ever published. It is a sobering picture and one that should serve to remind us all that we should take pleasure in every moment and treasure all the simple pleasures of life - even enjoying an ice cream cone on a beach. View the photograph on this page about day trips from Zandvoort.

This week saw Anne Frank Day - Anne would have been 79 on Thursday (12 June). I was privileged some years ago to visit the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam and it is something I'll never forget. If you ever get the chance to go you should do so.

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