Anne Frank’s Diary Released For Free Online, Copyright Dispute Rages On

Anne Frank’s diary, one of the most renowned literary pieces regarding the holocaust, became available online for free, despite an ongoing copyright dispute. According to Yahoo! News, a French academic and an MP released Frank’s personal account of her time in hiding during World War II claiming that Anne’s diary became public property on January 1, 70 years after Frank’s death at 15.

The duo that released the diary online contend that a 1993 European law states exclusive copyrights only remain in effect until the author has been deceased for seven decades. The charitable organization, The Anne Frank Fund, holds the legal rights to the diary but in an article previously published by Inquisitr, it had threatened legal action in November against the duo who were attempting to release the diary should they follow through with it. The Anne Frank Fund was established by Anne’s father, Otto, and the charity claims that Otto made changes to the manuscript, therefore the rights should not be stripped until 70 years following his death in 1980.

Otto Frank, courtesy of Anne Frank Fund.
Otto Frank, courtesy of Anne Frank Fund.

According to the Telegraph U.K., a member of the board of trustees for the Anne Frank Fund stated that while the words were Anne’s, Otto “merged” and “compiled” one book from two separate manuscripts, making him the author. The charity also contends that the definitive copy is one that was published in 1986 by the Dutch State Institute of War Documentation, and Dutch law states that works published posthumously prior to 1995 remains protected under copyright laws for 50 years.

Anne Frank was a teenager of Jewish decent whose harrowing account of her years of hiding during the Nazi Germany’s occupation of the Netherlands during World War II became a global phenomenon. Anne’s father took his family into hiding in July of 1942 when her sister, Margot, was ordered to appear to Germany authorities. The Frank family would remain hidden in a secret room nestled behind a bookcase until an informant divulged their whereabouts and the Frank family was arrested on August 4, 1944. Anne would die in 1945 in a concentration camp following a typhoid fever outbreak. Frank’s account captured not only the solitude and isolation of the experience, but the normal transition of a teenage girl’s first love.

Anne Frank's hideaway bedroom, courtesy of
Anne Frank’s hideaway bedroom, courtesy of

Frank’s diary put a personal face on the fear and suffering of those who were subjected to the wrath of Adolf Hitler’s tyranny. The Diary of Anne Frank became the basis for multiple plays, films, and literary works. The diary is still used as a teaching tool regarding the holocaust in many elementary schools to this day. More than 30 million copies of the diary have been sold since its publication in 1947. The Anne Frank Fund utilizes the royalties from the book for education and other charitable projects.

Anne’s story is so compelling that the house in which the Frank family hid was restored and converted into a museum so that visitors could get a glimpse of what the Franks endured first hand. According to that organization, approximately one million people visit the home in Amsterdam annually.

Ironically, Frank’s diary isn’t the only piece of literature that may be up for grabs for free should the European law reign supreme. According to NPR, Mein Kampf, the manifesto written by Adolf Hitler became public domain as well, delivering two opposing views of the holocaust to the internet — Anne Frank’s and the man of power behind her tragic story and death.

If you were hoping to get a glimpse of the diary for free, however, you better speak Dutch. So far the only manuscript released online is in it’s original language. To check it out, click here.

[Image courtesy of Andrea Rentz/Getty Images.]