Anne Frank, one of the most well-known victims of the Holocaust, continues to captivate the world with her compelling story. However, there’s far more to her life and legacy than what’s commonly known. Here are seven intriguing facts about Anne Frank that shed new light on her life, her writings, and the profound impact she’s made on the world.
1. Anne’s Hidden Humor and Candor: Anne Frank was not only a chronicler of her times but also a typical teenager. She penned four dirty jokes in her diary, which she subsequently concealed with paper. The concealed jokes remained undetected until 2018. Furthermore, Anne candidly wrote about her sexual awakening in her diary. However, these sensitive passages were excised by her father in later editions of the diary.
2. The Frank Family’s Failed Immigration: In a heartbreaking twist of history, Anne’s family attempted to immigrate to the United States to escape the impending Holocaust. They applied for a visa in 1938. Sadly, their application was lost in the chaos that ensued following a German bombing in 1940. A second attempt in 1941 was thwarted when all American consulates were shut down by the Nazis.
3. Anne’s Schoolmate-Turned-Hollywood Producer: Peter Lassally, an accomplished Hollywood producer who worked with Johnny Carson, David Letterman, and Craig Ferguson, shares a surprising connection with Anne. He survived a concentration camp and, in his earlier years, attended the same grade school as Anne Frank.
4. Controversies Surrounding Anne’s Diary: Anne’s diary, known for its poignant narration and candidness, has faced its share of controversies. In 1983, an Alabama school attempted to ban the book, citing it as “a real downer.” It is also banned in Lebanon for allegedly casting Jews, Israel, or Zionism in a positive light.
5. The Arresting Officer and Anne’s Height Markers: When the Frank family was arrested, Anne’s father pointed to her height markers on the wall as evidence of their long concealment. The arresting officer, later reflecting upon the event after the diary’s publication, said, “I bought the little book last week, to see if I was mentioned there, but I was not.”
6. The Quest to Validate Anne’s Existence: When her existence was questioned by a group of protesters claiming Anne Frank was a fictional character, a determined Nazi hunter and concentration camp survivor named Simon Wiesenthal embarked on a five-year journey. His mission was to track down the man who arrested Anne Frank and thereby substantiate her existence.
7. Preserving Anne’s Legacy through Saplings: Anne’s legacy continues to grow, quite literally, through saplings from the chesnut tree that once graced the garden of ‘de Achterhuis’ where she was in hiding. These saplings are being nurtured in New York and ten other locations in the United States. This initiative forms part of a project aimed at preserving Anne’s legacy and promoting the values of tolerance and understanding she espoused.