Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Thoughts On "The Diary Of A Young Girl: The Definitive Edition" By Anne Frank

Source:  Goodreads

From the back cover...
Anne Frank's extraordinary diary, written in the Amsterdam attic where she and her family hid from the Nazis for two years, has become a world classic and timeless testament to the human spirit. Now, in a new edition enriched by many passages originally withheld by her father, we meet an Anne more real, more human, and more vital than ever. 
Here she is first and foremost a teenage girl--stubbornly honest, touchingly vulnerable, in love with life. She imparts her deeply secret world of soul-searching and hungering for affection, rebellious clashes with her mother, romance and a newly discovered sexuality, and wry candid observations of her companions. Facing hunger, fear of discovery and death, and the petty frustrations of such confined quarters, Anne writes with adult wisdom and views beyond her years. Her story is that of every teenager, lived out in conditions few teenagers have ever known.


Those are the simple words that, even though I knew they were coming, hurt my heart when I read them...I knew what came next.

"On the morning of August 4, 1944, sometime between ten and ten-thirty, a car pulled up at 263 Prinsengracht.  Several figures emerged:  an SS sergeant, Karl Josef Silberbauer, in full uniform, and at least three Dutch members of the Security Police, armed but in civilian clothes.  Someone must have tipped them off." (From the Afterword, pg. 333)

When I was in the 3rd grade I read this book for the first time, and I remember being moved by it.  I remembered the main things, but the details had left me long ago.  I'm so glad to have read it again as an adult with a daughter just a few years younger than Anne when she first went into hiding--it means so much more.

I didn't realize before reading this book that there are several different versions of The Diary of a Young Girl.  When Anne first started writing in her diary it was to be for her eyes only, but then she got the idea that she may want to publish it after the war.  She then went back and started editing her diary, taking out parts she thought boring, changing names, etc. Her unedited diary is version a, her edited version is version b.  After her death, her father took parts from versions a and b and edited them together into a shorter version (c).  Versions C is what we know as The Diary of a Young Girl.  The "Definitive Edition" which I read for this post, has both versions a and b and about 30% more material than the previous version.  Learning all of this, made me even happier that I decided to read this book again, and happier still that I stumbled across this version at a used book store.

All of my life I have learned about the holocaust.  I've watched documentaries and movies and read books. I have to say that every time I see it, the amount of evil that took place never ceases to amaze me and never ceases to make me sick to my stomach.  Even worse, I know that genocide still happens today. I think what Anne's diary does is remind us that the holocaust happened to PEOPLE.  We all know that the Jewish people (and those that helped them) were the victims of the holocaust, but they were also...babies, boys and girls, mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers...people with hopes and dreams. Each one had an individual story.

My daughter will read The Diary of a Young Girl this summer, and I will talk to her about the holocaust and what it means.  She needs to know that evil exists in this world, and that we must never turn a blind eye to it.  We must fight it no matter what the cost.

You can visit the website for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum by clicking HERE.


  1. Such a great post! I am so glad that you are going to include discussions about the holocaust with your daughter this summer. I've never been to the museum, but it is on my list of things that I absolutely must do soon.

    1. Thanks Susie! I hope to visit the museum one day too. We'll probably wait a few years, so I know *S* will really remember it.

  2. I read this book a few times as well, and it's such a powerful book. I didn't know about all the editing. I think I have the version above. Great review!