Saturday 17 August 2019

Researchers decipher two pages of Anne Frank’s diary featuring dirty jokes and sex

Showing the new pages at Tuesday’s press conference. Photo: AP Photo/Peter Dejong via HH

Two pages of Anne Frank’s wartime diary, which had been covered up with sticky paper, have been made legible for the first time using image processing technology.

Anne was known to have re-read her diary entries and crossed out words and phrases, but the two pages covered up with brown paper have always intrigued researchers.

The hidden texts, which are an integral part of the diaries, contain ‘five crossed-out phrases, four ‘dirty’ jokes and 33 lines about sex education and prostitution, the Anne Frank House said in a press release on Tuesday.

‘I’ll use this spoiled page to write down “dirty” jokes,’ Anne wrote on 28 September 1942 when she had been hiding in the secret annex for barely two months.

She then moves on to the subject of sex education, which she pretends she has to give to someone else. ‘At the end she explicitly names her father, who had been in Paris and saw houses with prostitutes,’ the press release states, adding that it can no longer be discovered when and how often Otto Frank was in Paris, but his brother Herbert and his wife did live there from 1932.

Sexual subjects

Nevertheless, the jokes and the passage on sex education are not exceptional in Anne’s texts as a whole, the Anne Frank House says, and she wrote openly about sexual subjects, such as her periods and conversations she had with Peter van Pels about sex and sexuality, on other dates.

Anne Frank writes about sexuality in a disarming way,’ says Anne Frank House director Ronald Leopold.  ‘Like every adolescent she is curious about this subject. She also writes about it on other, uncovered pages.

‘Given the great public and academic interest we have decided, together with the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands, to publish these texts and share them with the world. They bring us even closer to the girl and the writer Anne Frank.’ has been free for 12 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch.
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