Anne Frank

Lire et écrire pour vivre: une histoire culturelle des journaux d’Anne Frank

Looking very much forward to giving this talk on 31 March (6 pm, online) at the Jeudis de l’Institut Historique Allemand in Paris.

These days every new story about Anne Frank becomes world news. Most recently the much hyped cold case investigation, seeking (and stumbling) to uncover who betrayed the hiding place of Anne and her family to the Nazis in 1944, even caused a veritable scandal. Over the past 75 years, since the publication in 1947 of her diaries detailing life in hiding between July 1942 and August 1944 in the back annex to one of the canal houses on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam, Anne’s image, her writing and the famous Anne Frank House have become iconic. They play major roles in the Dutch, German, American, indeed global memory culture concerning the Holocaust and the Second World War.

This lecture looks at Anne as writer and reader. It explores how in her encounter with the world of literature, especially with the innovative work of Dutch female novelists, Anne created in her diaries a life of writing and reading that helped her to survive. Reading and writing empowered Anne to address the fundamental issues of life as a teenager in hiding, searching for her inner self, embracing her Jewishness, finding her own way between the German culture of her parents and the cultural riches of Amsterdam life.