Skip to comments.School system in Va. won't teach version of Anne Frank book
Posted on 01/28/2010 8:29:57 PM PST by ozguy
Culpeper County public school officials have decided to stop assigning a version of Anne Frank's diary, one of the most enduring symbols of the atrocities of the Nazi regime, after a parent complained that the book includes sexually explicit material and homosexual themes.
"The Diary of a Young Girl: the Definitive Edition," which was published on the 50th anniversary of Frank's death in a concentration camp, will not be used in the future, said James Allen, director of instruction for the 7,600-student system. The school system did not follow its own policy for handling complaints about instructional materials, Allen said.
The diary documents the daily life of a Jewish girl in Amsterdam during World War II. Frank started writing on her 13th birthday, shortly before her family went into hiding in an annex of an office building. The version of the diary in question includes passages previously excluded from the widely read original edition, first published in Dutch in 1947. That book was arranged by her father, the only survivor in her immediate family. Some of the extra passages detail her emerging sexual desires; others include unflattering descriptions of her mother and other people living together.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
“..parent complained that the book includes sexually explicit material and homosexual themes..”
Good for the parent.
Anne’s father did not want this version published and I think we should respect his wishes. I had my children read the older version which I had read in high school.
Why assign that book anyway when they assign so few books, this is much more appropriate and helpful to American students and our national culture.
Have you read The Diary of Ann Frank?
And just why did they feel the need to utilize something other than the original version of the book that didn't include these passages? The point of the book isn't sexuality but living under totalitarianism, bravery and the costs of doing what is right.
I read the original version in grade school, probably fifth or six grade, and found it very moving. Why mess it up with controversial passages.
It seems likely that someone decided saw an opportunity to sneak homosexuality into school reading material and did so.
The point of the book was that Anne wanted to record her thoughts. She did a partial revision herself with a view to publication after the war, including the redacted parts. Others have created their own polemics with it.
It seems odd that what a normal 13-year-old writes can be seen as unfit to read by other 13-year-olds until it says what other people want it to say. If all you want is ideology, you might as well write a work of fiction yourself.
Anne was in the process of editing it herself for publication after the war. What about her wishes? No, it is all about ideology. Anne was writing personally, not writing a political tract.
You're correct, her point of writing was to record her thoughts. When I said point of book I meant the reason it was originally included in school curricula.
A parent knows his or her child better than any committee. If a parent feels that it is inappropriate, then it likely is! So?....Instead of these matters being handled **privately** by **private** agreement between a parent and a **private** school teacher and principal, we have "committees" deciding what will be appropriate for the state's children.
Fundamentally, at its core government schools, the First Amendment and freedom of conscience are utterly incompatible.
The government must make a binary decision. It includes the book or excludes it. Regardless of the decision the government will trample the freedom of conscience of some of the parents and students, and likely the taxpayers who are under police threat to pay for it.
Ping to you for homeschooling.
How in the world did she manage to edit her diary after the war when she died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp a month before the camp was liberated????
Why should the diary of a 13 year old Jewish girl living in hiding in Nazi Germany need to be censored? Are our children really supposed to think that this 13 year old had no thoughts about sexuality and her changing body that she would have written in her diary? The censored version was published at her father’s direction during his lifetime, and while other people who had personally known Anne and other people she wrote about were still alive. It was reasonable to withhold material which would have caused embarrassment or discomfort or pain to still-living people (including the father himself, who would have found it painful to know people were reading Anne’s criticisms of her mother, after her mother had died in the concentraion camp), but that’s no longer the case, which is why the Anne Frank Foundation decided to published the unabridged version decades later.
It’s not like she was writing about her adventures with a vibrator or her fantasies about going to a lesbian bar and having sex with a woman she met there. Censoring normal healthy 13-year-old sexuality out of this historical diary is no more defensible than censoring religion out of US history text books. Both are intellectually dishonest.
Exactly. Getting rid of government schools ought to be one of the top objectives of Constitutional conservatives, but instead we hardly hear a peep about it -- just stupid debates about what should or shouldn't be included in the government schools' curriculum. While I think there's good reason to ask taxpayers to pay for basic education for all children, to around the eighth grade level (lest we end up with hordes of adults who can't read or do basic arithmetic), there's no reason this should be done through government schools. The money should follow the child, and plenty of schools will open up to take the money and fill the need, and should also be available to homeschooling parents and other people who school a handful of children in their own homes. No doubt some of these schools will be sketchy, but it's unlikely that nearly as many children would end up in sketchy schools as currently in totally dysfunctional government schools where even the teachers can barely read or do basic arithmetic. Basic standards could be maintained by requiring annual testing of the very basics, non-controversial stuff like reading, math, and science (plenty in that last category that is non-controversial), and paying the money only *after* the children it's attached to have taken the test and shown a minimum level of progress from the previous year.
