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Anne Frank as a Writer

"I know I can write. A few of my stories are good, my descriptions of the Secret Annex are humorous, much of my diary is vivid and alive, but... it remains to be seen whether I really have talent."

Anne Frank writing in her diary April 5, 1944.

Anne Frank starts writing in her diary on her 13th birthday. She has no truly close friends to confide in, so in her diary she writes detailed letters to an imaginary girlfriend named Kitty. The last time she commits her feelings to paper is on August 1, 1944. Two years have passed and much has changed in her life. Those first few weeks after her birthday were “normal”: she went to school, worried about her report card, gossiped about her classmates… But by July 6 she has gone into hiding and is living in the Secret Annex with her parents and sister. A week later the Van Pels family arrives, and Fritz Pfeffer joins them all in November 1942.

Anne received this diary for her thirteenth birthday

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Anne received this diary as a gift for her thirteenth birthday.

Suffocate

The long letters addressed to Kitty are part of Anne's diary from the very beginning. The diary becomes even more imporant to Anne during the hiding period, because she can entrust it with her innermost thoughts. On March 16, 1944, she realizes: The nicest part is being able to write down all my thoughts and feelings, otherwise I'd absolutely suffocate.”

"Tales"

During the hiding period, Anne does not only write in her diary. She also writes short stories. “A few weeks ago I started writing a story, something I made up from beginning to end, and I've enjoyed it so much that the products of my pen are piling up.” Some of her “Tales” she reads aloud to the people in hiding.

"Favorite Quotes"

Besides her diary and the stories, Anne also writes her “favorite quotes” in a separate notebook. If she reads a sentence in a book and it makes an impression on her, she then copies it into that notebook. She gets the idea for doing this from her father. Sometimes, she reflects further about one of these “favorite quotes” by writing about it in her diary.

Writer

Anne Frank dreams of becoming a writer or a journalist after the war. On March 25, 1944, she notes: “It's much easier now to tell Peter things I'd normally keep to myself; for example, I told him I want to write later on, and if I can't be a writer, to write in addition to my work.”

Special News Report

On March 28, 1944, the people in hiding hear a special news report on the Dutch sender broadcasting from London, Radio Oranje (Radio Orange). Dutch Cabinet Minister Bolkestein announces that diaries and other important documents will be gathered when the war ends, as a record of what happened to the Dutch people during World War Two and to be preserved for future generations. The people in hiding immediately think of Anne’s diary.

A Novel about the Secret Annex

Anne also thinks this is a brilliant idea and writes: Just imagine how interesting it would be if I were to publish a novel about the Secret Annex. The title alone would make people think it was a detective story. In May 1944, the idea of this novel takes on serious form: "At long last after a great deal of reflection I have started my Achterhuis (Secret Annex), in my head it as good as finished, although it won't go as quickly as that, if it ever comes off at all."

Revising the Text

Anne Frank begins the serious work on her book around May 20, 1944. She revises the major portion of her original diary in the short time left until the arrest of the people in hiding on August 4, 1944. Working on loose sheets of colored paper, she frequently makes simple corrections in the text. Sometimes she deletes entire passages because she thinks these are too personal. She still addresses all the letters in her diary to Kitty, her imaginary friend. The last diary entry that Anne has a chance to rewrite on these loose sheets is dated March 29, 1944.