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Anne Frank

Anne Frank


Anne Frank


Annelies Marie "Anne" Frank (German pronunciation: [ʔanəliːs maˈʁiː ˈʔanə ˈfʁaŋk] Dutch pronunciation: [ʔɑnəˈlis maˈri ˈʔɑnə ˈfrɑŋk] 12 June 1929 – February or March 1945[4]) was a German-born diarist. One of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust, she gained fame posthumously with the publication of The Diary of a Young Girl (originally Het Achterhuis English: The Secret Annex), in which she documents her life in hiding from 1942 to 1944, during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. It is one of the world's most widely known books and has been the basis for several plays and films.

Born in Frankfurt, Germany, she lived most of her life in or near Amsterdam, Netherlands, having moved there with her family at the age of four and one-half when the Nazis gained control over Germany. Born a German national, Frank lost her citizenship in 1941 and thus became stateless. By May 1940, the Franks were trapped in Amsterdam by the German occupation of the Netherlands. As persecutions of the Jewish population increased in July 1942, the family went into hiding in some concealed rooms behind a bookcase in the building where Anne's father worked. From then until the family's arrest by the Gestapo in August 1944, Anne kept a diary she had received as a birthday present, and wrote in it regularly. Following their arrest, the Franks were transported to concentration camps. In October or November 1944, Anne and her sister, Margot, were transferred from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where they died (probably of typhus) a few months later. They were originally estimated by the Red Cross to have died in March, with Dutch authorities setting 31 March as their official date of death, but research by the Anne Frank House in 2015 suggests they more likely died in February.[4]

Frank's father, Otto, the only survivor of the family, returned to Amsterdam after the war to find that her diary had been saved by one of the helpers, Miep Gies, and his efforts led to its publication in 1947. It was translated from its original Dutch version and first published in English in 1952 as The Diary of a Young Girl, and has since been translated into over 60 languages.


Anne Frank's diary is a fraud! A look at Anne Frank denial and the myths surrounding her

Firstly I would like to point out this is adapted from a blog post I wrote a while back, I hope this is not frowned upon (I won't link the blog, but to prove I'm not ripping it off some random blog on the internet I can provide evidence it's actually mine if asked).

Anyway. After seeing yet another post with a dangerous misconception about Anne Frank and her diary, I thought I would share this with you, my first post here.

The focus is this graphic, which circles around less reputable parts of the internet but the myths of which I have seen elsewhere. I will also have a quick look at the other common lies, myths and misconceptions surrounding Anne and her diary.

This is bad history, because, succinctly, it is full of lies, half-truths and misconceptions - and pushes that as fact, to further an agenda (Holocaust denial).

In 1980, as a result of a lawsuit in a German court, the German state forensic bureau (Bundes Kriminal Amt [BKA]), forensically examined the original “diary” manuscript. The analysis determined that “significant” portions of the work was written with a fine ballpoint pen. Fine ballpoint pens were not available before 1951 portions of the work was [sic] added well after the war (Anne Frank died in March 1945).

So what’s the source for this? Of course none is provided in the image, but a search reveals it to be taken from a website that cites Ditlieb Felderer as the source.

Felderer is an interesting character. It would be wrong to say he has been discredited as, well, he doesn’t seem to have ever been credited. His book in which he attempts to expose the diary, Diary of Anne Frank- A Hoax? is a bizarre, rambling and at times sickening publication that does more to probe in Felderer’s own mind than the diary itself. He goes into strange detail about Jews and sexuality. And since it was published, his claims have been discredited by actual academics. It is not, to be succinct, a valid source.

But to take on this point about the ballpoint pen anyway, as it is frequently repeated. The BKA report – which consisted of just four pages – reported everything matter-of-factly. Yes – there were ballpoint pen markings in the diary. These had in fact been written in the 1960’s by a woman carrying out graphological investigations into it. [1]

The other ballpoint amendments were page numbers written onto the sheets and some minor corrections. All ballpoint amendments differ dramatically from Anne’s handwriting, as was confirmed later. The West German police had also reported that ’emendations’ and ‘corrections’ were made to some of the pages of Anne’s diary. [2] This was also correct. Anne went over her own work as she believed that one day it may be published.

The BKA also determined that NONE of the “diary” handwriting matched known examples of Anne’s handwriting.

The BKA report did not attempt to measure the authenticity of the diary as a whole, only if the pages were written at the time they were claimed to have been. [3]

Earlier handwriting experts had already determined ALL of the writing in the “diary” was the same hand. Hence, the “diary” was a postwar construct.

Indeed, previous graphological investigators did determine all the writing was in the same hand.

Their investigation was in part a result of the differing handwriting like that here which often excites deniers. Unsurprisingly, as was discovered, the handwriting of a teenager changes.

Many false claims about the BKA report probably originate from a Der Spiegel article which used misleading language to suggest the report cast doubt upon the authenticity of the diary. It was in part these doubts that led to, in 1986, the Dutch Institute for War Documentation carrying out a full investigation into the authenticity of the diary. It found that the diary was authentic. [3]

The true author of the diary was a man, Meyer Levin. He demanded payment for his work in a court action against Anne’s father, Otto Frank. Meyer Levin was awarded $50,000 and the matter was resolved quietly.

