Anne Frank does not only writer in her diary; she also writes tales and collects beautiful sentences.

Anne, the writer

Anne writing Anne Frank at the Sixth Montessori School, Amsterdam, 1941
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On her 13th birthday, Anne receives a diary as a gift from her parents. At first she finds it a little odd to be writing in a diary. She can’t imagine that anyone would ever be interested in the musings of a 13-year-old girl.

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Anne Frank and her diary

Discover the story behind Anne Frank's diary.

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Anne Frank's diary is published

Otto reads in Anne's diary that she intended to publish a book after the war about her time in the secret annexe.

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Reactions to the diary

Otto received many letters after the publication of Anne’s diary.

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What Anne appears to need is to vent her feelings. The first thing she writes it: “I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.”

"Kitty"

While she’s in hiding, Anne decides to think of her diary as a friend, whom she names Kitty. It makes the writing easier. Besides, she doesn’t really have a real friend, ‘and that’s how the whole idea of keeping a diary started’, she admits. ‘All I think about when I‘m with friends is having a good time. I can’t bring myself to talk about anything but ordinary everyday things. We don’t seem to be able to get any closer, and that’s the problem. Maybe it’s my fault that we don’t confide in each other. In any case, that’s just how things are, and unfortunately they’re not liable to change. This is why I’ve started the diary.’

Brought along to the Secret Annex

When the Frank family goes into hiding, the first thing Anne packs is her diary. And once she’s in the Secret Annex, she applies herself to writing in it almost daily. The life she leads now is totally different to her previous carefree existence. Anne has a lust for life and it's hard for her to be confined indoors, and forced to be quiet. Her diary helps her.

The nicest part is being able to write down all my thoughts and feelings, otherwise I‘d absolutely suffocate.

Anne Frank, 16 March 1944

Auguste wants to read it

Mrs van Pels is cheeky enough to ask if she can read it. ‘No, ma'am,' says Anne politely but firmly. Her sister Margot has better luck. Anne promises her she can read certain parts, but only if Anne herself can read Margot’s diary in return.

Short stories

Anne finds writing an increasingly enjoyable pursuit. In the summer of 1943 she starts writing her own short stories. Sometimes she reads them aloud to others in the Secret Annex. She also starts a ‘book of beautiful sentences’, a collection of her favourite sentences copied from the works of other writers.

"Tales" book The table of contents of Anne's 'Tales" book, an account book in which she wrote short stories.

Special News Report

On March 28, 1944, the people in hiding hear a special news report on the Dutch sender broadcasting from London, Radio Oranje (Radio Orange). Dutch Cabinet Minister Bolkestein announces that diaries and other important documents will be gathered when the war ends, as a record of what happened to the Dutch people during World War Two and to be preserved for future generations. The people in hiding immediately think of Anne’s diary.

A Novel about the Secret Annex

Anne also thinks this is a brilliant idea and writes: Just imagine how interesting it would be if I were to publish a novel about the Secret Annex. The title alone would make people think it was a detective story. In May 1944, the idea of this novel takes on serious form: "At long last after a great deal of reflection I have started my Achterhuis (Secret Annex), in my head it as good as finished, although it won't go as quickly as that, if it ever comes off at all."

Anne rewrites her diary

Anne starts to seriously rework her diary and calls it The Secret Annex. Anne feels increasingly certain that once the war is over, she wants to make use of her talent for writing. She dreams of becoming a journalist, and then a famous writer. And if it turns out that she lacks the talent to write books or newspaper articles, she can always just write for her own pleasure, she tells herself.  ‘But I want to achieve more than that. I can’t imagine having to live like Mother, Mrs van Pels and all the women who go about their work and are then forgotten. I need to have something besides a husband and children to devote myself to! I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people.’

Loose sheets Portions from Anne's diary.

Anne keeps up the hard work

She revises the major portion of her original diary in the short time left until the arrest of the people in hiding on August 4, 1944. Working on loose sheets of colored paper, she frequently makes simple corrections in the text. Sometimes she deletes entire passages because she thinks these are too personal. She still addresses all the letters in her diary to Kitty, her imaginary friend. The last diary entry that Anne has a chance to rewrite on these loose sheets is dated March 29, 1944.

Anne throws herself into writing She has a diary, but writes short stories too

Besides her diary and the stories, Anne also writes her “favorite quotes” in a separate notebook.

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Anne, the writer After the war, Anne wants to become a writer or journalist

Anne finds writing an increasingly enjoyable pursuit.

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Taken seriously as a writer at last? The various versions of Anne’s diary

In 1998, the emergence of five unknown pages written by Anne Frank once again focused attention on her diary...

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