Book Reviews

The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition by Anne Frank #Review

thediaryofayounggirl

73 years after her death in the Nazi concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen, Anne Frank remains one of the most recognizable victims of the Holocaust. Her diary was first published in 1947 by her father. Since then, it has been translated into 70 languages, and sold more than 30 million copies world-wide.

I’ve read Anne’s diary countless times throughout my life, and it never fails to haunt me. Up until now, I had only read the edited version of the diary, in which around thirty percent of Anne’s writing were left out. This version of the diary—The Definitive Edition— restores those omitted passages.

For those few who are unaware, The Diary of a Young Girl describes the 25 months spent Anne Frank and seven others hid from the Nazis in Amsterdam. A space with about 500 square feet in space was shared by the Frank family (Otto, Edith, Margot, and Anne), Fritz Pfeffer (given the pseudonym Albert Dussel in the diary), and the van Pels family (Hermann, Auguste, and Peter (pseudonyms: Hermann, Petronella, and Peter van Daan). They remained hidden for 25 months with the help of Victor Kugler (pseudonym : Mr. Kraler), Johannes Kleiman (pseudonym: Mr. Koophuis), Jan Gies (pseudonym: Henk van Santen) Miep Gies, and Elizabeth “Bep” Voskuijl before an unknown person betrayed their hiding place to the Nazis on August 4, 1944. The occupants were arrested, and deported. (Hermann van Pels died at Auschwitz. Auguste van Pels died at Theresienstadt. Peter van Pels died at Mauthausen. Fritz Pfeffer died at Neuengamme. Edith Frank died at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Both Margot and Anne Frank died—within days of one another—at Bergen-Belsen. Otto Frank was the sole survivor.)

Reading this always leaves me feeling reflective. I can’t begin to truly grasp how it must have felt for these people, to be hated simply because they were Jews. Their courage in the face of senseless hatred… the deprivations and struggles they endured when they were forced into hiding… both are beyond my imagining. After I finished reading, I took a virtual tour of the Annex and realized that it was much smaller than I pictured it in my mind—and yet, eight people lived there. For them to have hidden so long, so near to the end of the war before being discovered breaks my heart again and again when I think about it.

I’m so grateful that Anne’s diary survived, even though she did not, because the horrors of what the Jewish people went through at the hands of the Nazis needed to be known. In light of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, it’s clear that these lessons are needed now more than ever.

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Author: Anne Frank
Title: The Diary of a Young Girl
Genre: Autobiography
Publication Date: September 15, 2010 by Anchor (Originally published in 1947)
Rating: 5 stars

About the Book

The diary as Anne Frank wrote it.

At last, in a new translation, this definitive edition contains entries about Anne’s burgeoning sexuality and confrontations with her mother that were cut from previous editions. Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl is among the most enduring documents of the twentieth century. Since its publication in 1947, it has been a beloved and deeply admired monument to the indestructible nature of the human spirit, read by millions of people and translated into more than fifty-five languages. Doubleday, which published the first English translation of the diary in 1952, now offers a new translation that captures Anne’s youthful spirit and restores the original material omitted by Anne’s father, Otto—approximately thirty percent of the diary. The elder Frank excised details about Anne’s emerging sexuality, and about the often-stormy relations between Anne and her mother.

Anne Frank and her family, fleeing the horrors of Nazi occupation forces, hid in the back of an Amsterdam office building for two years. This is Anne’s record of that time. She was thirteen when the family went into the “Secret Annex,” and in these pages, she grows to be a young woman and proves to be an insightful observer of human nature as well. A timeless story discovered by each new generation, The Diary of a Young Girl stands without peer. For young readers and adults, it continues to bring to life this young woman, who for a time survived the worst horrors the modern world had seen—and who remained triumphantly and heartbreakingly human throughout her ordeal.

About the Author

Annelies Marie “Anne” Frank was a Jewish girl born in the city of Frankfurt, Germany. Her father moved to the Netherlands in 1933 and the rest of the family followed later. Anne was the last of the family to come to the Netherlands, in February 1934. She wrote a diary while in hiding with her family and four friends in Amsterdam during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II.

She lived in Amsterdam with her parents and sister. During the Holocaust, Anne and her family hid in the attic of her father’s office to escape the Nazis. It was during that time period that she had recorded her life in her diary.

Anne died in Bergen-Belsen, in February 1945, at the age of 15.

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