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2012-01-12 01:56:56 (UTC)


The introduction to the Diary of Anne Frank, a book published on 12 June 1952 and which has now sold more than 30 million copies, was written by the wife of the President of the United States, Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt. It reads in part:

Written by a young girl—and the young are not afraid of telling the truth—it is one of the wisest and most moving commentaries on war and its impact on human beings that I have ever read. Anne Frank’s account of the changes wrought upon eight people hiding out from the Nazis for two years during the occupation of Holland, living in constant fear and isolation, imprisoned not only by the terrible outward circumstances of war but inwardly by themselves, made me intimately and shockingly aware of war’s greatest evil—the degradation of the human spirit. At the same time, Anne’s diary makes poignantly clear the ultimate shining nobility of that spirit.

I think it is well for us, who have forgotten so much of that period, to read about it now, just to remind ourselves that we never want to go through such things again if possible. Her story ended tragically. She died in the concentration camp at Bergen Belsen. This diary should teach us all the wisdom of preventing any kind of totalitarianism that could lead to oppression and suffering of this kind.

June 12, 1952 was Anne Frank’s birthday. On that day the book’s editor wrote to Anne Frank’s father: “It is extremely gratifying for me to work on the book because I believe so strongly in it. Besides my great feeling for it, I believe it to be one of the very important Diaries of all time, as a psychological, historical, and a literary document.” She pointed out the several reviews the book had received in The New York Times, The New York Herald Tribune, and Time. Omnibook was going to serialize the Diary and would pay $1,000, of which $500 would go to Mr Frank. “All this news promises,” that editor concluded, “that ANNE FRANK will receive a wonderful reception in America!”

In the years following publication, Anne Frank’s father received 30,000 letters from readers. The Diary was translated into sixty-seven languages and more than 31 million copies have been sold. It is a book that has touched many hearts; let us pay tribute to wise choices and graceful editing. --Ron Price with thanks to Kem Knapp Sawyer, “Barbara Epstein and ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’”, 21 September 2006 in The New York Review of Books.

In October 1952, four months after this
book’s publication, a Baha’i Holy Year
began with its centenary celebrations of
the birth of Baha’u’llah’s mission. I was
just 8 years old, lived in a small town in
Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe. My mother
had just found-out about the new religion
which would fill my life and produce my
own autobiographical diary.1 Time would
tell if my diary would be read by anyone!

1 My diary is, in the main, my poetry and my letters. Although, in some ways, my entire literary corpus could be seen as one long diary or journal.

Ron Price
12 January 2012