Nope. After the war, Levin was asked by Otto Frank to write a play based on the diary, but a dispute about which direction the play should take led to a fall-out. Frank instead turned to Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett to move the play forwards. Levin sued for plagiarism from his writing, and did indeed win $50,000 – but this court decision was later reversed. [4]

So what else is there in the way of Anne Frank denial? Well, not a lot.

The Anne Frank Foundation admitted that Otto co-authored the diary clearly he manipulated it

The first part is true. In 2015 there was a copyright controversy concerning the diary. The Anne Frank Foundation listed Otto Frank as a co-author.

There really isn’t much evidence that he heavily manipulated the diary. What Otto did do was edit it substantially, as the Foundation claimed. [5]

Also, remember that there was not one ‘diary.’ Version A is the original, the bound diary that Anne was gifted and first wrote in. In early 1944, Anne began reorganising her writings onto sheets of paper. This was in light of an announcement over radio asking for diaries after the war had ended and is referred to as B. After Anne’s death, Otto combined the two versions, removing some pages and deciding whether to include the version of events from A or B. Otto’s version is C. The removed pages were later published.

The listing of Otto as co-author will extend the copyright the Foundation has over the writing. The cynical would see this as the reason.

The writing is too mature for a young girl

As far as I am aware, David Irving (the disgraced Holocaust denier) has only significantly written on Anne Frank once, in a letter to a student in 1986. [6] The letter repeats in various forms the myths and lies above, but is also brings up an interesting point:

‘I was rather suspicious of the content of the Frank diary when I read excerpts… [they] struck me as written too maturely for a girl who was only about thirteen at the time.’

Note that he says ‘excerpts.’ Irving admits:

‘I have never read the whole thing — life is too short for that…’

That should tell you everything, but let’s continue. Could such writings as

‘I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions…’

really be the work of a young girl?

Well, yes. Anne goes through quite a transformation in her writings. Take into account that her diary was one of her few joys in the annex – naturally, when writing in it so much, her writing would mature and become more complex. If one, unlike Irving, actually reads the entire diary, this becomes obvious. Anne’s earlier writings are much less mature and developed, discussing gossipy teenage girl subjects.

The diary was greatly manipulated or even written by Albert Cauvern

Albert Cauvern was a close friend of Otto Frank. He was brought into the limelight during the trial of Lothar Stielau in 1958, who had claimed the diary was ‘fake.’ When he realised that he didn’t have much of an argument, Stielau – to much amazement – changed his argument to that the diary was ‘seriously altered.’ A significant part of this argument used an article in Der Spiegel in which Cauvern had mentioned that ‘at the beginning I made a good many changes.’ Stielau expanded by concluding that the diary had been edited by Cauvern. In reality – and in the opinion of the court – Cauvern had edited spelling and grammar mistakes, not anything else. [7]

Where did the new pages come from?

Five new pages were added to the diary in 2001. Why had these pages not been included with the rest of the diary previously? The answer is that Otto did not want anyone to read them, as they featured some unpleasant mentions of his first wife. He therefore turned them over to his friend Cor Suyk, who gave them to the Dutch government a few years after Otto’s death. [8] Really, why would some Jewish puppet-masters perpetuating an apparent lie be so stupid as to insert extra pages after the event?

The occupants could not have lived as they did the diary contains ‘continuity errors’

Anne claims that ‘during the daytime we can’t make any noise that might be heard downstairs’ and that the annex has ‘thin walls.’ Robert Faurisson put great effort into taking these quotes and finding every other quote in the diary which mentions noise.

For example, at one point Mrs. van Daan uses a vacuum cleaner, which Faurisson is keen to point out would have been extraordinarily noisy. However, he ignores quotes immediately afterwards that the warehousemen had gone home.

This cherry-picking is evident throughout his work. Faurisson also writes that the use of electric lights and candles would be something that would clearly give the Franks away to neighbours. This claim is laughable: Anne explicitly mentions that they did not turn on lights in rooms that did not have curtains. [9]

Anyway. I hope this is an acceptable first post here, and I hope my writing on this silly subject is tolerable. Please feel free to level criticism at me.

[1] Francine Prose, Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife (London: Atlantic Books, 2009), p. 242.

[2] David Barnouw, ‘The Authenticity of the Diary’ in Harold Bloom, Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretations: The Diary of Anne Frank (Infobase, 2010), pp. 23-26.


Other Anne Frank memories in Amsterdam

Anne spent her primary school years at the Anne Frank 6th Montessori School in Amsterdam&rsquos Rivierenbuurt. An excerpt from her diary is displayed outside the school entrance. The school still has one classroom preserved in its original state, but it is not a museum. Unfortunately the Anne Frank Tree blew down in a gale in August 2010. Located near the Westerkerk, she could see the tree from her hiding place and wrote about it several times in her diary. The Amsterdam City Archives collection includes a police report from when Anne's bicycle was stolen in April 1942.


9 Comments

This article was some what great and sad I have no words for it.

This was amazing. Thanks for the help.

My words have very limitations to express my feelings when I was reading the book.Then who can imagine her feelings while they lived in the hiding place and after they were caught.

