The Anne Frank Secrets You Never Read About

Her father, Otto, removed parts of the diary to censor "intimate" thoughts.

Anne Frank’s diary has become one of the world’s most widely read books. Since its publication in 1947, the powerful memoir has become a symbol of courage and a testimony to the horrors of the Holocaust. There is, however, still so much to learn about the young author. Here’s everything else you need to know about the world-famous diarist, Anne Frank.

1. Her diary was actually an autograph book.

Frank was given the book that would become the diary on June 12, 1942. The autograph book—a red and white checkered book—was a gift from her father Otto for her 13th birthday. She initially spotted the autograph book in a shop window a few days before her birthday, and when she got it, she decided it would be of better use as a diary. After she filled the diary, she moved to two full notebooks, and then on to approximately 360 loose papers.

2. She was a fan of then-Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.

In one of her first few entries, Frank wrote: “Up to now our bedroom, with its blank walls, was very bare. Thanks to Father—who brought my entire postcard and movie-star collection here beforehand—and to a brush and a pot of glue, I was able to plaster the walls with pictures. It looks much more cheerful.” The Anne Frank House shares that Frank pasted photos of Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret onto her walls. She was also a staunch supporter of the Dutch Royal Family.

3. Her sister Margot also had a diary.

Margot Frank

On March 28, 1942, a Dutch minister named Gerrit Bolkestein made a broadcast on Radio Orange. Bolkestein called on people to “save their diaries and letters from these years.” It was then that Frank started to rework her diary, consequently titling it “The Secret Annex.” Frank’s sister, Margot also had a diary which was, unfortunately, never found.

4. Some “intimate” parts of the diary were edited out.

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Frank wrote down her innermost thoughts in the diary, and as she approached puberty, she began to write about her changing body. Frank’s father saw these as inappropriate for publication and took them out of the book, but an unedited version was published in 1996. Here’s one of the passages: “Until I was 11 or 12, I didn't realise there was a second set of labia on the inside [of the vagina], though you couldn't see them. What's even funnier is that I thought urine came out of the clitoris. I asked Mother one time what that little bump was, and she said she didn't know. She can really play dumb when she wants to!”

5. Her father, Otto, initially wanted to migrate his family to America.

Otto Frank

The Frank family’s fate would have been completely different had they migrated to America. Otto had applied for U.S. visas as refugees for his wife Edith and daughters Margot and Anne to escape Nazi persecution. The attempt was described as “too late” by historians, and they were ultimately denied as immigration policies were tightened.

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6. She wanted to become a writer when she grew up.

Growing up, Frank had artistic dreams. She wrote in her diary, “I'd like to spend a year in Paris and London learning the languages and studying art history.” Later adding, “My greatest wish is to be a journalist, and later on, a famous writer.” She also had other dreams which she referred to as “delusions of grandeur,” including becoming a big Hollywood star like her favorites Rosemary and Priscilla Lane.

7. The diary could have never been published.

Miep Gies

On August 4, 1944, after over two years in hiding, a German officer and four Dutch Nazis stormed the Secret Annex and arrested the Franks, Van Pels, and Fritz Pfeffer. Otto’s employee Miep Gies, who had helped them keep their cover, collected Frank’s diaries and papers. Gies never peeked at Frank’s writings, but she says that had she looked she would’ve destroyed them as they incriminated everyone who had helped the family.


8. The officer who arrested Frank bought the published diary.

Karl Silberbauer

The officer who arrested the Secret Annex’s boarders was Karl Silberbauer, an Austrian SS-Oberscharfuehrer (senior squad leader). He went into hiding after the war, but was soon exposed. He was never punished, however, as it was ruled that he was merely following orders. In 1963, he was interviewed and asked if he’d ever read the diary. "I bought the little book last week, to see if I was mentioned there, but I saw that I was not," he said.

9. She lost her will to live after assuming her parents were dead.

Hanneli Goslar

When Frank was in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, she met her friend Hanneli Goslar. Goslar spoke about their exchange after the war, saying, “Anne thought that her parents were dead. I have always thought that if Anne had known that her father was still alive, she would have found the strength to go on living.”

10. It’s unclear whether the Secret Annex was betrayed or found out.

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263 Prinsengracht was established as a museum in 1960, and is now known as the Anne Frank House.

A new study released in 2016 supposes that no one betrayed Frank—they were simply discovered by chance. The police who investigated 263 Prinsengracht, the warehouse where the Secret Annex was hidden, was a Sicherheitsdienst. These types of policemen often dealt with cash and securities, and were investigating fraudulent food-ration cards and illegal employment. “The new investigation does not refute the possibility that the people in hiding were betrayed, but illustrates that other scenarios should also be considered,” said Ronald Leopold, Executive Director of the Anne Frank House.


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Paolo Chua
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor of Esquire Philippines.
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