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.