Anne Frank was legacy will always be remembered

thanks for the help with my research she is so inspiring

I am so inspired,I am at a loss for words

anne frank was a wonderful person.
i was extremely inspired to see how she lived with such optimism, and how she triumphed over her challenges
she was truly a wonderful person


The Frank family

Anne Frank’s parents both came from middle-class German-Jewish families. Her mother, Edith Holländer, grew up in a practising Jewish home. As he said himself, Otto Frank was “born in Germany into an assimilated family that had lived in that country for centuries”. After their wedding in 1925, the two of them lived in Otto’s hometown of Frankfurt where Margot was born in 1926 and Anne in 1929.

The Judengasse in Frankfurt am Main. Etching by Matthäus Merian, 1628.

Connected to the city of Frankfurt

The Franks have particular connections to the city of Frankfurt am Main: evidence shows that part of the family had lived there since the 16th century. Jews in Frankfurt, as in other European cities, were only permitted to settle in the ghetto, which in Frankfurt was the «Judengasse». The aftermath of the French Revolution brought equal rights for all religious denominations in 1806 and in particular the «act concerning equal civic rights of the Jewish municipality of Frankfurt» of 1811. From now on, the Frankfurt Jews were free to live anywhere in town and were not subjected to special taxes anymore. When full civic emancipation was introduced in 1864, the Jewish community of Frankfurt flourished. By the early 20th century, it had about 22,000 members and was regarded as one of the most significant Jewish communities in Europe..

Alice and Michael Frank shortly after their wedding 1886. © Anne Frank Fonds, Basel

Alice and Michael Frank-Stern

Otto Frank’s mother, Alice Stern, was born in 1865. She grew up in a wealthy household in Frankfurt. Until the age of 15, she attended schools and then received private tuition. In 1886, she married Michael Frank, who was fourteen years her senior.

Michael Frank came from Landau, a small town in the Palatinate region. He was the sixth of nine siblings. At the time of the wedding, the 35-year-old was a successful business man and already a shareholder in several companies. In 1896–97, he established the «Michael Frank banking business.».

Alice and Michael Frank had four children: Robert, Otto, Herbert and Helene (Leni). Later, Anne Frank will write in her diary that her father Otto led «the life of a rich man’s son»: «Parties every week, balls, banquets, beautiful girls, waltzing, dinners, a huge house, etc.» (Diary, 8. May 1944)

The Frank siblings: Otto, Leni, Robert and Herbert, around 1907. © Anne Frank Fonds, Basel

After the unexpected death of Michael Frank in 1909, Alice took over the family business, supported by her now adult sons, Robert and Otto.

Further chapters

First World War, economic crisis

When the First World War broke out in 1914, the Frank family’s three sons all served as front-line soldiers in the German army. Alice and her daughter Leni worked as auxiliary nurses in a Red Cross military hospital. After the war, Otto Frank was awarded the Iron Cross for his military services.

A considerable proportion of the family fortune was spent on purchasing war bonds. The family lost a significant part of its capital when Germany lost the war. The dire economic and political situation resulted in a constant downward spiral of the banking business, which was finally dissolved in early 1934.

Leni Frank (right) as an assistant in a military hospital, 1916. © Anne Frank Fonds, Basel

Robert Frank as a soldier in the First World War. © Anne Frank Fonds, Basel

Rise of the Nazis

Even in liberal Frankfurt, the Nazi party (NSDAP) gained almost fifty per cent of the votes in the municipal elections of March 1933. Frankfurt’s Jewish mayor, Ludwig Landmann, was forced to resign. The new mayor, a member of the NSDAP, immediately ordered the dismissal of all Jewish municipal officers.

On 1 April 1933, a boycott of Jewish shops was announced in all major German cities. This was the start of a barrage of anti-Jewish decrees aimed at excluding Jews from all areas of public life. Boycotts, marginalisation and persecution made life increasingly difficult and dangerous for Jews in Germany. The Nazi book burning took place on 10 May 1933, followed by the passing of the Nuremberg Race Laws in 1935, which prohibited marriage and sexual intercourse between Jews and non-Jews. With the «Kristallnacht» of 9–10 November 1938, the Nazis’ deprivation of the Jews’ civic rights reached a first culmination point.

Flight from Germany

Erich Elias had married Otto Frank’s sister Leni in 1921 and initially also worked for the family bank. But in autumn 1929 he was on the look-out for a new livelihood. He moved to Basel to establish a Swiss branch of Pomosin / Opekta-Werke, a company producing pectin for jam-making. Two years later, Leni followed with their younger son Buddy, their older son Stephan joined them in 1932, and in October 1933, Alice Frank also moved to Basel. Otto’s youngest brother Herbert lived in France from 1932 onwards, while his older brother Robert settled in England in 1933.

Otto and Edith Frank also left Frankfurt in 1933. They moved to the Netherlands, trusting in the fact that in the case of war the country’s neutrality would be respected – as had been the case in the First World War.

