The Holocaust cast a dark shadow over the 20th century. Created by the Nazi regime as their “final solution” to the Jewish question, it led to the systematic extermination of over six million Jews and other “undesirables”, forever changing the course of history.
One of the most famous stories to emerge from this dark period was Anne Frank’s. When she was a teenager, she and her Jewish family went into hiding in an attic in Amsterdam, and she kept a diary that documented the horrors of the period in an unrivaled way.
To discover exactly what horrors Anne and her family lived through, check out the video below:
Now, it’s emerged that like so many teenage girls, there were “secret” parts of her diary that she tried to keep hidden from her family.
Covering these pages with brown paper to stop her family from reading them, it has only been with the help of modern digital editing techniques that their contents have finally been deciphered for the first time, exposing the “dirty” jokes that Anne wrote when she was just 13.
The historical significance of these jokes lies in the fact that while Anne showed wisdom and perception well beyond her years in her diary, she was still a teenager who was fascinated by sex, and the jokes uncovered centered around sex, contraception, and prostitution.
The two uncovered pages are dated September 28, 1942. Anne would have therefore been 13 when she wrote them – a mere three months after she and her family went into hiding in an attempt to ride out the storm of the Nazi occupation.
In the pages, Anne herself admits that what she is writing about is “dirty”.
As a young woman, Anne would have been going through puberty at the time of writing and wrote that menstruation happens around the age of 14 and is “a sign that [a woman] is ripe to have relations with a man but one doesn’t do that of course before one is married”.
She also wrote about prostitution in these pages, adding, “All men, if they are normal, go with women, women like that accost them on the street and then they go together. In Paris, they have big houses for that.”
“Papa has been there.”
On the subject of Anne’s father, whose name was Otto, he transcribed her diary after the war, editing out the sections that he thought were too personal or mundane – unknowingly missing what his daughter wrote about him possibly frequenting prostitutes.
Anne also wrote about asked to explain to a man what intercourse is, writing, “I sometimes imagine that someone might come to me and ask me to inform him about sexual matters.”
“How would I go about it?”
The teenager went on to answer her own question, saying that she would tell him that it involves “rhythmical movements” and that, if required, contraception is “internal medicament”.
The experts who uncovered the text said it is telling about Anne’s development as a writer because it shows how she created fictional situations to allow herself to write about sensitive topics.
Speaking about the significance of these new pages, the Anne Frank Museum said in a statement, “Over the decades, Anne has grown to become the worldwide symbol of the Holocaust, and Anne the girl has increasingly faded into the background.”
“These – literally – uncovered texts bring the inquisitive and in many respects precocious teenager back into the foreground.”
It’s certainly an amazing new side to the history of Anne Frank we all thought we knew.