The Diary of Anne Frank – (Translation from French abstract)
As it is written at the end of the book, in the postscript, the diary has been translated into more than 55 languages and has sold more than 20 million copies, of which more than 2 million are of the French translation. This clearly shows just how important its impact was. Naturally, quantity does not mean quality, but I would wish to show you just what you have missed if you have yet to read it:
“Anne Frank kept her diary from June 12th 1942 to 1st August 1944. Up to the spring of 1944, she wrote letters for herself alone, up to the point when she heard on London radio the exiled Dutch Minister for Education say that after the war it would be necessary to gather together and publish everything and anything which dealt with the sufferances of the Dutch people during the German occupation. He cited, by means of an example, amongst other things, personal diaries.
Struck by this speech, Anne Frank decided to publish a book after the war, of which her diary would provide the foundation. She began to recopy and rewrite it here and there, correcting and getting rid of passages which she deemed of little interest, or adding others in her memory. At the same time, she continued to keep her original diary […]. Her last entry dates to the 1st of August. On the 4th, the eight people in hiding were arrested and taken away by the German police.”
For a start, this book is a historical sourcebook for the second world war without actually being one. At school one learns that there were 45 million deaths, that such-and-such a famous person did such-and-such and that it had such-and-such an impact. Of course, it is very important, but is it not easier to take in when one feels closer to these events? Anne gave her diary the name Kitty.
When one reads it, one puts oneself in Kitty’s place; one is her confidant, one is in the story, fully immersed in a world war, hiding oneself, feeling again those same things that were felt at the time. One follows the story from up close, at the level of the individual and those around her, and one understands the harshness of her life. Imagining the background and the places is all the more easy because it is a real diary, contemporaneously written.
To briefly summarise, Anne Frank received a diary for her 13th birthday on the 12th June 1942. The little Jewish girl, just 13, began by writing down those things relevant to a girl of her age (she speaks of classmates, her family, boys…) with several allusions to Judaism (“Jews must…”, “Jews are not allowed to…”). To note a particular quote, “I dare do nothing more; I fear that it may not be allowed”. Everything is turned upside down on July 5th 1942.On this date, Margot, Anne’s sister, received a summons from the SS and the family departs to hide themselves immediately in Anne’s father’s workplace. The Frank family live in a part of this building, which Anne calls “the Annex”. Life there is difficult, knowing that one must make the least possible amount of noise so as not to attract the attention of the neighbours. Four other people join up with the Franks: the Van Daan family and Dussel the dentist. Otto Frank, Anne’s father, has relations outside of town who engineer for the Frank family temporary respite.