Edith and Margot (standing) with their grandmother, Alice Frank, and their cousin, Stephan Elias, in Frankfurt, 1927. © Anne Frank Fonds, Basel

Family walk in Frankfurt am Main. Stephan Elias, Otto, Margot (in the pram), Dadi (nanny), and Edith Frank with Buddy Elias, around 1927 (from left to right). © Anne Frank Fonds, Basel

Alice Frank's house at Jordanstrasse 4 (later Mertonstrasse, today Dantestrasse) in Frankfurt am Main. © Anne Frank Fonds, Basel

Amsterdam

Otto Frank moved to Amsterdam in 1933. With the support of his brother-in-law, Erich Elias, and his cousin, Jean-Michel Frank, he established a Dutch franchise of Opekta. Edith Frank and their daughters spent a few months with Edith’s mother, Rosa Holländer, in Aachen. In late 1933, Edith followed her husband to Amsterdam with Margot, and in February 1934, the family was reunited when Anne arrived. In March 1939, Edith’s mother also flew to Amsterdam, where she lived with the Frank family in Merwedeplein until her death in January 1942.

Rosa Holländer-Stern, Edith Frank's mother. © Anne Frank Fonds, Basel

Anne and Margot Frank on the beach, in the background: their grandmother Rosa Holländer, Zandvoort, July 1939. © Anne Frank Fonds, Basel

On 1 September 1939, Hitler started the Second World War by invading Poland. In May 1940, the German army occupied the Netherlands.

«After May 1940 the good times were few and far between: first there was the war, then the capitulation and then the arrival of the Germans, which is when the trouble started for the Jews. Our freedom was severely restricted by a series of anti-Jewish decrees: Jews were required to wear a yellow star Jews were required to turn in their bicycles Jews were forbidden to use trams Jews were forbidden to ride in cars, even their own Jews were required to do their shopping between 3.00 and 5.00 p.m. Jews were required to frequent only Jewish-owned barbershops and beauty salons Jews were forbidden to be out on the streets between 8.00 p.m. and 6.00 a.m. Jews were forbidden to go to theatres, cinemas or any other forms of entertainment Jews were forbidden to use swimming pools, tennis courts, hockey fields or any other athletic fields Jews were forbidden to go rowing Jews were forbidden to take part in any athletic activity in public Jews were forbidden to sit in their gardens or those of their friends after 8.00 p.m. Jews were forbidden to visit Christians in their homes Jews were required to attend Jewish schools, etc. You couldn’t do this and you couldn’t do that, but life went on»

In the secret annex

In occupied areas, Jews were drastically restricted in their professional and social lives. In July 1942, the Germans started to deport Dutch Jews, officially for “labour duty in the east”. On 5 July 1942, Margot received the written summons to register for one of these transports. One day later, on 6 July, the family goes into hiding in the secret annex of the Opekta building at Prinsengracht 263. Otto Frank and his helpers had set up the hiding place several months previously.

Miep Gies, Johannes Kleiman, Otto Frank, Victor Kugler, and Bep Voskuijl (from left to right), Amsterdam, 1935. © Anne Frank Fonds, Basel

The Frank family lives there for more than two years, at first on their own, later with the Van Pels family – Hermann, Auguste and their son Peter – and the dentist Fritz Pfeffer. In her diary, Anne Frank describes everyday life and living together in the secret annex.

Otto Franks shows a visitor the concealed entrance to the secret annex. © Anne Frank Fonds, Basel

Deportation and concentration camp

The hiding place in the secret annex is discovered in 1944, presumably through betrayal. During the occupation, numerous «bounty hunters» lived on the financial rewards from successful arrests. The exact circumstances that led to the discovery of the hiding place could never be clarified

On 4 August, the eight in hiding are arrested and sent to the Westerbork transit camp. On 3 September, together with her sister and her parents, Anne Frank is deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp on the last transport from Westerbork. The transport in a cattle wagon lasts three days and three nights. On the trackside ramp outside Auschwitz, families are torn apart. At first, the girls remain in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp with their mother. In October they are separated from their mother and deported to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Edith Frank dies of starvation and exhaustion in Auschwitz-Birkenau on 6 January. Anne and Margot die from disease in March 1945. Otto Frank is the only one of the eight inhabitants of the secret annex to survive the labour and concentration camps.

After the war

Otto Frank’s mother, Alice, and his siblings – Robert in England, Leni in Switzerland with her family, and Herbert in France – survived the war. Edith’s brothers, Julius and Walter Holländer, had fled to the USA before the outbreak of the Second World War and also survived.

The Frank siblings after the war: Otto, Robert, and Herbert (back), Leni Elias (front). © Anne Frank Fonds, Basel


Anne Frank

Perhaps the most famous child and most famous memoirist to have been a victim of World War II, the young Anne Frank (1929 – 1945) did not survive the Holocaust—but her diary did. With more than fifty language translations and more than thirty million copies sold, The Diary of Anne Frank today remains at the center of discussions of antisemitism, Holocaust memory, national guilt and responsibility, Jewish identity, acculturation, literature, drama, child psychology, and even historical revisionism, but above all, as the symbol of a young girl's belief in humankind's innate goodness and her hope for a better future.

Institution: Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.

