Anne Frank Diary Reference

Overview: Anne and Her Diaries

Anne Frank was a girl living in Amsterdam during WWII. She received a diary for her thirteenth birthday (12 June 1942) and immediately started using it. Because of the anti Jewish decrees by the occupying Nazi German army, her parents had made plans to go into hiding if things would get much worse. When they learned that their other daughter, Margot, was to be sent away, they went through with the plan (6 July 1942). Anne took along her diary.
    The hiding place was in a back extension to the building where Mr. Frank worked (address: 263 Prinsengracht, in Amsterdam). Their family was in hiding with four others and they were all helped by friends who had been working for Mr. Frank in the main building. They all kept everyone outside this circle (except Mr. Pfeffer's girlfriend) in the dark about their whereabouts. They did not write letters or send messages. They did not risk going outside. They were in hiding for about two years, until the Nazis found out about them, raided their hiding place (4 Aug 1944), and sent them to concentration camps. All but Anne's father were sooner or later killed, or died due to terrible conditions.
[The three bound diaries found and the loose sheets, from description.]     During the period of hiding, the Frank's friends found fresh diaries for Anne whenever she would fill one. They also kept a radio so they could keep up with news from outside. Among the dreary news reports one day (28 March 1944), was someone's speech about how, someday, after the war was over, people may want to read war diaries.
    Anne, who wanted to be a journalist or writer, was very interested in this. She had been writing short stories and essays as well as diary entries. She imagined that a tale or diary of someone in hiding would be interesting to read if you weren't living it. She started re-writing her old diary entries, sticking to the original content, sometimes adding overlooked details, and occasionally omitting personal things. (The Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation, via handwriting analysis, concluded that she worked especially hard on this from 15 July 1944, on.) She even outlined a plan for name changes. She had almost got through re-writing the third diary when the hiding place was raided.
    Anne was keeping all of her writing efforts together in an old briefcase (in case a fire broke out, for easy grab-and-run). She had four diaries and hundreds of pages of loose paper (the loose sheets were the re-writes of the diary, and most of her short stories and essays). During the raid, while waiting for the truck to take away the eight prisoners (plus two of the helpers), the Nazi officers dumped out the contents of the old briefcase, and put the valuables they had been stealing into it.
    After the Franks and their friends were taken away and the officers had left, the two secretaries and the warehouseman — they weren't taken away — collected all of the diaries and pages that they could find in the pillaged hiding place. (One of the diaries [the second] was missing, however. Also, they did not retrieve Margot's diary — it's possible that only Anne knew she kept one, too.) This way, when the Nazis' moving van later came along to steal the furniture and everything from the hiding place, they did not get Anne's diaries and other writings. (The Nazis did not, in general, overlook diaries. They took them.) The secretaries had been friends of Anne's entire family and were helpers to the eight in hiding. Everyone knew that Anne's writing was very important to her. They looked forward to the end of the war and the day they'd reunite Anne with her writing efforts (kept private, unread, and safe).
    When Anne's father returned, he was relieved to learn that the two helpers who had been arrested with them survived. He searched for word of what became of his family members. Shortly after he learned of Anne's death (typhus and starvation in Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp), the secretaries gave him Anne's writings. He read them all and started trying to get people to publish her re-written diary: he wanted to fulfill her plans to publish it. Eventually he succeeded, and this book is Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, which is the version of the diary that most people have read.
[Removal demanded by the Anne Frank House Lawyers.]     In 1980, Otto Frank died. He had left the diaries and writings to The Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation. The institute did document dating and handwriting analyses (found it authentic) and published the original diaries, with the re-writes. That book is The Diary of Anne Frank: the Critical Edition, which also includes historical background and facts surrounding Anne's life, as well as a report on the handwriting and document analyses.
    Regarding the completeness of content of The Critical Edition, only a few short parts of the diary were omitted due to a personal nature (about people still living and not related to the Franks). In 1998, Cor Suijk revealed that five pages were kept secret longer than the rest of the diary. Otto had given him the pages to hold for him and it seemed to him time to release them. Excerpts of the pages were published online and they are mentioned in Anne Frank: The Biography, by Melissa Müller and The Hidden Life of Otto Frank, by Carol Ann Lee. In these pages, Anne criticized her father's marriage choice. It is apparent that, while Mr. Frank didn't want these diary statements made public in his lifetime, he also did not want to destroy them for all time. That is, apparently Mr. Frank had wanted them to be released only if this was sufficiently long after his death.
    In addition to these publications, Anne's tales and essays are available in at least one book (Anne Frank's Tales from the Secret Annex translated by Michel Mok).

Suzanne Morine

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    The Diary of Anne Frank: the Critical Edition, prepared by the Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation, Doubleday.
    Also assorted other places mentioned in the Resources page, most notably an interview with Otto Frank about learning of his daughters' deaths, which I believe was in Anne Frank Remembered, the Disney Channel.     The photograph is from Anne Frank: Beyond the Diary, a Photographic Remembrance, by Ruud van der Rol and Rian Verhoeven for the Anne Frank House, Puffin Books.     Anne Frank: the Biography, by Melissa Müller (p. 209-212).