Brazilian parents protest teaching of new Anne Frank diary containing sexual descriptions
(JTA) — Parents in Brazil are protesting a school’s teaching of Anne Frank’s famous Holocaust diary, citing what they say is sexual content inappropriate for seventh graders.
In a letter sent to the management of the Sao Paulo branch of Escola Mobile, a network of private schools, more than 90 parents complained about Frank’s descriptions of female genitalia and her attraction to women, according to Revista Oeste magazine.
The parents were complaining about passages in the latest edition of the official diary of Anne Frank, a Jewish girl who chronicled her two years hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam before she and her family were caught, deported and murdered during the Holocaust. Frank’s father, who was the family’s only survivor, cut the passages when he published the diary because he was embarrassed by them, the Anne Frank Foundation said in 2017 when it released a graphic-novel version of the diary with some of the redacted content restored.
The additions include Frank’s description of exploring her own body and of experiencing attraction to other girls during her early adolescence before going into hiding with her family just after her 13th birthday. “I must admit, every time I see a female nude, I got into ecstasy. I wish I had a girlfriend,” Frank writes in one passage.
The Brazilian parents wrote that they recognize “the importance of Anne Frank’s writings to Holocaust education. But we disagree with teaching a version with pages with inappropriate sexual content to 12-year-olds, which for them obscures the main theme, which is the Holocaust.”
The Anne Frank Foundation, which owns the family’s archives, says Frank’s complete diary is important for understanding the full picture of the girl whose ordeal and murder have come to symbolize the tragedy of the Holocaust. “Times change and there is a growing desire for get to know the many aspects of the real Anne Frank and so it was decided to published after Otto’s death the full diary, including for the first times parts that Otto took out,” the foundation, known as the Fonds, told Veja Sao Paolo this week.
The passages in question were first published more than 30 years ago, in a book that was written for scholars titled “The Diary of Anne Frank: The Revised Critical Edition,” the Fonds noted.