Why make it public?

The hidden text on two pages covered up with gummed paper in the first diary of Anne Frank.
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The Anne Frank House, together with the Huygens Institute of Netherlands History and the NIOD, Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, presented 15 May the hidden text on two pages covered up with gummed paper in the first diary of Anne Frank, with its red checked cover. Thanks to digital technology the text on the hidden pages has now been made legible. 

Over 70 years since the publication of the diary the text of two pages, which Anne Frank wrote in her diary on 28 September 1942, has been published for the first time.

Spoiled page

“I’ll use this spoiled page to write down ‘dirty’ jokes”, wrote Anne on 28 September 1942. She had then been in hiding in the Secret Annex for barely two months. In an attempt to save what she saw as the “spoiled” page of her beloved diary, she first listed four “dirty” jokes. From these jokes Anne moves on to the subject of sex education, which she pretends she has to give to someone else. In this way she can show what she knows about it. 

Why

Ronald Leopold, executive director of the Anne Frank House: “Anne Frank writes about sexuality in a disarming way. Like every adolescent she is curious about this subject. She also writes about it on other, uncovered pages. Of course we asked ourselves, together with the other organisations involved, the question of whether it was right to publish a text that Anne had covered up. After careful consideration we arrived at a positive answer.

  • The diary papers of Anne Frank are world-famous and have UNESCO world heritage status. Millions of people have read her diary and visited the Anne Frank House. We are of the opinion that if new information on her diary becomes available, in this case new text, we have to share it with the world.
  • Apart from the public interest, the academic interest also played a role in our considerations. We want to enable other researchers to include these new fragments in their analysis of the diaries of Anne Frank.
  • What is more, other texts from the diary papers of Anne Frank that she had not intended for publication have been published on earlier occasions. That already occurred in the publication arranged by her father in 1947, and later in the compilation of the critical education by the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, which was published in 1986 and republished in 2001 after the discovery of five new diary pages.

We can well understand the standpoint of people who think that we should not have published the text, but on the basis of the above arguments we have come to a different conclusion. We realise that not everyone will adopt a different standpoint because of this, but we hope that in this way we have shown that we did not take this decision lightly and that it was taken with great care.“

The symbol of the Holocaust and the girl

Over the decades Anne has grown to become the worldwide symbol of the Holocaust, and Anne the girl has increasingly faded into the background. These - literally - uncovered texts bring the inquisitive and in many respects precocious teenager back into the foreground. 

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More about the deciphered hidden pages in the diary of Anne Frank.

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