The Diary of a Young Girl

The Diary of A Young Girl
Het Achterhuis (Diary of Anne Frank) - front cover, first ion.jpg
1946 first ion
AuthorAnne Frank
Original titleHet Achterhuis
TranslatorB. M. Mooyaart-Doubleday
Cover artistHelmut Salden
PublisherContact Publishing
Publication date
June 25, 1947
Published in English
LC ClassDS135.N6
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 in 1945. 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 Vallentine 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][8]


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.[9][10] 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.[10] She began to write in it two days later.[11][12]

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 parents Otto and Edith. They were later joined by Hermann van Pels, Otto's business partner, including his wife Auguste and their teenage son Peter.[13] Their hiding place was in the sealed-off upper rooms of the annex at the back of Otto's company building in Amsterdam.[13][14] 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 in hiding. But once he returned, he found his employees running it. The rooms that everyone 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 Albert Dussel. With the assistance of a group of Otto Frank's trusted colleagues, they remained hidden for two years and one month.[15][16]

In August 1944, they were discovered and deported to Nazi concentration camps. They were long thought to have been betrayed, although there are indications that their discovery may have been accidental, that the police raid had actually targeted "ration fraud".[17] Of the eight people, only Otto Frank survived the war. Anne was 15 years old when she died in Bergen-Belsen. The exact date of her death is unknown, and has long been believed to be in late February or early March, a few weeks before the prisoners were liberated by British troops on April 15, 1945. [18]

In the 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 three days before her arrest.[19]: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,[20] 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 spring of 1945.[21]


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.[22] It is believed that these names were taken from characters found in a series of popular Dutch books written by Cissy van Marxveldt.[22]

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,[20] 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.[23] 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.[24]

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.[citation needed] Jacqueline van Maarsen agreed,[citation needed] but Otto Frank assumed his daughter had her real acquaintance in mind when she wrote to someone of the same name.[citation needed] 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[25]


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 girl friend 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, 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 self-admitted 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.[26]

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.[27] 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:[28]

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.[28]

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.[28] Otto Frank later discussed this moment, "If she had been here, Anne would have been so proud."[28] The book sold well; the 3000 copies of the first ion were soon sold out, and in 1950 a sixth ion was published.

In 1986, a critical ion 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.[29]

Publication in English[]

In 1950, the Dutch translator Rosey E. Pool made a first translation of the Diary, which was never published.[30] At the end of 1950, another translator was found to produce an English-language version. Barbara Mooyaart-Doubleday was contracted by Vallentine Mitchell in England, and by the end of the following year, her translation was submitted, now including the deleted passages at Otto Frank's request. As well, Judith Jones, while working for the publisher Doubleday, read and recommended the Diary, pulling it out of the rejection pile.[31] Jones recalled that she came across Frank's work in a slush pile of material that had been rejected by other publishers; she was struck by a photograph of the girl on the cover of an advance copy of the French ion. "I read it all day", she noted. "When my boss returned, I told him, 'We have to publish this book.' He said, 'What? That book by that kid?'" She brought the diary to the attention of Doubleday's New York office. "I made the book quite important because I was so taken with it, and I felt it would have a real market in America. It's one of those seminal books that will never be forgotten", Jones said.[32] The book appeared in the United States and in the United Kingdom in 1952, becoming a best-seller. The introduction to the English publication was written by Eleanor Roosevelt.

In 1989, an English ion 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 the Dutch critical version of 1986.[33][34] A new translation by Susan Massotty, based on the original texts, was published in 1995.

Other languages[]

The work was translated in 1950 into German and French, before it appeared in 1952 in the US in English.[35] The critical version was also translated into Chinese.[36] As of 2019, the website of the Anne Frank House records translations in over 70 languages.[37]

Theatrical and film adaptations[]

A play by Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich based on the diary won the Pulitzer Prize for 1955. A subsequent film version earned Shelley Winters an Academy Award for her performance. Winters donated her Oscar to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.[38]

Stage set for the 2014 theatre production Anne at Theater Amsterdam, with the Secret Annex re-constructed on the right.

The first major adaptation to quote literal passages from the diary was 2014's Anne, authorised and initiated by the Anne Frank Foundation in Basel. After a two-year continuous run at the purpose-built Theater Amsterdam in the Netherlands, the play had productions in Germany[39] and Israel.

Other adaptations of the diary include a version by Wendy Kesselman from 1997,.[40] Alix Sobler's 2014 The Secret Annex imagined the fate of the diary in a world in which Anne Frank survives the Holocaust.[41]

The first German film version of the diary, written by Fred Breinersdorfer, was released by NBCUniversal in 2016. The film is derived from the 2014 Dutch stage production.