And there is *zero* reason for taxpayers to be paying for the huge array of sports, music, drama, etc that have become standard in public schools. These things are all fine and good, but they should be organized and funded voluntarily by private citizens working together, and by churches and other private organizations, and not be a built-in part of taxpayer-funded education.
Firstly, she wasn't in Nazi Germany, she lived in the Netherlands. Secondly, I wasn't talking about censoring, I'm talking about using the original, unaltered version that's been out forever. You tell me, why take a book that has been out forever and change it to include homosexuality? Why do you think the version that her father released was so bad it had to be discarded?
She was editing before the war ended, for *publication* after the war ended.
That is correct. Anne Frank wrote her diary with the express purpose of publishing the book after the war was over.
I went on a tour of the "Anne Frank House" in Amsterdam many years ago and was surprised to learn that there were dozens, if not hundreds, of people who wrote "diaries" during the war in the hopes of publishing, and cashing in on their experiences.
The reason why the world knows about the Anne Frank Diary is because it was the best written of the bunch.
My sister played Anne Frank in high school.
Not a dry eye in the theater, she was so good. Boy was I popular for awhile!
Anne died before the war was over. She didn’t do any editing after the war.
I did and when I reread your posts it was clearer. The way 9 and 10 were worded made it sound as if she was editing it after the war ended. Sorry for the confusion.
That was my understanding of that post as well.
No one here is saying that she didn’t want her diary published. My point was if her family felt it was important to leave out things that would have been private (sexual), that should not have been included in any later versions.
I was in the Ann Frank House when I was in Amsterdam and the area where they hid.
Really? How sobering, actually BEING there.
When my sister was doing “Diary of Anne Frank” she’d come home from rehearsals just sobbing from holocaust stories of human-skin lampshades, etc.
She told us nothing about the play til we actually saw it, and we were thunderstruck by the story, her performance as Anne, and the fact that she was able to keep it all secret. It changed her life, that production.
It made her so grateful to be alive.
Many of my neighbors when growing up were in the concentration camps
So you’ve ALWAYS known the truth.
Did your neighbors talk to you and your folks about it?
I remember the first hand stories.
Including the Orthodox Rabbi and his wife.
For your young ears to hear first-hand stories must’ve had quite an impact. No wonder you were so politically savvy in school!
When we first moved here to SD, I freelanced for Walker-Scott and the art director, Irmgard (Irmy) was from Germany. She spoke of her German friends, who circulated the paintings of their Jewish artist friend who was captured by the Nazis. Am not sure if she survived.
Irmy felt such shame, as if she could’ve done anything about it! The most they could do was preserve their friend’s artwork, and even that was risky, moving it around. Wish I’d asked her more questions.
“Censoring normal healthy 13-year-old sexuality out of this historical diary is no more defensible than censoring religion out of US history text books. Both are intellectually dishonest.”
Oh please. When it comes to kids, assigning age appropriate books is essential. If the older version is more age appropriate, and parents agree, then that is what the schools should use. If you feel that your child should read the unabridged version, you are free to assign that version to your child in addition to the schools version or as part of a home school assignment. The kids have their entire lives to read the newer version, when they are better equipped with the maturity to handle more adult themes. Good for this school administrator for actually using her brain, instead of passing the buck through the endless web of bureaucracy. She acted quickly and decisively and honored parents wishes. We need to protect the innocence of our children, and doing so is absolutely NOT “intellectually dishonest”.
This was assigned for an eighth grade English class. It’s perfectly “age appropriate” for 13-14 year olds to be reading the diary of a normal 13 year old without it being censored. And BTW, the initial reports were incorrect. The book has not been “pulled” from the classroom or school. The eighth graders completed the original assignment and the school district is going have a committee review this and other books before the next school year, to come up with a list of books approved for use, which will allow parents to review before the school year starts.
First of all, If the parents feel that the original version is more appropriate, that is well within their rights as parents. It is THEIR JOB to censor things their kids are exposed to. It is also their job to teach kids about adult subjects when THEY feel it is appropriate.
The original version that her father published in 1947 is not “censored”. Get a grip. According to your logic, should every publisher be required to print original manuscripts of every author, without any editing and let 13 year olds read it? Otherwise it is censorship? Are there any limits to what we should allow 13 year olds to read?