The Diary of a Young Girl

"The Diary of Anne Frank" redirects here. For other uses, see The Diary of Anne Frank (disambiguation).
The Diary of Anne Frank

1947 first edition
Author Anne Frank
Original title Het Achterhuis
Translator B. M. Mooyaart-Doubleday
Cover artist Helmut Salden
Country Netherlands
Language Dutch
Genre Autobiography
Publisher Contact Publishing
Publication date
Published in English
OCLC 1432483
Original text
Het Achterhuis at Dutch Wikisource

The Diary of a Young Girl (also known as The Diary of Anne Frank) is a book of the writings from the Dutch language diary kept by Anne Frank while she was in hiding for two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. The family was apprehended in 1944, and Anne Frank died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The diary was retrieved by Miep Gies, who gave it to Anne's father, Otto Frank, the family's only known survivor just after the war was over. The diary has since been published in more than 60 languages.

First published under the title Het Achterhuis. Dagboekbrieven 14 Juni 1942 – 1 Augustus 1944 (The Annex: Diary Notes 14 June 1942 – 1 August 1944) by Contact Publishing in Amsterdam in 1947, the diary received widespread critical and popular attention on the appearance of its English language translation Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Doubleday & Company (United States) and Valentine Mitchell (United Kingdom) in 1952. Its popularity inspired the 1955 play The Diary of Anne Frank by the screenwriters Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, which they adapted for the screen for the 1959 movie version. The book is included in several lists of the top books of the 20th century.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

The copyright of the Dutch version of the diary, published in 1947, expired on 1 January 2016, 70 years after the author's death as a result of a general rule in copyright law of the European Union. Following this, the original Dutch version was made available online.[7]


During the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, Anne Frank received a blank diary as one of her presents on June 12, 1942, her 13th birthday.[8][9] According to The Anne Frank House, the red, checkered autograph book which Anne used as her diary was actually not a surprise, since she had chosen it the day before with her father when browsing a bookstore near her home.[9] She began to write in it on June 14, 1942, two days later.[10][11]

On July 5, 1942, Anne's older sister Margot received an official summons to report to a Nazi work camp in Germany, and on July 6, Margot and Anne went into hiding with their father Otto and mother Edith. They were joined by Hermann van Pels, Otto's business partner, including his wife Auguste and their teenage son Peter.[12] Their hiding place was in the sealed-off upper rooms of the annex at the back of Otto's company building in Amsterdam.[12][13] Otto Frank started his business, named Opekta, in 1933. He was licensed to manufacture and sell pectin, a substance used to make jam. He stopped running his business while everybody was in hiding. But once he returned, he found his employees running it. The rooms that everybody hid in were concealed behind a movable bookcase in the same building as Opekta. Mrs. van Pels's dentist, Fritz Pfeffer, joined them four months later. In the published version, names were changed: the van Pelses are known as the Van Daans, and Fritz Pfeffer as Mr Dussel. With the assistance of a group of Otto Frank's trusted colleagues, they remained hidden for two years and one month.

They were betrayed in August 1944, which resulted in their deportation to Nazi concentration camps. Of the eight people, only Otto Frank survived the war. Anne died when she was 15 years old in Bergen-Belsen, from typhus. The exact date of her death is unknown and has long been believed to be in early March, a few weeks before the prisoners were liberated by British troops in April 1945. However, new research in 2015 indicated that Anne may have died as early as February.[14]

In manuscript, her original diaries are written over three extant volumes. The first volume (the red-and-white checkered autograph book) covers the period between June 14 and December 5, 1942. Since the second surviving volume (a school exercise book) begins on December 22, 1943, and ends on April 17, 1944, it is assumed that the original volume or volumes between December 1942 and December 1943 were lost—presumably after the arrest, when the hiding place was emptied on Nazi instructions. However, this missing period is covered in the version Anne rewrote for preservation. The third existing volume (which was also a school exercise book) contains entries from April 17 to August 1, 1944, when Anne wrote for the last time before her arrest.[15]:2

The manuscript, written on loose sheets of paper, was found strewn on the floor of the hiding place by Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl after the family's arrest,[16] but before their rooms were ransacked by the Dutch police and the Gestapo. They were kept safe and given to Otto Frank after the war, with the original notes, when Anne's death was confirmed in the autumn of 1945.


