I’ll admit that I have not read The Diary of Anne Frank since I was in school and, to be perfectly honest, I’m not even sure I read it all back then. You see, it touched on a topic that was not discussed in our house — World War II and the Holocaust. My father came to America by himself when he was 13. His family was supposed to follow the next year; instead, they went to Auschwitz. Despite this, I do believe that it is an extremely important document from a historical and cultural point of view and should be made available to students. Not everyone, however, agrees. Because Anne Frank was a girl.
It seems that the teenage Anne Frank wrote a passage about her vagina and a parent took offense. Because while the horror of being forced into hiding, fearing imminent capture for two years, and eventually being caught and killed is okay it is only suitable as long as there is no mention of a girls’ naughty bits. It appears the school district is switching to a less complete version of the diary. The original version, published in 1947 by Anne’s father, Otto Frank, excluded about 30% of the diary; Mr. Frank apparently felt some of his daughter’s entries were too private to share.
While I certainly respect Mr. Frank’s desire to remove some personal passages, when considering the diary as a historical and educational document, it seems to me that being afraid of a middle school student encountering a diary entry written by a girl of the same age is a pretty sorry reason to censor the book. Of course, this doesn’t seem too different from banning the dictionary because it defines terms like “oral sex” (I bet “vagina” is in there too!) or banning an author completely because someone else, with the same name, wrote a book about a different form of government than we use. It seems to me that all this is getting pretty far out of hand. What do you think?