Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl is among the most enduring documents of the twentieth century. Since its publication in 1947, it has been read by tens of millions of people all over the world. It remains a beloved and deeply admired testament to the indestructable nature of the human spirit.
Restore in this Definitive Edition are diary entries that had been omitted from the original edition. These passages, which constitute 30 percent more material, reinforce the fact that Anne was first and foremost a teenage girl, not a remote and flawless symbol. She fretted about, and tried to copie with, her own emerging sexuality. Like many young girls, she often found herself in disagreement with her mother. And like any teenager, she veered between the carefree nature of a child and the full-fledged sorrow of an adult. Anne emerges more human, more vulnerable, and more vital than ever.
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Anne Frank and her family, fleeing the horrors of Nazi occupation, hid in the back of an Amsterdam warehouse for two years. She was thirteen when the family went into the Secret Annex, and in these pages she grows to be a young woman and a wise observer of human nature as well. With unusual insight, she reveals the relations between eight people living under extraordinary conditions, facing hunger, the ever-present threat of discovery and death, complete estrangement from the outside world, and above all, the boredom, the petty misunderstandings, and the frustrations of living under such unbearable strain, in such confined quarters.
A timely story rediscovered by each new generation, The Diary of a Young Girl stands without peer. For both young readers and adults it continues to bring to life this young woman, who for a time survived the worst horror of the modern world had seen — and who remained triumphantly and heartbreakingly human throughout her ordeal. For those who know and love Anne Frank, The Definitive Edition is a chance to discover her anew. For readers who have not yet encountered her, this is the edition to cherish.
ANNE FRANK was born on June 12, 1929. She died while imprisoned at Bergen-Belsen, three months short of her sixteenth birthday. OTTO H. FRANK was the only member of his immediate framily to survive the Holocaust. He died in 1980. MIRJAM PRESSLER is a popular writer of books for young adults. She lives in Germany.
Anne Frank kept a diary from June 12, 1942, to August 1, 1944. Initially, she wrote it strictly for herself. Then, one day in 1944, Gerrit Bolkestein, a member of the Dutch government in exile, announced in a radio broadcast from London that after the war he hoped to collect eyewitness accounts of the suffering of the Dutch people under the German occupation, which could be made available to the public. As an example, he specifically mentioned letters and diaries.
Impressed by this speech, Anne Frank decided that when the war was over she would publish a book based on her diary. She began rewriting and editing her diary, improving on the text, omitting passages she didn’t think were interesting enough and adding others from memory. At the same time, she kept up her original diary. In the scholarly work The Diary of Anne Frank: The Critical Edition (1989), Anne’s first, unedited diary is referred to as version a, to distinguish it from her second, edited diary, which is known as version b.
The last entry in Anne’s diary is dated August 1, 1944. On August 4, 1944, the eight people hiding in the Secret Annex were arrested. Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl, the two secretaries working in the building, found Anne’s diaries strewn allover the floor. ,Miep Gies tucked them away in a desk drawer for safekeeping. After the war, when it became clear that Anne was dead, she gave the diaries, unread, to Anne’s father, Otto Frank.
After long deliberation, Otto Frank decided to fulfill his daughter’s wish and publish her diary. He selected material from versions a and b, editing them into a shorter version later referred to as version c. Readers all over the world know this as The Diary of a fauna Girl.
In making his choice, Otto Frank had to bear several points in mind. To begin with, the book had to be kept short so that it would fit in with a series put out by the Dutch publisher. In addition, several passages dealing with Anne’s sexuality were omitted; at the time of the diary’s initial publication, in 1947, it was not customary to write openly about sex, and certainly not in books for young adults. Out of respect for the dead, Otto Frank also omitted a number of unflattering passages about his wife and the other residents of the Secret Annex. Anne Frank, who was thirteen when she began her diary and fifteen when she was forced to stop, wrote without reserve about her likes and dislikes.
When Otto Frank died in 1980, he willed his daughter’s manuscripts to the Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation in Amsterdam. Because the authenticity of the diary had been challenged ever since its publication, the Institute for War Documentation ordered a thorough investigation. Once the diary was proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, to be genuine, it was published in its entirety, along with the results of an exhaustive study. The Critical Edition contains not only versions a, band c, but also articles on the background of the Frank family, the circumstances surrounding their arrest and deportation, and the examination into Anne’s handwriting, the document and the materials used.
The Anne Frank-Fonds (Anne Frank Foundation) in Basel (Switzerland),. which as Otto Frank’s sole heir had also inherited his daughter’s copyrights, then decided to have anew, expanded edition of the diary published for general readers. This new edition in no way affects the integrity of the old one originally edited by Otto Frank, which brought the diary and its message to millions of people. The task of compthng the expanded edition was given to the writer and translator Mirjam Pressler. Otto Frank’s original selection has now been supplemented with passages from Anne’s a and b versions. Mirjam Pressler’s definitive edition, approved by the Anne Frank-Fonds, contains approximately 30 percent more material and is intended to give the reader more insight into the world of Anne Frank.
In writing her second version (b), Anne invented pseudonyms for the people who would appear in her book. She initially wanted to call herself Anne Aulis, and later Anne Robin. Otto Frank opted to call his family by their own names and to follow Anne’s wishes with regard to the others. Over the years, the identity of the people who helped the family in the Secret Annex has become common knowledge.
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