The diary is not written in the classic forms of "Dear Diary" or as letters to oneself; Anne calls her diary "Kitty", so almost all of the letters are written to Kitty. Anne used the above-mentioned names for her annex-mates in the first volume, from September 25, 1942 until November 13, 1942, when the first notebook ends.[17] It is believed that these names were taken from characters found in a series of popular Dutch books written by Cissy van Marxveldt.[17]

Anne's already budding literary ambitions were galvanized on 29 March 1944 when she heard a London radio broadcast made by the exiled Dutch Minister for Education, Art, and Science, Gerrit Bolkestein,[16] calling for the preservation of "ordinary documents—a diary, letters ... simple everyday material" to create an archive for posterity as testimony to the suffering of civilians during the Nazi occupation. On May 20, 1944, she notes that she started re-drafting her diary with future readers in mind.[18] She expanded entries and standardized them by addressing all of them to Kitty, clarified situations, prepared a list of pseudonyms, and cut scenes she thought would be of little interest or too intimate for general consumption. By the time she started the second existing volume, she was writing only to Kitty.

Dear Kitty

There has been much conjecture about the identity or inspiration of Kitty, who in Anne's revised manuscript is the sole recipient of her letters. In 1996, the critic Sietse van der Hoek wrote that the name referred to Kitty Egyedi, a prewar friend of Anne's. Van der Hoek may have been informed by the publication A Tribute to Anne Frank (1970), prepared by the Anne Frank Foundation, which assumed a factual basis for the character in its preface by the then chairman of the Foundation, Henri van Praag, and accentuated this with the inclusion of a group photograph that singles out Anne, Sanne Ledermann, Hanneli Goslar, and Kitty Egyedi. Anne does not mention Kitty Egyedi in any of her writings (in fact, the only other girl mentioned in her diary from the often reproduced photo, other than Goslar and Ledermann, is Mary Bos, whose drawings Anne dreamed about in 1944) and the only comparable example of Anne's writing unposted letters to a real friend are two farewell letters to Jacqueline van Maarsen, from September 1942.[19]

Theodor Holman wrote in reply to Sietse van der Hoek that the diary entry for 28 September 1942 proved conclusively the character's fictional origin. Jacqueline van Maarsen agreed, but Otto Frank assumed his daughter had her real acquaintance in mind when she wrote to someone of the same name. However, Kitty Egyedi said in an interview that she was flattered by the assumption, but doubted the diary was addressed to her:

Kitty became so idealized and started to lead her own life in the diary that it ceases to matter who is meant by 'Kitty'. The name ... is not meant to be me.
Kitty Egyedi[20]


Anne had expressed the desire in the rewritten introduction of her diary for one person that she could call her truest friend, that is, a person to whom she could confide her deepest thoughts and feelings. She observed that she had many "friends" and equally many admirers, but (by her own definition) no true, dear friend with whom she could share her innermost thoughts. She originally thought her girlfriend Jacque van Maarsen would be this person, but that was only partially successful. In an early diary passage, she remarks that she is not in love with Helmut "Hello" Silberberg, her suitor at that time, but considered that he might become a true friend. In hiding, she invested much time and effort into her budding romance with Peter van Pels, thinking he might evolve into that one, true friend, but that was eventually a disappointment to her in some ways, also, though she still cared for him very much. Ultimately, the closest friend Anne had during her short life was her diary, for it was only to Kitty that she entrusted her innermost thoughts.

In her diary, Anne wrote of her very close relationship with her father, lack of daughterly love for her mother (with whom she felt she had nothing in common), and admiration for her sister's intelligence and sweet nature. She did not like the others much initially, particularly Auguste van Pels and Fritz Pfeffer (the latter shared her room). She was at first unimpressed by the quiet Peter; she herself was something of a chatterbox (a source of irritation to some of the others). As time went on, however, she and Peter became very close, though she remained uncertain in what direction their relationship would develop.

