On This Day

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Bas Czerwinski/AP

On This Day: Anne Frank’s Diary Published

June 25, 2011 05:00 AM
by John Noonan
On June 25, 1947, young Holocaust victim Anne Frank’s diary is posthumously published when her father, Otto Frank, prints 1,500 copies in Dutch.

Otto Frank Publishes Daughter Anne’s Discovered Diary

Otto Frank, the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust, returned home from the Auschwitz concentration camp after it was liberated by Russian troops in early January 1945. He soon found the diary of his younger daughter, Anne.

Written in Dutch while her family was in hiding from the Gestapo, Anne Frank’s diary tells the story of a young woman’s internal struggle to understand and cope with Nazi occupation and anti-Semitism.

Otto recalled in the 1960s how he felt reading the diary for the first time: “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.”

He began typing the diary into German and sharing it with family and close friends, who convinced him to share it with the world. He took it to a publisher, which released the first copies of the diary, titled “Het Achterhuis,” or “The Secret Annex,” on June 25, 1947.

Known to American readers as “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl,” it has since been published in more than 60 languages and has become one of the most influential—and widely read—literary works in history.

Precocious in style and insight, it traces her emotional growth amid adversity,” writes Michael Berenbaum, former director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “In it she wrote, ‘In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.’”

Biography: Anne Frank (1929-45)

Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt, Germany, on June 12, 1929. At the beginning of 1933, Anne and her family fled Germany for the Netherlands as the Nazi party took over. In 1940, the Nazis invaded the Netherlands and the Franks were forced to deal with Nazi persecution.

Two years later, Anne’s sister Margot received a summons to a concentration camp. Rather than allow his daughter to be taken away, Otto Frank took his family to a hiding place in his food-products warehouse on July 6, 1942. The family, along with four other individuals, would spend the next two years in the “Secret Annex.”

On Aug. 4, 1944, the Gestapo raided the apartment following a tip from an unknown informer. Anne and Margot were sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where they died of typhus in March 1945.

Anne’s parents were sent to Auschwitz; the camp was liberated by Russian troops in early January 1945, just days after Anne’s mother had died.

Anne Frank’s Legacy

Anne Frank’s story is now one of the most read pieces of literature worldwide. More than 25 million copies of her diary have been sold since the original publishing in 1947. Her story has been made into hundreds of plays, movies and documentaries, including the 1959 major motion picture, “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

Historical Context: The Holocaust

Visit findingDulcinea's Holocaust Resources Page to learn about the horrors of the Holocaust, and the Nazi regime that killed an estimated six million Jews and millions of others.

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