New ions[]

In May 2018, Frank van Vree, the director of the Niod Institute along with others, discovered some unseen excerpts from the diary that Anne had previously covered up with a piece of brown paper. The excerpts discuss sexuality, prostitution, and also include jokes Anne herself described as "dirty" that she heard from the other residents of the Secret Annex and elsewhere. Van Vree said "anyone who reads the passages that have now been discovered will be unable to suppress a smile", before adding, "the 'dirty' jokes are classics among growing children. They make it clear that Anne, with all her gifts, was above all an ordinary girl".[42]


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."[27] 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.'"[27]

In 2009, the notebooks of the diary were submitted by the Netherlands and included in UNESCO's Memory of the World Register.[43]


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.[44][45] The Simon Wiesenthal Center expressed "its shock and deep concern"[46] 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.[47] An anonymous donor under the name of 'Chiune Sugihara' donated two boxes of books pertaining to the Holocaust to the Tokyo central library.[48] After media attention had subsided, police arrested an unemployed man in March.[49] In June, prosecutors decided not to indict the suspect after he was found to be mentally incompetent.[50] Tokyo librarians have reported that Nazi-related books such as the diary and Man's Search for Meaning attract people with mental disorders and are subject to occasional vandalism.[51][better source needed]


In 2009, the terror group Hezbollah called to ban the book in Lebanese schools, arguing that the text was an apology to Jews, Zionism and Israel.[52]

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."[53] This version "includes passages previously excluded from the widely read original ion.... Some of the extra passages detail her emerging sexual desires; others include unflattering descriptions of her mother and other people living together."[54] 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.[55] The mother behind the formal complaint referred to portions of the book as "pretty pornographic."[56]

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 that "[m]ost of the concerns were about sexually explicit material".[54]


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".[57] Although many Holocaust deniers, such as Robert Faurisson, have claimed that Anne Frank's diary was fabricated,[58][59] critical and forensic studies of the text and the original manuscript have supported its authenticity.[60]

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.[60]

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 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 s 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 ed into a publishable manuscript by their respective executors, only to be superseded in later decades by unexpurgated ions prepared by scholars.[61]

Copyright and ownership of the originals[]

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 seventy years after 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 Frank's 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.[8][26]

The original Dutch version was made available online by University of Nantes lecturer Olivier Ertzscheid and former member of French parliament Isabelle Attard.[7][62]


In 2015, the Anne Frank Fonds made an announcement, as reported in The New York Times, that the 1947 ion of 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 ing, 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."[57]

The Anne Frank Fonds' claim, however, only referred to the heavily ed 1947 Dutch ion, not to the original diary.

The foundation also relies on the fact that another or, Mirjam Pressler, had revised the text and added 25 percent more material drawn from the diary for a "definitive ion" in 1991, and Pressler was still alive in 2015, thus creating another long-lasting new copyright.[57] The move was seen as an attempt to extend the copyright term. Attard had criticised this action only as a "question of money",[62] and Ertzscheid concurred, stating, "It [the diary] belongs to everyone. And it is up to each to measure its importance."[63]

See also[]


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  30. ^ Carol Ann Lee, The Hidden Life of Otto Frank (London: Penguin, 2003), p. 191-192
  31. ^ Noble, Barnes &. "The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food". Barnes & Noble.
  32. ^ Tabachnick, Toby (2009). "The or who didn't pass on Anne Frank; Jones recalls famous diary". The Jewish Chronicle. Archived from the original on April 26, 2016. Retrieved April 2, 2016 – via Firefox.
  33. ^ Betty Merti, The World of Anne Frank: A Complete Resource Guide (1998), p. 40
  34. ^ 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.
  35. ^ "Origin". Anne Frank Fonds. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  36. ^ See Frank 1947
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  55. ^ Maurielle Lue (2013-04-24). "Northville mother files complaint about passages in the uned version of The Diary of Anne Frank". WJBK – Fox 2 News. Archived from the original on 2013-05-02. Retrieved 2013-05-02. The following is the passage from 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.'
  56. ^ Flood, Alison (May 7, 2013). "Anne Frank's Diary in US schools censorship battle". The Guardian. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
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  59. ^ Faurisson, Robert (1982), "Is The Diary of Anne Frank genuine?", The Journal of Historical Review, 3 (2): 147
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Further reading[]

Copyright and ownership dispute[]

Editions of the diary[]


Other writing by Anne Frank[]

Publication history[]


External links[]

  1. ^ "The Atlantic Literary Review". Franklin. Philadelphia: Library of the University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2017-10-16.