Editorial history

There are two versions of the diary written by Anne Frank. She wrote the first version in a designated diary and two notebooks (version A), but rewrote it (version B) in 1944 after hearing on the radio that war-time diaries were to be collected to document the war period. Version B was written on loose paper and is not identical to Version A, as parts were added and others omitted.[21]

Publication in Dutch

The first transcription of Anne's diary was in German, made by Otto Frank for his friends and relatives in Switzerland, who convinced him to send it for publication.[22] The second, a composition of Anne Frank's versions A and B as well as excerpts from her essays became the first draft submitted for publication, with an epilogue written by a family friend explaining the fate of its author. In the spring of 1946 it came to the attention of Dr. Jan Romein and his wife Annie Romein-Verschoor, two Dutch historians. They were so moved by it that Anne Romein made unsuccessful attempts to find a publisher, which led Romein to write an article for the newspaper Het Parool:[23]

This apparently inconsequential diary by a child, this "de profundis" stammered out in a child's voice, embodies all the hideousness of fascism, more so than all the evidence of Nuremberg put together.
Jan Romein in his article "Children's voice" on "Het Parool", April 3, 1946.[23]

This caught the interest of Contact Publishing in Amsterdam, who approached Otto Frank to submit a Dutch draft of the manuscript for their consideration. They offered to publish but advised Otto Frank that Anne's candor about her emerging sexuality might offend certain conservative quarters and suggested cuts. Further entries were also deleted. The diary -which was a combination of version A and version B- was published under the name Het Achterhuis. Dagbrieven van 14 juni 1942 tot 1 augustus 1944 (The Secret Annex. Diary Letters from June 14, 1942 to August 1, 1944) on June 25, 1947.[23] Otto Frank later discussed this moment, "If she had been here, Anne would have been so proud."[23] The book sold well; the 3000 copies of the first edition were soon sold out, and in 1950 a sixth edition was published.

In 1986 a critical edition appeared, incorporating versions A and B, and based on the findings of the Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation into challenges to the diary's authenticity. This was published in three volumes with a total of 714 pages.[24]

Publication in English

In 1950 the Dutch translator Rosey E. Pool made a first translation of the Diary, which was never published.[25] At the end of 1950, another translator was found to produce an English-language version. Barbara Mooyaart-Doubleday was contracted by Vallentine, Mitchell & Co. in England and by the end of the following year her translation was submitted, now including the deleted passages at Otto Frank's request and the book appeared in the US and Great Britain in 1952, becoming a bestseller. The introduction of the English publication was written by Eleanor Roosevelt.

In 1989 an English edition of this appeared under the title of The Diary of Anne Frank: The Revised Critical Edition, including Mooyaart-Doubleday's translation and Anne Frank's versions A and B, based on Dutch critical version of 1986.[26][27] A new translation by Susan Massotty based on the original texts was published in 1995.

Other languages

The work was translated in 1950 in German and French, before it appeared in 1952 in the US in English.[28] The critical version was also translated into Chinese.[29] As of 2015, the website of the Anne Frank Fonds records translations in over 60 languages.[30]

Plays and films

A play based on the diary won the Pulitzer Prize for 1955, and a subsequent movie earned Shelley Winters an Academy Award for her performance, whereupon Winters donated her Oscar to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.[31]


Facsimile of the diary of Anne Frank on display at the Anne Frank Zentrum in Berlin, Germany.

