The Power of Anne Frank Belongs to All of Us

by Rachel Baker on May 13, 2014

Over at e-ntertain, there’s an article that caught my attention about a new play in Amsterdam about Anne Frank. The article also discusses the NYTimes article about the controversy between the family and the foundation – and the question “who owns Anne Frank” is one that should probably be answered in some way, since the copyrights on her diary expire in 2016 in some countries.

I want to try to answer the question – Who owns Anne Frank? Here’s my two cents: Take it or leave it – It makes no sense for any one specific individual or group to stake claim in the power of Anne Frank.

Anne Frank was my first real introduction to how to put myself in someone else’s shoes. Learning about Anne Frank is the first time that hold-mommy’s-hand-so-you-don’t-get-lost makes sense – its the first time we realize that horrific things can and do happen to children; its the first time our minds take a real step towards adulthood. Anne Frank, unbeknownst to her, went go on to steal the innocence of millions of children, just as hers was stolen from her. Not in the same way, of course…but stolen none-the-less.

The Diary of Anne Frank is the first book to be assigned in school that made you want to throw up after you finished it and was told what it all meant. It wasn’t until then that the term non-fiction made sense. It was a great, enjoyable read…and one that was only enjoyable once. After you know what happens…after its all explained to you…its torture to ever have to read it again.

And because of that, Anne Frank belongs to all of us. And to forget that, or to argue about who ‘the power of Anne Frank’ belongs to misses the whole point of why we read her diaries and why she’s been such a lasting figure for all this time.

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