On 25 June 1947, Anne’s father Otto Frank - the only one of the eight people in hiding in the Secret Annex who survived the extermination camps - simply noted in his diary: ‘Book’. It is 66 years ago today that the diary of Anne Frank first appeared in print. Later he said of that day: ‘If she had been here, Anne would have been so proud.’
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Otto returns to Amsterdam
After the liberation of Auschwitz, Otto returns to Amsterdam. On the journey back he hears of the death of his wife Edith. He hopes that his daughters Margot and Anne are still alive, but then he learns that they too have not survived the war. The helper Miep Gies gives him Anne’s diary papers, which she has kept in her desk drawer since the arrest of the people in hiding. In the diary Otto reads that after the war Anne wanted to publish a book about her time in hiding. She had even rewritten a large part of her original diary. Otto Frank hesitates at first, but he finally decides to fulfil his daughter’s wish.
Newspaper article: ‘A child’s voice’
Otto Frank types out Anne’s diary, and it finds its way via a number of different contacts to Jan and Annie Romein, both historians. Jan Romein is deeply impressed, and writes an article about Anne’s diary that appears on the front page of the Dutch newspaper Het Parool on 3 April 1946. ‘For me, all the hideousness of fascism is embodied in this apparently insignificant diary of a child, more than in all the Nuremberg court documents put together’, he writes. A number of publishers become interested. ‘The Secret Annex: Diary letters from 14 June 1942 to 1 August 1944' is published by Contact publishers of Amsterdam on 25 June 1947 in an edition of 3,000 copies.
Deep thoughts and feelings
Otto Frank later recalled what he felt when he read the diary for the first time: ‘I began to read slowly, only a few pages each day, more would have been impossible, as I was overwhelmed by painful memories. For me, it was a revelation. There was revealed a completely different Anne to the child that I had lost. I had no idea of the depths of her thoughts and feelings.'
After the first Dutch edition in 1947, Anne’s diary is published in Germany and France in 1950. An English translation follows in 1952. The book has currently been translated into seventy languages.