In the 1960s, Otto Frank recalled his feelings when reading the diary for the first time, "For me, it was a revelation. There, was revealed a completely different Anne to the child that I had lost. I had no idea of the depths of her thoughts and feelings."[22] Michael Berenbaum, former director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, wrote "Precocious in style and insight, it traces her emotional growth amid adversity. In it she wrote, 'In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.'"[22]


It was reported around the world that in February 2014, 265 copies of the Frank diary and other material related to the Holocaust were found to be vandalized in 31 public libraries in Tokyo, Japan.[32][33] The Simon Wiesenthal Center expressed "its shock and deep concern"[34] and, in response, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga called the vandalism "shameful." Israel donated 300 copies of Anne Frank's diary to replace the vandalized copies.[35] An anonymous donor under the name of 'Chiune Sugihara' donated two boxes of books pertaining to the Holocaust to the Tokyo central library.[36] After the media fuss, police arrested an unemployed man in March.[37] In June, prosecutors decided not to indict the suspect after he was found to be mentally incompetent.[38] Tokyo librarians have reported that Nazi-related books such as the diary and Man's Search for Meaning attract people with mental disorder and are subject to occasional vandalism.[39]


In 2010, the Culpeper County, Virginia school system banned the 50th Anniversary "Definitive Edition" of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, due to "complaints about its sexual content and homosexual themes."[40] This version "includes passages previously excluded from the widely read original edition.... Some of the extra passages detail her emerging sexual desires; others include unflattering descriptions of her mother and other people living together."[41] After consideration, it was decided a copy of the newer version would remain in the library and classes would revert to using the older version.

In 2013, a similar controversy arose in a 7th grade setting in Northville, Michigan, focusing on explicit passages about sexuality.[42] The mother behind the formal complaint referred to portions of the book as "pretty pornographic."[43]

The American Library Association stated that there have been six challenges to the book in the United States since it started keeping records on bans and challenges in 1990, and "Most of the concerns were about sexually explicit material".[41]


The Netherlands Institute for War Documentation commissioned a forensic study of the manuscripts after the death of Otto Frank in 1980. The material composition of the original notebooks and ink, and the handwriting found within them and the loose version were extensively examined. In 1986, the results were published: the handwriting attributed to Anne Frank was positively matched with contemporary samples of Anne Frank's handwriting, and the paper, ink, and glue found in the diaries and loose papers were consistent with materials available in Amsterdam during the period in which the diary was written.[44]

The survey of her manuscripts compared an unabridged transcription of Anne Frank's original notebooks with the entries she expanded and clarified on loose paper in a rewritten form and the final edit as it was prepared for the English translation. The investigation revealed that all of the entries in the published version were accurate transcriptions of manuscript entries in Anne Frank's handwriting, and that they represented approximately a third of the material collected for the initial publication. The magnitude of edits to the text is comparable to other historical diaries such as those of Katherine Mansfield, Anaïs Nin and Leo Tolstoy in that the authors revised their diaries after the initial draft, and the material was posthumously edited into a publishable manuscript by their respective executors, only to be superseded in later decades by unexpurgated editions prepared by scholars.[45]

Challenges to historical authenticity

Anne Frank's story has become symbolic of the scale of Nazi atrocities during the Second World War, a stark example of Jewish persecution under Adolf Hitler, and a dire warning of the consequences of persecution.

As reported in the New York Times in 2015, "When Otto Frank first published his daughter's red-checked diary and notebooks, he wrote a prologue assuring readers that the book mostly contained her words".[46] Despite the many claims by holocaust deniers such as Robert Faurisson that Anne Frank's diary was fabricated,[47][48] critical and forensic studies of the text and the original manuscript have supported its authenticity.[44]

Anne Frank Fonds

In his will, Otto Frank bequeathed the original manuscripts to the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation. The copyright however belongs to the Anne Frank Fonds, a Switzerland-based foundation of Basel which was the sole inheritor of Frank after his death in 1980.


According to the copyright laws in the European Union, as a general rule, rights of authors end after seventy years of their death. Hence, the copyright of the diary expired on 1 January 2016. In the Netherlands, for the original publication of 1947 (containing parts of both versions of Anne Franks writing), as well as a version published in 1986 (containing both versions completely), copyright initially would have expired not 50 years after the death of Anne Frank (1996), but 50 years after publication as a result of a provision specific for posthumously published works (1997 and 2036 respectively).

