The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

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.[22]

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.[23] 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:[24]

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.[24]

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.[24] Otto Frank later discussed this moment, "If she had been here, Anne would have been so proud."[24] 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.[25]

Publication in English

In 1950, the Dutch translator Rosey E. Pool made a first translation of the Diary, which was never published.[26] 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.[27] 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 edition. "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.[28] The book appeared in the United States and in th United Kingdom in 1952, becoming a best-seller. The introduction to 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 the Dutch critical version of 1986.[29][30] 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.[31] The critical version was also translated into Chinese.[32] As of 2015, the website of the Anne Frank Fonds records translations in over 60 languages.[33]

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.[34]

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[35] and Israel.

Other adaptations of the diary include a version by Wendy Kesselman from 1997,[36]. Alix Sobler's 2014 The Secret Annex imagined the fate of the diary in a world in which Anne Frank survives the Holocaust.[37]

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 editions

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".[38]


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