Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl was written by Anne Frank while in hidden in an attic, hoping to escape Nazi persecution. Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, her remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.
Opponents of the diary continued to express the view that it was not written by a child, but had been created as “pro-Jewish propaganda,” with Otto Frank being accused of fraud.
In 1959, Otto Frank took legal action in Lübeck against Lothar Stielau, a school teacher and former Hitler Youth member who published a school paper that described the diary as “a forgery.” The complaint was extended to include Heinrich Buddegerg, who wrote a letter in support of Stielau, which was published in a Lübeck newspaper. The court examined the diary in 1960 and authenticated the handwriting as matching that in letters known to have been written by Anne Frank. They declared the diary to be genuine. Stielau recanted his earlier statement, and Otto Frank did not pursue the case any further.
With Otto Frank’s death in 1980, the original diary, including letters and loose sheets, were willed to the Dutch Institute for War Documentation, who commissioned a forensic study of the diary through the Netherlands Ministry of Justice in 1986. They examined the handwriting against known examples and found that they matched. They determined that the paper, glue, and ink were readily available during the time the diary was said to have been written. They concluded that the diary is authentic, and their findings were published in what has become known as the “Critical Edition” of the diary.
On 23 March 1990, the Hamburg Regional Court confirmed the diary’s authenticity.
In 1999 Time named Anne Frank among the heroes and icons of the 20th century on their list The Most Important People of the Century, stating: “With a diary kept in a secret attic, she braved the Nazis and lent a searing voice to the fight for human dignity”. Philip Roth called her the “lost little daughter” of Franz Kafka. On 9 March 2012 Der Spiegel announced that Madame Tussauds wax museum had unveiled an exhibit featuring a likeness of Anne Frank.