Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Anne Frank

The sale by the New York auction house Swann in early May of a copy Grimm's Fairy Tales, which had apparently belonged to Anne and her sister Margot, was widely covered in the press.

The public interest in this particular sale was heightened by the fact that the book was inscribed by Anne with her name and that of her sister Margot. Furthermore, it also contains an « Ex libris » stamp of Margot's. The provenance of the book was confirmed by supporting correspondence between Otto Frank and the Dutch family who owned the book and offered it to him as a gift. The new owner Kenneth W. Rendell who paid $50,000 for the items, intends to display them in his Museum of World War II outside Boston. The AFF is reassured by the fact that these important artefacts have found a new home and will apparently be displayed in an appropriate environment. Nevertheless, the AFF as stated above, would like to state its considerable misgivings about the sale of this type of material in the public domain.

  • In this particular instance the original owners generously offered the items concerned as a gift to Otto Frank in 1977. He declined and said that he would be happy if they retained them in memory of his murdered daughters. One can only speculate on what Otto's reaction would have been to learn that, as a result of his generosity, the erstwhile possessions of his holocaust-victim daughters where being sold to the highest bidder.
  • The publicity surrounding the sale of this material focussed on Anne's inscription. However, the AFF believes that the real poignancy attached to the book derives from the fact that it had been owned by Margot, as witnessed by her book stamp. It is thus one of the very few surviving artefacts which can be directly attributed to Margot.

Picture: Anne and Margot Frank's copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales (Aus Grimms Märchen), Signed and Inscribed by Anne Frank, with Margot Frank's ink owner stamp, Vienna, 1925, inscription Amsterdam, circa 1940. Estimate $20,000 to $30,000 at Auction May 5, 2016.

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