Keeping track of time in hiding was often a challenge, even for people who had access to radios, visitors, and sunlight. On August 10, 1943, Anne wrote:
We’ve all been a little confused this past week because our dearly beloved Westertoren bells have been carted off to be melted down for the war, so we have no idea of the exact time, either night or day. I still have hopes that they’ll come up with a substitute, made of tin or copper or some such thing, to remind the neighborhood of the clock.
The Westertoren bells are mentioned several times in Anne’s diary. The tower clock was one of the few things that could be seen from the attic of the hiding place, and several times Anne wrote that the chiming of the clock every quarter-hour gave her comfort.
Also known as Westerkerk, this Protestant church was very close to the house where Anne and eight others hid for for two years. Built in 1620-1631, the church and its bell tower occupy a unique place in the hearts of Amsterdammers. It is situated on the Eastern border of the Prinsengracht canal, and its 278 foot tower can be seen from many vantage points throughout the region.
The tower bears the symbol of the imperial crown of Maximilian of Austria, a gift given in gratitude for the city’s loyalty to the Austro-Burgundian princes. During the most recent renovations, finished in April, 2007, the tower’s crown and the city emblem regained their original blue colors instead of the yellow tones that were used beginning in 1906.
Interesting details about the building’s history can be found on the church’s website.
December 10, 2015 at 6:00 PM
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