The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
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. 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 Valentine 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.
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.
There are two versions of the diary written by Anne Frank. She wrote the first version in a designated diary and two cahiers (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.
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. 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:
“ 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.
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. Otto Frank later discussed this moment, “If she had been here, Anne would have been so proud.” 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.
Publication in English
In 1950 the Dutch translator Rosey E. Pool made a first translation of the Diary, which was never published. At the end of 1950, another translator was found to produce an English-language version. Barbara Mooyaart-Doubleday was contracted by Vallentine, Mitchell & Co. in England and by the end of the following year her translation was submitted, now including the deleted passages at Otto Frank’s request and the book appeared in the US and Great Britain in 1952, becoming a bestseller. The introduction of 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 Dutch critical version of 1986. A new translation by Susan Massotty based on the original texts was published in 1995.
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