Jokes found in Anne Frank’s diary
Off-color humor, plus a candid explanation of sex uncovered
AMSTERDAM — Researchers using digital technology deciphered the writing on two pages of Anne Frank’s diary that she had pasted over with brown masking paper, discovering four naughty jokes and a candid explanation of sex, contraception and prostitution.
“Anyone who reads the passages that have now been discovered will be unable to suppress a smile,” said Frank van Vree, director of the Netherlands Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies. “The ‘dirty’ jokes are classics among growing children. They make it clear that Anne, with all her gifts, was above all also an ordinary girl.”
Anne, age 13 at the time, wrote the two pages on Sept. 28, 1942, less than three months after she, her family and another Jewish family went into hiding from the Nazis in a secret annex behind a canal-side house in Amsterdam.
Later on, possibly fearing prying eyes or no longer liking what she had written, she covered them over with brown paper with an adhesive backing like a postage stamp, and their content remained a tantalizing mystery for decades.
It turns out the pages contained four jokes about sex that Anne herself described as “dirty” and an explanation of women’s sexual development, sex, contraception and prostitution.
“They bring us even closer to the girl and the writer Anne Frank,” Ronald Leopold, executive director of the Anne Frank House museum, said Tuesday.
Experts on Anne’s multimillion-selling diary said the newly discovered text, when studied with the rest of her journal, reveals more about her development as a writer than it does about her interest in sex.
A video shows the text underneath two taped off pages from Anne Frank’s diary during a press conference at The Anne Frank Foundation’s office in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Tuesday