On June 12, 1941, Anne Frank's 13th birthday, she received a red-and-white checkered diary as a gift. That very day, she wrote her first entry. Two years later, Anne Frank wrote her last entry, on August 1, 1944.
Three days later, Nazis discovered the Secret Annex and all eight of its inhabitants, including Anne Frank, were sent to concentration camps. In March 1945, Anne Frank passed away from typhus.
After World War II, Otto Frank was reunited with Anne's diary and decided to publish it. Since then, it has become an international bestseller and an essential read for every teenager. But despite our familiarity with Anne Frank's story, there are still some things you might not know about Anne Frank and her diary.
Anne Frank Wrote Under a Pseudonym
When Anne Frank readied her diary for eventual publication, she created pseudonyms for the people she wrote about in her diary. Although you are familiar with the pseudonyms of Albert Dussel (the real-life Freidrich Pfeffer) and Petronella van Daan (the real-life Auguste van Pels) because these pseudonyms appear in most published versions of the diary, do you know what pseudonym Anne chose for herself?
Even though Anne had chosen pseudonyms for everyone hiding in the Annex, when it came time to publish the diary after the war, Otto Frank decided to keep the pseudonyms for the other four people in the Annex but to use the real names of his family.
This is why we know Anne Frank by her real name rather than as Anne Aulis (her original choice of a pseudonym) or as Anne Robin (the name Anne later chose for herself).
Anne chose the pseudonyms Betty Robin for Margot Frank, Frederik Robin for Otto Frank, and Nora Robin for Edith Frank.
Not Every Entry Begins with "Dear Kitty"
In nearly every published version of Anne Frank's diary, each diary entry begins with "Dear Kitty." However, this was not always true in Anne's original written diary.
In Anne's first, red-and-white-checkered notebook, Anne sometimes wrote to other names such as "Pop," "Phien," "Emmy," "Marianne," "Jetty," "Loutje," "Conny," and "Jackie." These names appeared on entries dating from September 25, 1942, until November 13, 1942.
It is believed that Anne took these names from characters found in a series of popular Dutch books written by Cissy van Marxveldt, which featured a strong-willed heroine (Joop ter Heul). Another character in these books, Kitty Francken, is believed to have been the inspiration for the "Dear Kitty" on most of Anne's diary entries.
Anne Rewrote Her Personal Diary for Publication
When Anne first received the red-and-white-checkered notebook (which was an autograph album) for her 13th birthday, she immediately wanted to use it as a diary. As she wrote in her very first entry on June 12, 1942: "I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support."
From the beginning, Anne intended her diary to be written just for herself and hoped no one else was going to read it.
This changed on March 28, 1944, when Anne heard a speech on the radio given by the Dutch Cabinet Minister Gerrit Bolkestein. Bolkestein stated:
History cannot be written on the basis of official decisions and documents alone. If our descendants are to understand fully what we as a nation have had to endure and overcome during these years, then what we really need are ordinary documents -- a diary, letters from a worker in Germany, a collection of sermons given by a parson or priest. Not until we succeed in bringing together vast quantities of this simple, everyday material will the picture of our struggle for freedom be painted in its full depth and glory.
Inspired to have her diary published after the war, Anne began to rewrite all of it on loose sheets of paper. In doing so, she shortened some entries while lengthening others, clarified some situations, uniformly addressed all of the entries to Kitty, and created a list of pseudonyms.
Although she nearly finished this monumental task, Anne, unfortunately, didn't have time to rewrite the entire diary before her arrest on August 4, 1944. The last diary entry Anne rewrote was March 29, 1944.
Anne Frank's 1943 Notebook is Missing
The red-and-white-checkered autograph album has in many ways become the symbol of Anne's diary. Perhaps because of this, many readers have the misconception that all of Anne's diary entries lay within this single notebook. Although Anne began writing in the red-and-white-checkered notebook on June 12, 1942, she had filled it by the time she wrote her December 5, 1942, diary entry.
Since Anne was a prolific writer, she had to use several notebooks to hold all of her diary entries. In addition to the red-and-white-checkered notebook, two other notebooks have been found.
The first of these was an exercise book that contained Anne's diary entries from December 22, 1943, to April 17, 1944. The second was another exercise book that covered from April 17, 1944, until right before her arrest.
If you look carefully at the dates, you will notice that the notebook that must have contained Anne's diary entries for most of 1943 is missing.
Don't freak out, however, and think that you didn't notice a year-long gap in diary entries in your copy of Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl. Since Anne's rewrites for this period had been found, these were used to fill in for the lost original diary notebook.
It is unclear exactly when or how this second notebook was lost. One can be reasonably certain that Anne had the notebook in hand when she created her rewrites in the summer of 1944, but we have no evidence of whether the notebook was lost before or after Anne's arrest.
Anne Frank Was Treated for Anxiety and Depression
Those around Anne Frank saw her as a bubbly, vivacious, talkative, perky, funny girl and yet as her time in the Secret Annex lengthened; she became sullen, self-reproachful, and morose.
The same girl who could write so beautifully about birthday poems, girlfriends, and royal genealogical charts, was the same one who described feelings of complete misery.
On October 29, 1943, Anne wrote,
Outside, you don't hear a single bird, and a deathly, oppressive silence hangs over the house and clings to me as if it were going to drag me into the deepest regions of the underworld… I wander from room to room, climb up and down the stairs and feel like a songbird whose wings have been ripped off and who keeps hurling itself against the bars of its dark cage.
Anne had become depressed. On September 16, 1943, Anne admitted that she has started taking drops of valerian for her anxiety and depression. The following month, Anne was still depressed and had lost her appetite. Anne says that her family has been "plying me with dextrose, cod-liver oil, brewer's yeast, and calcium."
Unfortunately, the real cure for Anne's depression was to be freed from her confinement - a treatment that was impossible to procure.