Researchers using digital technology have deciphered the writing on two pages of Anne Frank’s diary that she had pasted over with brown masking paper, discovering four naughty jokes and a candid explanation of sex, contraception and prostitution.
“Anyone who reads the passages that have now been discovered will be unable to suppress a smile,” said Frank van Vree, director of the Netherlands Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
“The ‘dirty’ jokes are classics among growing children. They make it clear that Anne, with all her gifts, was above all also an ordinary girl.”
Anne, age 13 at the time, wrote the two pages on September 28, 1942, less than three months after she, her family and another Jewish family went into hiding from the Nazis in a secret annex behind a house in Amsterdam. They would live there for two years until they were discovered and ultimately deported to Auschwitz.
In her diary, perhaps fearing prying eyes, Anne had covered some pages over with brown paper with an adhesive backing like a postage stamp.
Their content has remained a mystery for decades – until now.
The pages contained four jokes about sex which Anne described as “dirty” and an explanation of women’s sexual development, sex, contraception and prostitution.
“They bring us even closer to the girl and the writer Anne Frank,” Ronald Leopold, executive director of the Anne Frank House museum, said Tuesday.
Experts say the newly discovered pages reveal more about her development as a writer than it does about her interest in sex.
In other parts of her diary, Anne explored issues around sexuality, her anatomy and her impending period.
Those particular passages were censored by her father when the diary was first published in 1947 but became available in recent unabridged editions.
In the passage on sex, Anne described how a young woman gets her period around age 14, saying that it is “a sign that she is ripe to have relations with a man but one doesn’t do that of course before one is married.”
On prostitution, she wrote: “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.”
One of her jokes was this: “Do you know why the German Wehrmacht girls are in Holland? As mattresses for the soldiers.”
Another joke: “A man had a very ugly wife and he didn’t want to have relations with her. One evening he came home and then he saw his friend in bed with his wife, then the man said: ‘He gets to and I have to!!!”’
The deciphering was done by researchers from the Anne Frank museum, the Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Huygens Institute of Netherlands History.