Sixty Year Anniversary of the Publication of Anne Frank's Diary


Read more about Anne's diary and read the last diary entry here on Voices

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Anne Frank's diary was first published in English on this date in 1952. What's now known as Diary of a Young Girl was first published in Dutch in 1947, under the title The Secret Annex (Het Achterhuis) in Dutch. Frank died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp about two weeks before the camps were liberated in 1945. After the war, Anne's father, Otto Frank, was given the diary, along with some other papers, which had been left behind when the family was taken in 1944. He wasn't able to read it for a while because it was too painful, but when he did, he believed that his daughter meant the diary to be published. There were two versions of the diary: the "A" version, which was made up of spontaneous journal entries; and the "B" version, rewritten by Anne herself, possibly with an eye to publication. Her father edited the two together into a "C" version. He left out five pages of Anne's original "A" version, pages in which she described the progress of her sexual development, and ranted about her mother. The lost pages were restored in a definitive edition, which was published in 1995.

Sixteen different American publishers rejected the English translation before Doubleday picked it up in 1952; one reader at Alfred A. Knopf dismissed the book as "very dull" and "a dreary record of typical family bickering, petty annoyances, and adolescent emotions."

Source: The Writer's Almanac;


Excerpts from the Diary

On the Deportations

"Our many Jewish friends and acquaintances are being taken away in droves. The Gestapo is treating them very roughly and transporting them in cattle cars to Westerbork, the big camp in Drenthe to which they're sending all the Jews....If it's that bad in Holland, what must it be like in those faraway and uncivilized places where the Germans are sending them? We assume that most of them are being murdered. The English radio says they're being gassed." - October 9, 1942

On Nazi Punishment of Resisters

"Have you ever heard the term 'hostages'? That's the latest punishment for saboteurs. It's the most horrible thing you can imagine. Leading citizens--innocent people--are taken prisoner to await their execution. If the Gestapo can't find the saboteur, they simply grab five hostages and line them up against the wall. You read the announcements of their death in the paper, where they're referred to as 'fatal accidents." - October 9, 1942

"All college students are being asked to sign an official statement to the effect that they 'sympathize with the Germans and approve of the New Order." Eighty percent have decided to obey the dictates of their conscience, but the penalty will be severe. Any student refusing to sign will be sent to a German labor camp." - May 18, 1943

On Writing and Her Diary

"Mr. Bolkestein, the Cabinet Minister, speaking on the Dutch broadcast from London, said that after the war a collection would be made of diaries and letters dealing with the war. Of course, everyone pounced on my diary." - March 29, 1944

"When I write, I can shake off all my cares." - April 5, 1944

Describing her Despair

"I've reached the point where I hardly care whether I live or die. The world will keep on turning without me, and I can't do anything to change events anyway. I'll just let matters take their course and concentrate on studying and hope that everything will be all right in the end." - February 3, 1944

"...but the minute I was alone I knew I was going to cry my eyes out. I slid to the floor in my nightgown and began by saying my prayers, very fervently. Then I drew my knees to my chest, lay my head on my arms and cried, all huddled up on the bare floor. A loud sob brought me back down to earth..." - April 5, 1944

On Her Old Country, Germany

"Fine specimens of humanity, those Germans, and to think I'm actually one of them! No, that's not true, Hitler took away our nationality long ago. And besides, there are no greater enemies on earth than the Germans and Jews." - October 9, 1942

On Still Believing

"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. 

It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. 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. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more" - July 15, 1944