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But was it all her own work?
There are very few true true-life accounts as moving as that one recorded by the young teenage girl in Amsterdam. Written over two years, Anne Frank's diary gives account of how — together with her family and four friends — she hid within her father's place of business in Amsterdam in fear of being found by the Nazis during World War II. Of course, in the end that's exactly what happened. Anne Frank was a truly astounding writer for her age, and her diary remains a stoic reminder of the suffering endured by civilians during Nazi occupation.
But the diaries are not without controversy. Using databases that house articles from press, investigations, dissertations and written reports, reviews and interpretations, a great deal of information can be sourced by the researcher who seeks to examine these diaries. Here we use ProQuest Historical Newspapers references to highlight just a few interesting articles. Why not see what else you can find yourself?
A record of several parts
Anne wrote her diary in three parts: the first covered five and half months; the second part (covering one whole year of her hiding) if it was ever written, was never found: and the final part up to her capture in 1944 covers another three and half months.
She intended it to be for her own record initially. But then in 1944, she heard a radio announcement calling for the importance of written records to be kept as accounts of the horrific events of the War, and she undertook to re-write and 'tidy-up' her diary into a format that she intended to try and publish after the War. Some sections she took out for being too personal, other sections, doubtless, were embellished as her writing style had matured. Thankfully, Anne also filled in the missing section. But she never got the opportunity to fully complete her work — all seven of the stowaways died at the hands of the Nazis soon afterwards, either through starvation, disease or execution. Only her father survived, and it was he who pushed to get her story published.
But this is just the start of the tale. From here, the story Anne had always intended to publish herself after the War became the focus for argument over financial battles as we can discover using ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
The controversy begins: Anne Frank on the Stage
Meyer Levin was a journalist, author, critic and film producer. As a war correspondent, he was also one of the first outsiders to see (and report on) the horrors of the concentration camps. He became instrumental in getting Anne Frank's diary in front of the American market, writing reviews for The New York Times. Levin met Otto Frank (Anne's father) in France in 1949; and he became so affected and determined to report on the story that he developed a theatre dramatization of the book and found a Broadway producer to direct and cast it.
Levin's article written for The New York Times in 1952 as a means to help promote his forthcoming stage production. You can read the full piece using ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
Of note, the same article was re-run by The New York Times verbatim 44 years later.
However, Levin's production never made it to the stage; the project was found to be too problematic to put on and it was ultimately taken away from him, as this article from The New York Times tells:
But the book did finally make it to the stage in 1955, through the aid of a different writer. It received mixed reviews but also won Pulitzer and Tony Awards; from there it also went on to be produced as a film.
Levin was furious and sued the producers for appropriation of his concept and the completion of work he'd started in what turned out to become a protracted and acrimonious affair; he also sued Otto Frank for continuing on the project and cutting him out financially.
You can read many detailed articles about these law suits using ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
There is a movement that believes the diary is a fake. Leading this faction were two Germans, Ernst Romer and Edgar Geiss, who claimed the re-written version was done by a different person, and it was against these two that Otto Frank made his own law suit.
However, during the court case that followed, it transpired that not only did these critics find it difficult to accept that a 13 year old could write with such eloquence, they also pointed out that sections of the diary were re-written in ball point pen. While there were some early attempts at getting ball-point pens to the market and earlier patents were filed, such pens did not go on sale until 1945 (in America)… Anne died of Typhus in a concentration camp in 1944.
There are a great many documents available to read both for and against — the best way to form your own opinion would be to take a trial of the product and research this topic for yourself!
The image here shows a quote taken from the translated version of Anne Frank's original Dutch diary. This can be found in Levin's 1952 article.
Anne's diary is written in an extremely personal fashion. It deals with every aspect of her existence and covers all thoughts and activities she was able to engage in, given such confined habitation (including her love affair with Peter and her passage from childhood to womanhood). Some sections of the re-released "Definitive" version of the diary where considered too vivid for younger readers, which resulted in the diary being banned from a number of schools in the United States. Find out more through ProQuest Historical Newspapers — and arrange for your FREE trial today.
Over the years many books, plays, films, and even songs about Anne Frank's diary have followed — and they still continue to come as the 2010 Irish Times article below shows. Why? Because regardless of any petty argument or attempt to discredit it, the message that Anne Frank's diary tells is one that should never be forgotten.
There are many other stories of Christians giving refuge to Jews during the war — even the sympathetic greengrocer who used to supply the Franks with food — was himself hiding a few. Similar lesser-known written accounts of childhood existence growing up under the shadow of the holocaust exist, including books by the Dutch Gerhard Durlacher. The first of Durlacher's books called "Drenkeling" (translated into English and published as "Drowning – Growing up in the Third Reich") describes the author's experiences of living in Baden-Baden as a child. The second of his books "Strepen aan de Hemal" (Stripes in the Sky) speaks about his experiences having been transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau; while not internationally known as Anne Frank's diary has become, Durlacher's books are now set books to be read as part of the national curriculum in Dutch secondary schools.
About the Historical Newspaper collection from ProQuest
ProQuest Historical Newspapers™ is the definitive newspaper digital archive offering full-text and full-image articles for nearly 40 significant newspapers dating back to the 18th century. As part of the ProQuest Historical Newspapers™ program, every issue of each title includes the complete newspaper cover-to-cover, with full-page and article images in easily downloadable PDF format. The full collection of ProQuest Historical Newspapers™ contains nearly 30 million digitized pages.
Included within the newspaper collection, American Jewish Newspapers enables researchers to investigate Jewish immigration, genealogy, history, and so much more.
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