Anne Frank’s WWII diary is making headlines again this week as researchers discovered two never-before-seen pages in the 13-year-old’s haunting notebook.
Researchers from three different institutions — Anne Frank House, the Netherlands Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands — say they have discovered new text in the diary that was masked with brown paper for decades.
“Anyone who reads the passages that have now been discovered will be unable to suppress a smile,” says Frank van Vree, director of the Netherlands Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
“The dirty jokes are classics among growing children. They make it clear that Anne, with all her gifts, was above all also an ordinary girl.”
Researchers found entries that focus on sex, contraception, and even prostitution.
The pages were penned on 28 September 1942, while Anne Frank and her family were hiding from the Nazis in a secret annex of Amsterdam. But for whatever reason Frank covered the pages with paper to self-censor.
Just what kind of writing could embarrass a 13-year-old girl during the 1940s?
In describing a woman’s period, Anne Frank writes that this is “a sign that she is ripe to have relations with a man but one doesn’t do that of course before one is married.”
On writing about prostitution, she writes: “All men, if they are normal, go with women, women like that accost them on the street and then they go together. In Paris they have big houses for that. Papa has been there.”
And on ‘sexual matters’: “I sometimes imagine that someone might come to me and ask me to inform him about sexual matters. How would I go about it?”
“They bring us even closer to the girl and the writer Anne Frank,” Anne Frank House museum Executive Director Ronald Leopold says.
If you’ve read The Diary of Anne Frank, you’ll know that these new entries aren’t quite as earth-shattering as some are making out. After all, Frank is known for her sexual exploration in her writing already.
What sets these two pages apart is that they take on a more ‘literary tone‘.
“She starts with an imaginary person whom she is telling about sex, so she creates a kind of literary environment to write about a subject she’s maybe not comfortable with,” senior researcher at the Huygens Institute Peter de Bruijn says.
A spokesperson from the Anne Frank House said the new text will be available on the website soon, but that it will only be in Dutch due to copyright restrictions.