A fictionalized account of Anne Frank's diary is causing some furor. In the book, Anne and her boyfriend have physical contact and talk of sex. I am of two minds about this. Basically, if done well, honestly, discretely and without puerile intent, I find it acceptable. I am a writer who has taken months of Franz Kafka's life and written a novel in diary form. I have also used The Diary of Anne Frank as a catalyst in another novel. It is probably a judgement call on the final product.
'Sexing up' of Anne Frank angers Holocaust victim's familyA British novelist has angered the family of Anne Frank with a “sexed-up” imagining of her time in hiding from the Nazis.
By Ben Leach
Published: 9:11AM BST 20 Jun 2010
An undated photo of Anne Frank Photo: REUTERS
The teenager documented her experiences during the German occupation of the Netherlands during the Second World War before her death in Bergen Belsen concentration camp aged 15.
Now Sharon Dogar, who specialises in novels for teenagers, has written a book of fictional diaries of Peter van Pels, Anne's close friend who lived in the same building while she was hiding in Amsterdam.
The diaries, which are to be published in the autumn, include graphic accounts of Peter’s desire for Anne and intimate scenes between the two, according to The Sunday Times.
The book has been criticised by Buddy Elias, Anne’s first cousin, who chairs a charity devoted to her memory. The 84-year-old, who lives in Switzerland, used to play with his cousin when they were youngsters.
He said he learnt a lot about her and Peter from Anne’s father Otto, who survived the war and had the diaries published in 1947. Otto died in 1980.
Elias has read an advance copy of Annexed, named after the annexe of the office building where the Frank and van Pels families lived in hiding.
“Anne was not the child she is in this book,” he said. “I also do not think that their terrible destiny should be used to invent some fictitious story.”
“From what Otto told me about Peter, he was very shy but in this book he is given a character he did not possess,” he said.
Anne, who wrote her diary from the summer of 1942, when she had just turned 13, until August 1944, died in Belsen of typhus in March 1945 after being transferred there from Auschwitz.
Charlie Sheppard, editorial director of Andersen Press, the publisher, said that Dogar “feels they had sex, but this was taken out from an earlier version”.
“Sharon reread and reread Anne’s diaries, and is in no doubt that they were in love” she added. “They also talk about sex in the diaries. After all, the hormones of both were raging.”
“From Anne’s diary it is clear that a romance flared up for a few months, during which they probably kissed and cuddled,” said Deborah Moggach, who adapted the diaries for an acclaimed BBC series in 2008. “She then cooled on him.”
Dogar told The Sunday Times she did not want to discuss the book in detail. She said it was “pure conjecture” that Anne and Peter ever made love. She also argued that the most important part of her book is Peter’s time in the Nazi camps.