Anne Frank's diary

Anne Frank
Anne Frank

We all know the diary of Anne Frank, the Jewish girl who lived hidden in “Het Achterhuis” in Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Many of us had to read the book in school. At first Anne wrote her diary strictly for herself, but later adapted it so that it could be published after the war. After the war her father edited it further, and it's this version which is most widely published.

At the time some entries had to be deleted, like an entry from 24 March 1944, which is explicitely about sexuality. In the late 1940s it was not a subject which was openly discussed, especially in a diary of a young girl — Anne wasn't even 15 then.

Times change, and apart from the puritan US (think most of the country) the western world is much more open about sexuality. Therefore parts censored because of their sexual content is no longer taboo. Below is Anne's entry for 24 March 1944, which, like I explained, is missing in many editions of the diary.

FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 1944

Dear Kitty,

I often go up to Peter's room after dinner nowadays to breathe in the fresh evening air. You can get around to meaningful conversations more quickly in the dark than with the sun tickling your face. It's cozy and snug sitting beside him on a chair and looking outside. The van Daans and Dussel make the silliest remarks when I disappear into his room. "Annes zweite Heimat,"* [* Anne's second home] they say, or "Is it proper for a gentleman to receive young girls in his room at night with the lights out?" Peter has amazing presence of mind in the face of these so-called witticisms. My mother, incidentally, is also bursting with curiosity and simply dying to ask what we talk about, only she's secretly afraid I'd refuse to answer. Peter says the grown-ups are just jealous because we're young and that we shouldn't take their obnoxious comments to heart.

Sometimes he comes downstairs to get me, but that's awkward too, because in spite of all his precautions his face turns bright red and he can hardly get the words out of his mouth. I'm glad I don't blush; it must be extremely unpleasant.

Besides, it bothers me that Margot has to sit downstairs all by herself, while I'm upstairs enjoying Peter's company. But what can I do about it? I wouldn't mind it if she came, but she'd just be the odd one out, sitting there like a lump on a log.

I've had to listen to countless remarks about our sudden friendship. I can't tell you how often the conversation at meals has been about an Annex wedding, should the war last another five years. Do we take any notice of this parental chitchat? Hardly, since it's all so silly. Have my parents forgotten that they were young once? Apparently they have. At any rate, they laugh at us when we're serious, and they're serious when we're joking.

I don't know what's going to happen next, or whether we'll run out of things to say. But if it goes on like this, we'll eventually be able to be together without talking. If only his parents would stop acting so strangely. It's probably because they don't like seeing me so often; Peter and I certainly never tell them what we talk about. Imagine if they knew we were discussing such intimate things.

I'd like to ask Peter whether he knows what girls look like down there. I don't think boys are as complicated as girls. You can easily see what boys look like in photographs or pictures of male nudes, but with women it's different. In women, the genitals, or whatever they're called, are hidden between their legs. Peter has probably never seen a girl up close. To tell you the truth, neither have I. Boys are a lot easier. How on earth would I go about describing a girl's parts? I can tell from what he said that he doesn't know exactly how it all fits together. He was talking about the "Muttermund," [* cervix], but that's on the inside, where you can't see it. Everything's pretty well arranged in us women. Until I was eleven or twelve, I didn't realize there was a second set of labia on the inside, since you couldn't see them. What's even funnier is that I thought urine came out of the clitoris. I asked Mother one time what that little bump was, and she said she didn't know. She can really play dumb when she wants to!

But to get back to the subject. How on earth can you explain what it all looks like without any models?

Shall I try anyway? Okay, here goes!

When you're standing up, all you see from the front is hair. Between your legs there are two soft, cushiony things, also covered with hair, which press together when you're standing, so you can't see what's inside. They separate when you sit down, and they're very red and quite fleshy on the inside. In the upper part, between the outer labia, there's a fold of skin that, on second thought, looks like a kind of blister. That's the clitoris. Then come the inner labia, which are also pressed together in a kind of crease. When they open up, you can see a fleshy little mound, no bigger than the top of my thumb. The upper part has a couple of small holes in it, which is where the urine comes out. The lower part looks as if it were just skin, and yet that's where the vagina is. You can barely find it, because the folds of skin hide the opening. The hole's so small I can hardly imagine how a man could get in there, much less how a baby could come out. It's hard enough trying to get your index finger inside. That's all there is, and yet it plays such an important role!
Yours, Anne M. Frank

Anne Frank perished from typhus in the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen, in early March 1945. She was 15. She wrote very well even at her young age, and it's very well possible that she would have written more great stuff if she would have survived the war.