Historiography Saturday: Anne Frank


The story of Anne Frank needs little introduction. A Jewish girl raised in Amsterdam, she and her family took refuge in a hidden pair of rooms she called the “Secret Annex,” where she documented her cloistered life in a diary over two years. Her entries, spanning from age 13 to 15, are so compellingly written that they were subject to intense scrutiny for authenticity after her father had them published following her death in a concentration camp. The Diary of Anne Frank is now considered a classic work on the Holocaust: it has been translated into over 60 languages and is widely taught in schools.

Frank appears on this blog due to controversies surrounding the unabridged edition of her diary. The original publication had been edited to remove, among other things, passages concerning her emerging sexuality. She describes a budding romance with a male fellow refuge-seeker, but also expresses a vivid appreciation for the female form (the section in question is quoted here). Her possibly implied homo- or bisexuality has led the book to be censored in schools, although no definitive confirmation exists that the paragraph in question refers to anything other than aesthetic appreciation.

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