Anne Frank was one of the most iconic victims of the Holocaust. Her diary, written as a teenager from June 1942 to August 1944, describes her life hiding with her family and four other people in an Amsterdam attic. They were denounced on August 4, 1944. She was deported to Bergen-Belsen and perished in February 1945. Her father Otto survived and decided to publish her diary, which became one of the central stories of the Holocaust and human suffering. The diary has been represented in numerous cultural texts and discussed as a historical document from a literary perspective and from a feminist angle. Works have analyzed the diary’s Jewish features and its portrayal of Jewish life in Central and Western Europe, adolescents in wartime, and Anne’s potential as a promising writer.

Annelies Marie Frank, more commonly known as Anne Frank, is one of the most iconic figures of the millions of Holocaust victims. She wrote her diary from June 1942 (when she received it as a present on her thirteenth birthday) to August 1944. In the diary, she describes life in hiding in an Amsterdam attic before she was deported to Bergen-Belsen, where she perished. The diary has become one of the central symbols of the Holocaust and the sufferings of humanity.

Annelies Marie Frank was born in Frankfurt, Germany, on June 12, 1929, to Edith (1900-1944) (née Holländer) and Otto Frank (1889-1980). Otto and his two brothers served in the German army in World War I. In 1933, after the Nazi party came to power, the Frank family moved to Amsterdam. For the first seven years, things were relatively quiet for the parents and their two daughters, Margot Betti (1926–1945) and her younger sister Anne, who attended the Montessori School until Germany invaded the Netherlands in May 1940.

In July 1942, when transports from the Westerbork transit camp to Auschwitz began, the family went into hiding, together with the van Pels family (two parents and their son Peter) and Fritz Pfeffer in an attic on 263 Prinsengracht Street in Amsterdam, the building that housed Otto’s business. For two years, from June 1942, when Anne was given the diary for her thirteenth birthday, until she was about fifteen, she wrote an entry nearly every day. The diary entries stopped abruptly when the hiding place was discovered on August 4, 1944.

On March 28, 1944, the spring before she was captured, Anne heard a broadcast from London on the Dutch underground Radio Oranje. The Education Minister of the Dutch government in exile, Gerrit Bolkestein, asked all citizens to preserve documents for posterity and, if possible, keep diaries, which would help to write history after the war and bring war criminals to justice. Anne decided to re-read her diary and make revisions while continuing to write new entries in the hope that it would bear witness.

On August 4, 1944, German and Dutch SS commandos led by SS Oberscharführer Karl Josef Silberbauer raided the hiding place. On September 3, 1944, all eight people in the attic were sent to Auschwitz on the last transport from Westerbork, which numbered about a thousand people. Edith Frank died of starvation in Auschwitz in early January 1945. Margot and Anne, who were transferred to Bergen-Belsen at the end of October 1944, died there in February-March 1945, during the typhus epidemic that killed thousands of prisoners. After the Liberation, Otto returned to Holland to discover, after a lengthy search, that he was the only one to have survived.

The identities of the people who helped the Frank family hide are well known, including people who worked for Otto Frank and were acquainted with him: Victor Kugler, Johannes Kleiman, Johan Voskuijl and his daughter Bep, Hermine Santrouschitz (Miep Gies) and her husband Jan Gies. However, the identity of the Dutch citizen who informed on the fugitives is uncertain and still controversial. Gies observed that the longer they hid, the less careful they were of leaving evidence that people were in the building after office hours. Passers-by may quite innocently have mentioned this fact in conversation, which could have been overheard by the wrong persons.

Until the late 1990s, the main suspect was Willem van Maaren, who worked in the warehouse of the building where they were hidden. In the late 1990s, Austrian historian Melissa Müller claimed in her book Anne Frank: The Biography that the family was denounced by a young informant named Lena Hartog, who worked as a cleaner in a warehouse near the hiding place. In 2002, Carol Ann Lee, in her biography The Hidden Life of Otto Frank, placed responsibility for the discovery of the attic’s inhabitants on Anton (Tony) Ahlers, a known anti-Semite and a member of the Dutch Nazi party who systematically informed on Jews. Ahlers was Frank’s business partner and knew that his spice company had done business with the Wehrmacht at the beginning of the war. Frank evidently paid Ahlers hush money even before his family went into hiding. Afterwards, he paid him not to reveal to the Dutch government that he had done business with the Wehrmacht, and according to Lee, apparently continued to pay him off until Frank’s death in 1980.

In 2015, a biography of Dutch resistance activist Elisabeth “Bep” Voskuijl, Otto Frank’s young secretary (Elli Vossen in Anne Frank’s diary) who helped the Frank family was published. Authors Joop Van Wijk (Bep’s son) and the Flemish journalist Jeroen De Bruyn claimed that Nelly Voskuijl, Bep’s sister, denounced the people in the attic. Unlike her sister and father who assisted the Frank family, Nelly was apparently a Nazi collaborator.

