Researchers have deciphered the writing on two pages of Anne Frank's diary hidden by brown masking paper, uncovering four risque jokes and a candid explanation of sex, contraception and prostitution.
"Anyone who reads the passages that have been discovered will be unable to suppress a smile," writes 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, aged 13 at the time, wrote 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 annexe behind a canal-side house in Amsterdam.
Later on, possibly fearing prying eyes (or just no longer liking what she had written down), she covered them over with brown masking paper, and their content remained a tantalising mystery for decades.
Well, it turns out the pages contained four jokes about sex, that Anne herself described as "dirty", and an explanation of a woman's sexual development, sex, contraception and prostitution.
"I'll use this spoiled page to write down 'dirty' jokes", Anne Frank wrote on 28 September 1942, according to the Anne Frank House https://t.co/7FqUtyaeYU— AFP news agency (@AFP) May 15, 2018
"They bring us even closer to the girl and the writer Anne Frank," explains Ronald Leopold, Executive Director of the Anne Frank House museum.
He explains how it provides an early example of how Anne "creates a fictional situation that makes it easier for her to address the sensitive topics that she writes about".
Deciphering was done by researchers at the Anne Frank museum, the Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Huygens Insitute of Netherlands History.
The text under the covered pages in #AnneFrank's #diary : five crossed-out phrases, four “dirty” jokes and 33 lines about sex education and prostitution. These jokes and passages on sex education are not exceptional in Anne's texts.— Anne Frank House (@annefrankhouse) May 15, 2018
More: https://t.co/CpMl16152V pic.twitter.com/W7ce9I6I0r
"I'll use this spoiled page to write down 'dirty' jokes", Anne wrote on 28 September 1942.
In the passage on sex, she describes 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 writes: "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."
Now that researchers have found inappropriate and 'dirty' jokes hidden in the Diary of Anne Frank, I feel like @rickygervais needs to up his game a little.— #newsbyrory (@RoryPetzer) May 16, 2018
Anne wrote her diary while she and her family hid with help from a close-knit group of helpers during the Second World War. On August 4, 1944, they were discovered and ultimately deported to Auschwitz.
After the war, Otto Frank (the family's only survivor) had his daughter's diary published, and it went on to become a symbol of hope and resilience that has been translated into dozens of languages.