Overview: Anne and Her Diaries
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
that their other daughter, Margot, was to be sent away, they went
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
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. Anne and her sister, Margot, contracted Typhus and died
within days of each other, just days before the camp was liberated.
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
(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
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.
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.
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).
Note: If your email there is refused
by the system (which I assume is rare),
please forward a copy to
The Diary of Anne Frank: the Critical Edition, prepared
by the Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation, Doubleday, 1989.
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