A study published by the Anne Frank house in 2016 claimed that Anne Frank and the other people in the attic were not handed over to the authorities, but rather were caught by chance during a police raid in search of criminals in the house where they were hiding. This study also mentioned the possibility that the raid was part of an investigation aimed at locating Dutch people attempting to avoid the forced labor brigades in Germany, some of whom worked in Otto Frank’s company. However, the possibility of betrayal has never been ruled out. In 2018, Gerard Kramer, whose father was a member of the Dutch resistance movement, published De achtertuin van het Achterhuis (The Backyard of the Secret Wing), claiming that Ans van Dijk, a Dutch woman of Jewish descent who collaborated with the Nazi regime, denounced the family.

After Otto returned from the camps, Gies gave him Anne’s diary. She had found it where it had been concealed in the attic and kept it, intending to give it back to Anne when she came home. After deep soul-searching, at the urging of close friends, and after making editorial omissions of his own, Otto Frank authorized the publication of a small first edition of 1,500 copies in Amsterdam in the summer of 1947, on a date close to Anne’s birthday. It was entitled Het Achterhuis (The Secret Annex), or literally “The Back House,” the name Anne herself had given to all her writings in the attic.

Initially the book attracted little attention. People wanted to forget the war and its sorrows. However, in 1952, after more hesitation on Otto’s part, a translation of the diary was published in the United States, with a foreword by Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1955, the play The Diary of Anne Frank, starring Susan Strasberg, opened on Broadway and became a hit. The 1959 film The Diary of Anne Frank (directed by George Stevens) was also widely successful. The Anne Frank House, where the family had hidden during the war, opened in 1960. Hundreds of thousands of visitors continue to tour the house every year.

Translated into more than 50 languages, the diary has sold more than 30 million copies all over the world. Streets and squares, coins and stamps bear Anne’s name, along with prizes, conventions, exhibits, memorials, schools, and youth institutions, in addition to films, plays, musicals, an opera, and a video diary series on YouTube that bring her diary to life. There has been extensive research into her character and her diary, the translations, and the way her story has been represented in the media. In the last few decades, a subversive genre has also emerged that deliberately violates the sanctity of Anne’s popular image through black humor, satire, and parody in jokes, internet memes, TV comedies, and various skits. This development is part of a more general iconoclastic trend in Holocaust humor in Western culture.

Anne’s diary was first perceived simply as the story of a young Jewish girl during the Holocaust. Gradually, however, it became universalized, a symbol of the sufferings of humanity at large, which despite the pain, still believes in human values and the basic goodness of others.

The diary’s message became detached from the Holocaust, the death camps, and the Jewish people. Anne herself became a symbol of the aspirations of adolescents in general. Young people from all over the world saw Otto as a father figure and wrote to him to express their pain for the loss of his family but made little or no connection to the circumstances under which they died, his family’s Jewishness, or his national identity.

Anne Frank’s diary conveys a universal message in part because it ends before the discovery of the hiding place and the deportation of its occupants to Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. There are no harsh descriptions of the sort written by other young Jewish men and women, especially from Eastern Europe. There are no ghettos or camps, no starvation or the loss of family members in Aktionen. The Germans are mentioned in the diary with hatred and are called “Those vile people … the cruelest monsters ever to stalk the Earth,” as Anne wrote on November 19, 1942. The attic’s occupants were aware of the Nazi crimes against humanity, including the camps and the gas chambers, from BBC radio broadcasts, but these descriptions do not take up a significant part of the diary, which centers mainly on the world of the attic’s inhabitants and their daily lives, and Anne’s rich inner world. Readers are not asked to cope with the atrocity itself, making the entries less distressing. The Holocaust is both present and absent. Certain adaptions of the diary minimize the presence of the Germans even more.

Anne’s transformation into a universal symbol and in some ways into an American teenager took place as early as the 1950s. In the foreword to the first 1952 American edition, Eleanor Roosevelt made this explicit: “These are the thoughts and expression of a young girl living under extraordinary conditions, and for this reason her diary tells us much about ourselves and about our own children. And for this reason, too, I felt how close we all are to Anne’s experience, how very much involved we are in her short life and in the entire world.” Roosevelt made no reference to Jews or to Anne’s Jewishness, to the way her brief life ended, or to the Holocaust, thus distanced the diary from Jews and the Holocaust by referring to human trauma in general.

Otto Frank himself supported the diary’s universality. For example, a theatrical adaptation of the diary written in 1952 by the Jewish-American author Meyer Levin (1905–1981) was rejected because, as the publisher told Otto Frank, it was too Jewish, an assessment to which Otto Frank acquiesced. Frank wrote to Levin: “I always said that … it was not a Jewish book […] so please do not make it into a Jewish play.” In their quarrel over the right to produce the play, which ended up in court, Levin argued that his play was rejected because he himself was Jewish, a Zionist, and socialist, and because his family originally came from Eastern Europe, whereas Otto Frank and his lawyer were originally from Germany i.e., they were assimilated Jews, devoid of Jewish national feeling, who saw Nazism as an accident that had befallen their Germany. The 1955 hit Broadway play was written by two non-Jewish playwrights, Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich. It was more universal and strikingly less anti-German than Levin’s script. Some literary critics and film historians have suggested that the diary, which presents Anne as an impressive human figure who clings to liberal-democratic values, highlighted American Jews’ desire to assimilate into the culture of the country that took them in.

