The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
The story of what is usually referred to as The Diary of Anne Frank is fairly well known. Anne Frank, her siblings and parents, as well as friends including other children, went into hiding from the Nazis in a hidden attic in Amsterdam during World War II. Anne recorded the experience in a diary which had been given to her by her father, beginning her writings in June 1942, a few weeks before they went into hiding. The diary ends when the Franks and their companions were discovered by the Nazis in August 1944. Of the eight people in hiding only one, Otto Frank, Anne’s father, was alive when the war ended.
The Diary grew to include three volumes and it was given to Otto Frank when he returned to Amsterdam following the war. It had been recovered and hidden from the Gestapo when the hiding place was searched for information on possible collaborators. Along with the diary were letters which Anne had addressed to someone named Miss Kitty, whose identity has never become known. Anne had died at Bergen-Belsen near the end of the war, probably of typhus. Otto published the letters and diary, and by 1950 the fifth Dutch edition was in print.
English publication followed, and by when it appeared in the United Kingdom and the United States in 1952 it became a best seller. Many years later it was revealed that in the English edition certain passages had been deleted at the request of Otto Frank. When the redacted passages were returned to the book public response varied.
In Culpeper Virginia, the 50th anniversary edition, which included the previously unpublished material, was banned by the local school system for its references to sexual longing and for passages which could be imputed to condone homosexual behavior, in 2010. A backlash against the decision – the book had long been part of the school curricula – led to a compromise in which the newer edition would be made available in the library but the older, expurgated version would be used in the classroom.
Complaints against the book, mostly for explicit descriptions of sex, have been registered against it in several jurisdictions. In Michigan, Anne’s explicit description of the female sexual organs was the offending passage, and since there have been several attempts to ban or censor passages from the complete diary, with suggestions that the schools revert to the original editions rather than include the complete diary as Anne wrote it.