When the copyright duration was extended to 70 years in 1995—implementing the EU copyright term directive—the special rule regarding posthumous works was abolished, but transitional provisions made sure that this could never lead to shortening of the copyright term, thus leading to expiration of the copyright term for the first version on 1 January 2016, but for the new material published in 1986 in 2036.[7][21]

The original Dutch version was made available free online by University of Nantes lecturer Olivier Ertzscheid and French parliament member Isabelle Attard.[49]


In 2015 the Anne Frank Fonds made an announcement, as reported in the New York Times, that the diary was co-authored by Otto Frank. According to Yves Kugelmann, a member of the board of the foundation, their expert advice was that Otto had created a new work by editing, merging, and trimming entries from the diary and notebooks and reshaping them into a "kind of collage", which had created a new copyright. Agnès Tricoire, a lawyer specializing in intellectual property rights, responded by warning the foundation to "think very carefully about the consequences". She added "If you follow their arguments, it means that they have lied for years about the fact that it was only written by Anne Frank."[46]

The foundation also relies on the fact that another editor, Mirjam Pressler, had revised the text and added 25 percent more material drawn from the diary for a "definitive edition" in 1991, and Pressler was still alive in 2015, thus creating another long-lasting new copyright.[46] The move was seen as an attempt to extend the copyright term. Attard had criticised this action only as a "question of money",[49] and Ertzscheid concurred, stating, "It [the diary] belongs to everyone. And it is up to each to measure its importance."[50]