In the 1959 Hollywood film, sections from the diary that express deep Jewish feeling were also omitted. An example is the deleted entry, dated April 11, 1944: “Who has set us apart from all the rest? … It’s God who has made us the way we are, but it’s also God who will lift us up again. In the eyes of the world, we’re doomed, but if, after all this suffering, there are still Jews left, the Jewish people will be held as an example to the world. Who knows, maybe our religion will teach the world and all the people in it about goodness, and that’s the reason, the only reason, we have to suffer. We can never be just Dutch or just English or whatever, we will always be Jews as well. And we’ll have to keep on being Jews, but then, we’ll want to be.”

On July 15, 1944, three weeks before the hiding place was discovered, Anne wrote, “It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.” This statement elicits enormous admiration for Anne as a person and for her diary to this day.

Researchers and Jewish thinkers such as Bruno Bettelheim (1903–1990), Lawrence Langer, Art Spiegelman, Richard Bernstein, and Cynthia Ozick have been forceful in opposing adaptations of the diary. Their prime argument is that the famous statement in which Anne expresses her belief in the goodness of others, which appears at the end of the 1955 play and the 1959 movie based on the diary (even though the diary did not end with this statement), can be misconstrued as suggesting that Auschwitz did not exist at all. It may be read as implying that all people are good, or that Anne's statement is a variant on a Christian blessing promising God’s mercy to all regardless of their sins. This interpretation makes it easier to dismiss the horrors of the Holocaust, if not to deny it outright.

Although forgiving and comforting adaptations continue to be published, the Jewishness of the heroine has also reemerged. For example, in December 1997, when a new adaptation of the diary by Wendy Kesselman (b. 1940) was performed on Broadway, it restored Anne’s Jewish identity and her hatred of the Germans, and also explicitly depicted the Germans themselves, who burst onto the stage at the end of the play to drag away the attic’s inhabitants. The status of Jews in the United States at the end of the 1990s was completely different from that of the 1950s. In the world of identity politics, it was natural, if not politically correct, to highlight Anne’s Jewish background. At the same time, Anne continues to be a universal symbol. In January 1999, 50 years after the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights, Kofi Annan, the secretary-general of the United Nations, called upon all world leaders to sign a declaration of peace, friendship, conflict resolution, and a better future worldwide bearing Anne Frank’s name.

It was Otto Frank himself who unintentionally began what would be a process of undermining the authenticity of Anne’s diary. Before the publication of the first edition, he deleted sections in which Anne wrote about her physical maturation, her love for Peter van Pels, the quarrels between members of her family, the squabbles that erupted in the close quarters where they lived for two years, and the characteristics and appearances of the people in the attic. In 1947, any mention of sex or even immature adolescent infatuations was still taboo. Otto Frank was from a conservative German family of the interwar period, and the loss of his wife and daughters was still too fresh for him to include episodes that might tarnish their memory, even though they were human and what Anne wrote about was natural in any family. After further reflection, he left pages containing some of the harsher texts with a close friend. These pages were only published close to Anne’s seventieth birthday, in June 1999, when several new biographies came out.

A neighbor and acquaintance of the Frank girls later said that Anne was extremely talented but also harsh, rebellious, and sharp-tongued, whereas her parents were easygoing people and Margot was an excellent and much-liked pupil. Another childhood friend gave similar accounts of the family’s personalities, describing Anne as acquisitive, self-centered, and very sexual. A series of accounts, interviews, and biographies that appeared mainly in the 1980s and 1990s describe Anne and the other fugitives in a more complex manner than in the diary.

The question of authenticity was also fueled by differences in the translations. For example, in Germany, a translation was published that, with Otto Frank’s assent, omitted all anti-German sentiment. As a result, the diary’s German edition did not accuse the Germans as a people or as a nation. Reading this version, anyone who felt guilt could relate to it on an individual level. By contrast, in Israel, Levin’s play was performed in 1966 to resounding though short-lived success. In 1960s Israel, one quarter of Israelis were Holocaust survivors, thus, Anne’s statement about people being good at heart, which served as the Hollywood production’s final syrupy line, required a different response. In the adaptation of Levin’s play in Israel, when Anne tells her father that she still believes in people, he replies: “I don’t know, my child. I don’t know.”

Anne and the diary’s authenticity have been attacked with increasing sharpness by Holocaust deniers. This controversy has had ramifications not only for the diary, but also for Anne’s character and nationality. At the end of the 1950s, after the diary was translated into English and the play earned rave reviews, extreme right wingers in Germany attacked its authenticity. In the mid-1970s, leading Holocaust deniers, such as Richard Verall and David Irving in Britain and Arthur Butz in the United States, challenged its authenticity as a way to deny the existence of the Holocaust. Toward the end of the 1970s, as he had done since 1958, Otto Frank took French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson, together with Siegfried Verbeke of Belgium, to court in Germany in a series of four trials where they tried but failed to undermine the truth of the diary.

Holocaust deniers have also attempted to spread the lie that the symbolism of Anne as a persecuted child helped establish and finance the State of Israel. They falsely claim that her diary is used as a political tool by world Jewry to undermine the Palestinians’ right to a state and that its distribution is an exemplary lesson in how to circulate propaganda throughout the world.

