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Who Published the Diary of Anne Frank?

Instructor: Katherine Garner

Katie teaches middle school English/Language Arts and has a master's degree in Secondary English Education

This lesson tells the story of how Anne Frank's father, Otto, was able to get her diary published even after her death in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945.

The Significance of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank's diary, which she kept while her family hid from the Nazis in Amsterdam in the 1940s, is one of the most famous real-life accounts of the Holocaust that the world has. It is extremely valuable for historical education but also for literary study. Because the story is told from the point of view of a teenage girl, the diary is a particularly interesting text for middle and high school students because there are still many ways contemporary teenagers can connect with her, despite the fact that Anne Frank lived and died during a frightening time in another country decades ago.

The Publication of the Diary

There are not many books that are so well-known and widely-read as Anne Frank's diary, but this book was never meant to be read by other people, let alone published in many different languages around the world.

Anne Frank's diary was published by her father, Otto Frank. At the end of World War II, he was freed from a Nazi concentration camp and came back to the annex, or secret attic rooms, where his family hid for several years. His friend who had helped the Frank family hide, Miep Gies, gave him the diary that Anne had left behind when the family was discovered. Anne, her sister, and her mother had all died in concentration camps after the family was found.

Though Anne had never intended for her diary to be published, she did write in her diary that she planned to write a book about her experiences and had even rewritten passages of her diary to make them more fit for public consumption.

Anne Frank writing at her school desk before her family went into hiding
Anne Frank writing at her desk

Otto Frank edited and typed the manuscript from the diary himself. To prepare the diary for publication, Anne had given some of the other people who also hid in the annex pseudonyms, or false names. Otto kept some of them, or used some of his own, to protect the identities of the other people referred to in the diary.

Otto sent the manuscript to a couple of Dutch historians in hopes that they would find a way to get the book published. Unsuccessful at first, one of the historians wrote a newspaper article about the discovery of the diary to garner attention and publicity. The author of the article, Jan Romein, praised the diary by writing: ''This apparently inconsequential diary by a child... embodies all the hideousness of fascism, more so than all the evidence at Nuremberg put together.'' After the publication of this article, several publishers expressed interest in printing the diary.

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