See also


  1. "Best (100) Books of the 20th Century] #8". Goodreads.
  2. "Top 10) definitive book(s) of the 20th century". The Guardian.
  3. "50 Best Books defining the 20th century".
  4. "List of the 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of the Century, #20". National Review.
  5. Books of the Century: War, Holocaust, Totalitarianism. New York Public Library. 1996. ISBN 978-0-19-511790-5.
  6. "Top 100 Books of the 20th century, while there are several editions of the book. The publishers made a children's edition and a thicker adult edition. There are hardcovers and paperbacks, #26". Waterstone's.
  7. 1 2 Avenant, Michael (5 January 2016). "Anne Frank's diary published online amid dispute". It Web. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  8. "Anne Frank Diary Anniversary Marks the Day Holocaust Victim Received Autograph Book as a Birthday Present (PHOTO)". The Huffington Post. June 12, 2013. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  9. 1 2 "Anne Frank's birthday on theme of diary's 70th anniversary". Anne Frank House. June 12, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  10. "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl: June 14, 1942 – November 17, 1942" (PDF). Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  11. "The Diary of Anne Frank Learning Guide: Table of Contents". Shmoop University, Inc. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  12. 1 2 "Anne Frank Biography (1929–1945)". Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  13. "The hiding place – A bookcase hides the entrance". Anne Frank House. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  14. Park, Madison (April 1, 2015). "Researchers say Anne Frank perished earlier than thought". CNN.
  15. "Ten questions on the authenticity of the diary of Anne Frank" (PDF). Anne Frank Stichting. 2007. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
  16. 1 2 Frank, Anne (1997). The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definite Edition. Bantam Books. p. vii. ISBN 0553577123.
  17. 1 2 Rosenberg, Jennifer. "5 Things You Don't Know About Anne Frank and Her Diary". Retrieved April 27, 2014.
  18. "The Different Versions of Anne's Diary". Anne Frank House. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  19. "Facts about The Diary of Anne Frank". Christian Memorials. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
  20. "Quotes by Kathe Egyedi from". Retrieved April 27, 2014.
  21. 1 2 Court of Amsterdam, 23 December 2015, ECLI:NL:RBAMS:2015:9312
  22. 1 2 3 Noonan, John (June 25, 2011). "On This Day: Anne Frank's Diary Published". Finding Dulcinea. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
  23. 1 2 3 4 "Anne Frank's diary is published". Anne Frank House. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
  24. Hyman Aaron Enzer, Sandra Solotaroff-Enzer, Anne Frank: Reflections on Her Life and Legacy (2000), p. 136
  25. Carol Ann Lee, The Hidden Life of Otto Frank (London: Penguin, 2003), p. 191-192
  26. Betty Merti, The World of Anne Frank: A Complete Resource Guide (1998), p. 40
  27. Frank, Anne, and Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation (2003) [1989]. The Diary of Anne Frank: The Revised Critical Edition. Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-50847-6.
  28. "Origin". Anne Frank Fonds. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  29. See Frank 1947
  30. "Publishing Houses". Anne Frank Fonds. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  31. "Shelley Winters wins the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mrs van Pels in "The Diary of Anne Frank".". Anne Frank House. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
  32. Fackler, Martin (February 21, 2014). "'Diary of Anne Frank' Vandalized at Japanese Libraries". The New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  33. Mullen, Jethro (February 21, 2014). "Pages torn from scores of copies of Anne Frank's diary in Tokyo libraries". CNN. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  34. "Wiesenthal Center Expresses Shock and Deep Concern Over Mass Desecrations of The Diary of Anne Frank in Japanese Libraries". February 20, 2014. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
  35. Brown, Sophie (February 28, 2014). "Israel donates hundreds of Anne Frank books to Tokyo libraries after vandalism". CNN. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  36. "Israel donates Anne Frank books to Japan after vandalism". Associated Press/Haaretz. February 27, 2014. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  37. "Japan arrest over Anne Frank book vandalism". BBC. March 11, 2014. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  38. "No charges for Japanese in Anne Frank diary vandalism case: Report". The Straits Times/AFP. June 19, 2014. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  39. ""中二病"の犯行ではない!? 被害は30年以上前から…図書館関係者が口に出せない『アンネの日記』破損事件の背景" (in Japanese). February 22, 2014. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  40. "The Neverending Campaign to Ban 'Slaughterhouse Five'". The Atlantic. August 12, 2011.
  41. 1 2 Michael Alison Chandler (January 29, 2010). "School system in Va. won't teach version of Anne Frank book". Washington Post.
  42. Maurielle Lue (2013-04-24). "Northville mother files complaint about passages in the unedited version of The Diary of Anne Frank". WJBK – Fox 2 News. Retrieved 2013-05-02. The following is the passage from the The Definitive Edition of the Diary of a Young Girl that has a mother in Northville filing a formal complaint. 'Until I was eleven or twelve, I didn't realize there was a second set of labia on the inside, since you couldn't see them. What's even funnier is that I thought urine came out of the clitoris…. When you're standing up, all you see from the front is hair. Between your legs there are two soft, cushiony things, also covered with hair, which press together when you're standing, so you can't see what's inside. They separate when you sit down and they're very red and quite fleshy on the inside. In the upper part, between the outer labia, there's a fold of skin that, on second thought, looks like a kind of blister. That's the clitoris.'
  43. Flood, Alison (May 7, 2013). "Anne Frank's Diary in US schools censorship battle". The Guardian. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  44. 1 2 Mitgang, Herbert (June 8, 1989), An Authenticated Edition of Anne Frank's Diary, New York Times
  45. Lee, Hermione (December 2, 2006), The Journal of Katherine Mansfield, The Guardian
  46. 1 2 3 Doreen Carvajal, Anne Frank's Diary Gains 'Co-Author' in Copyright Move dated November 13, 2015
  47. "The nature of Holocaust denial: What is Holocaust denial?", JPR report, 3, 2000; Prose, Francine (2009). Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife. New York: Harper. pp. 239–49.
  48. Faurisson, Robert (1982), "Is The Diary of Anne Frank genuine?", The Journal of Historical Review, 3 (2): 147
  49. 1 2 "Anne Frank's diary published online despite rights dispute, as 70 years since her death passes". ABC. 2 January 2016. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  50. Sinha, Sanskrity (2 January 2016). "Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl published online amid copyright dispute". International Business Times. Retrieved 8 January 2016.

Further reading

Editions of the diary


Other writing by Anne Frank

Publication history


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