Otto Frank dedicated his life to his daughter’s legacy. In his will, he left the diary to the Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation and the diary’s copyright to the Anne Frank Fund in Basel, which has been administered by the Frank family since Otto’s death in 1980. In 1981, the Institute submitted the diary to a Dutch government laboratory for an examination. In 1986, the Netherlands State Institute published a critical edition of the diary that checked the wording of the diary and examined the handwriting, the type of paper, and the ink. This edition, later termed “The Definitive Edition,” is the longest and the most complete and today is used for research purposes and for comparison with other, less complete editions.

In the early 1990s, the Anne Frank Trust, with the aid of other Dutch organizations, sued Faurisson and Verbeke, who claimed in their 1992 book that Otto Frank wrote the diary. Finally, in 1998, after the diary underwent extensive technical and graphological examinations for the third time, an Amsterdam court ruled unequivocally for its authenticity and made denying it a criminal offense. These trials, which fomented public debate for years, also led to explicit legislation in the 1990s against Holocaust denial in seven European countries.

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Supplemental Materials:

Click here to view the Gallery Guide for the exhibition.

Click here to access the audio guide for the exhibit panels and gallery guide.

Language Arts Curriculum Guide coming soon!

Dutch Life During the Occupation:

The Museum of History and Holocaust Education has had the honor of interviewing two Dutch men in February 2020 whose families survived the Nazi occupation.

Click here to view Marcel Kohler's oral history.

Marcel Kohler was born in Utrecht, the Netherlands, in 1950, five years after the end of World War II. He is the youngest of three siblings, with an older brother born three years after the war, and an older sister who was a child during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. His family experienced hardships during the occupation, including food shortages and threats to their property by the occupying forces. During the war, they hid their valuables in secret cabinets, and his sister later shared stories with him of Jewish people hidden in the attic. The Kohler family immigrated to the United States in 1955 and settled in Lansing, Michigan.

Click here to view Hank Van Driel's oral history.

Born in Schiedam in 1934, Hank Van Driel was celebrating his sixth birthday when the Nazis marched into the Netherlands. He and his family endured five years of hardship and near-starvation rations during the German occupation. After the war, Van Driel studied to become a chef and worked at hotels and restaurants in Rotterdam, eventually landing a job on the Holland America line of cruise ships in 1962. Attracted by steady work in the American resort industry, Van Driel immigrated to the United States in 1964. He has remained a citizen of the Netherlands and travels frequently between the countries.

Hank Van Driel's Georgia Journey

You can also follow Hank Van Driel's Georgia Journey across space and time through this online exhibit!


“I sometimes imagine that someone might come to me and ask me to inform him about sexual matters,” Anne wrote. “How would I go about it?”

She then began to describe “sexual matters” to an imaginary friend with phrases like “rhythmical movements” and, in reference to contraception, “internal medicament.”

Addressing an imaginary person, de Bruijn said, “creates a kind of literary environment to write about a subject she’s maybe not comfortable with.”

Anne and her family members were deported to Auschwitz on August 4, 1944. She died at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp the following year, three months before her 16th birthday, but she lives on through her diaries. Her father, Otto, donated them to NIOD, and they’re permanently displayed at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

“[She] writes about sexuality in a disarming way,” Ronald Leopold, executive director of the Anne Frank House, said of the newly discovered pages. “Like every adolescent she is curious about this subject. … They bring us even closer to the girl and the writer Anne Frank.”


1942 - Anne Frank Goes Into Hiding

Anne Frank Goes Into Hiding (1942): Thirteen-year-old Anne Frank had been writing in her red-and-white-checkered diary for less than a month when her sister, Margot, received a call-up notice around 3 p.m. on July 5, 1942. Although the Frank family had planned to go into hiding on July 16, 1942, they decided to leave immediately so that Margot would not have to be deported to a "work camp."

Many final arrangements needed to be made and a few extra bundles of supplies and clothes needed to be taken to the Secret Annex ahead of their arrival. They spent the afternoon packing but then had to remain quiet and seem normal around their upstairs renter until he finally went to bed. Around 11 p.m., Miep and Jan Gies arrived to take some of the packed supplies to the Secret Annex.

At 5:30 a.m. on July 6, 1942, Anne Frank awoke for the last time in her bed at their apartment. The Frank family dressed in numerous layers so as to take a few extra garments with them without having to cause suspicion on the streets by carrying a suitcase. They left food on the counter, stripped the beds, and left a note giving instructions about who would take care of their cat.

Margot was the first to leave the apartment she left on her bike. The rest of the Frank family left on foot at 7:30 a.m.

Anne had been told that there was a hiding place but not its location until the day of the actual move. The Frank family arrived safely at the Secret Annex, located in Otto Frank's business at 263 Prinsengracht in Amsterdam.

Seven days later (July 13, 1942), the van Pels family (the van Daans in the published diary) arrived at the Secret Annex. On November 16, 1942, Friedrich "Fritz" Pfeffer (called Albert Dussel in the diary) became the last one to arrive.

The eight people hiding in the Secret Annex in Amsterdam never left their hiding place until the fateful day of August 4, 1944 when they were discovered and arrested.


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