«...will I ever become a journalist or a writer? I hope so, oh, I hope so very much, because writing allows me to record everything, all my thoughts, ideals and fantasies.»
(Anne Frank, April 5, 1944)
Anne Frank was given the red-and-white checked diary by her father for her 13th birthday on June 12, 1942. Until spring 1944, she only wrote for herself. Then she heard a radio broadcast by the Dutch Minister for Education who held out the prospect to the population of - after the war - publishing everything about the suffering of the Dutch population during the German occupation. So Anne decided to publish a book based on her diary notes once the war was over. Her last entry was made on August 1, 1944, three days before her family was betrayed.
Miep Gies and Bep Voskuij found Anne Frank's diaries after the family had been deported. The women were secretaries for Opekta-Werke, where Anne Frank's father had also worked, and were members of the group of helpers who had hidden the family.
Miep kept the diaries in the hope that she would be able to return them to Anne Frank one day. When, after the war, she found out that Anne Frank had died in the concentration camp, she handed the notebooks and loose sheets to Anne Frank's father Otto Frank, the sole survivor of the family.
Otto Frank decided to fulfil his daughter's heartfelt wish and have her writing published as a book. Anne Frank had already made a note of the title of her book: "Het Achterhuis" (in English: "the rear annex", but more usually in this context, "the secret annex").
On June 25, 1947, "Het Achterhuis" was published in The Netherlands. In 1950 the German and French versions of the "Diary" followed. In 1952, the first edition of "The Diary" was published in the USA and became an immediate best-seller.
When Otto Frank died in 1980, he bequeathed the original texts to the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation. Today the handwritten manuscripts of the diary are housed at the Anne Frank memorial house in Amsterdam.
The different versions
Considering the dramatic circumstances on that fatal August 4, 1944 and the general confusion that reigned in the secret annex afterwards, it is incredible that the handwritten manuscripts of the diary survived.
Using the original version A of the diary and version B, which was edited by Anne Frank herself, Otto Frank compiled a third, shortened version C. He had to shorten it because the publishing house only wanted to print a certain number of pages. Otto Frank also deleted whole passages and certain phrases that he felt revealed too many intimate details.
"The Diaries of Anne Frank", a scientific investigation by the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation, were published in 1986 and contained all texts by Anne Frank in a first critical edition.
In 1986, with the publication of the first critical edition of the diaries, the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation (NIOD) also published a scientific investigation into the authenticity of the manuscripts by Anne Frank. In this process, handwriting, paper, glue, inks, and other elements, were investigated in the Netherlands Forensic Institute, a department of the Dutch Ministry of Justice in Rijswijk. The result substantiated the authenticity of the diary.
In its verdict of March 23, 1990, the Hamburg Regional Court also confirmed the authenticity of the diary. The ANNE FRANK FONDS reserves the right to initiate criminal proceedings against attacks on the authenticity of the diary of Anne Frank.