Anne Frank’s diary was edited?

The Diary of Anne Frank was a portion of my public education. Knowing what I know now I think the way it was used was more to scare the children who read it, rather than contextualize what actually led to the events described in Frank’s diary. Shocking, horrible material of the holocaust is important, but it’s difficult-to-grasp nature has often had the effect of distancing current circumstances (“that could never happen here”) rather than bringing them home–at least, that was my conclusion based on how it was presented in my particular education.

That was the last thought I had on Frank’s diary a few years ago. It never crossed my mind that the material was altered.

After her father was given the remains of both versions by Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl, who hid the Franks, he and the publishing house edited them into a version that combined the original diary and the rewritten version, with some additional redactions. I considered this blend offensive to Anne’s privacy — since in the diary itself she stated that she didn’t want anyone to read her unfiltered thoughts. Moreover, it omits things that she surely would have wanted kept in version B, since she put them there in the first place.

According to the forward of Penguin’s Definitive Edition (the audiobook I began listening to), several paragraphs on Anne’s personal attitudes and experiences were edited or completely removed from version C. Anne’s opinions on her parents were edited to seem less harsh — for instance, this version removes the line “Father’s fondness for talking about farting and going to the lavatory is disgusting.”

Anne’s thoughts and observations about her body were also cut in version C. Take a look at this section in which she talks about her vagina: “Until I was 11 or 12, I didn’t realize there was a second set of labia on the inside [of the vagina], though you couldn’t see them. What’s even funnier is that I thought urine came out of the clitoris.”

Thankfully there is an edition which compares the edits between the three versions of the diary, and discusses their impact.



  1. says

    Just regular kid observations.

    I think I should have been told that some personal things were left out when it was taught to me as a child. I still would have understood the remaining issues and impact.

    Other than that, I don’t have a problem with this.

  2. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I’m glad to see an unedited version come out. As ParaLess says, there’s nothing unusual in the persistence of a handful of significant misunderstandings about genitals or breasts or other taboo body parts. 10-15 is the normal period for those last misunderstandings to be resolved (though misunderstandings about sexual behaviors may go uncorrected well into adulthood). Writing her thoughts on vaginal shape in her private diary is exactly what a kid of that age should be doing. It shows that she trusts the privacy of her own diary and is self-reflective enough to both admit her errors and find some humor in them. It makes her real and relatable. It is exactly the sort of thing that we should expect – and want – to read if we make the choice to read someone’s (formerly) private diary at all. You can’t read a private diary without reading private things.

    As for a child making comments about a parent being embarrassing, well, removing them doesn’t make the child’s writing less harsh: it makes it unbelievable. Every child in the universe capable of spoken language has uttered words to the effect of, “My Parent, you are so embarrassing/disgusting/humiliating! Don’t ever do/say that again!”


  3. says

    If she said she didn’t want people reading her unfiltered thoughts, it was wrong to publish it at all. Important, perhaps, but still wrong. I hate when people do that – it’s like when they published “Mother Teresa”‘s journal: someone said “screw that we’ll make a ton of money on this…”