Culture January 11, 2017
You probably know Anne Frank for her diary, which has acted as a tragic symbol of the Holocaust for decades. However, Anne Frank left behind more than a journal and a haunting legacy.
In fact, several other pieces of writing by Frank have recently been discovered … and this memorabilia has not only revealed heartwarming moments of history, but has also made history with some shocking price tags.
How much are people really willing to pay for a poem by Anne Frank? And what other memorabilia has made headlines for auction houses? Here are five pieces of Anne Frank memorabilia that have blown people’s minds – and their budgets!
One of the most recently discovered and sold pieces of Anne Frank memorabilia is a poem that had been given to a friend of Frank’s called Christiane van Maarsen. Before Christiane died, she gave the poem to her sister, Jacqueline, who was Frank’s best friend. “I would never sell the verse that Anne addressed to me,” Jacqueline explained to IB Times. “But as my sister was not attached to hers, I decided to sell it.”
READ MORE: #WomenThatDid: Anne Frank
In particular, the eight-lined poem is found in a “poezie album” or a friendship book. The first four lines are allegedly from a Dutch poem. The closing lines, however, are believed to be from Frank: “If others have reproached you/For what you have done wrong/Then be sure to amend your mistake/That is the best answer one can make.” Frank signed the poem and dated it March 28, 1942 – months before her family went into hiding from the Nazis.
At an auction house in the Dutch city of Haarlem, the poem ended up selling for five times more than its minimum price of $32,000 when an anonymous buyer paid $148,000 to own this piece of history.
— The Pen Company (@ThePenCompany) December 1, 2016
You’ve probably heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” But these eight lines of words actually seem relatively priceless considering their insight into one of the most admired women from the Holocaust.
Imagine your English teacher assigned a pen pal project in which you – an American – would write to a fellow teen in Europe. Now, imagine that your teen ended up being Anne Frank. That is the story of Iowan 10-year-old Juanita Wagner, who acted as pen pal for Anne Frank before Frank’s family went into hiding.
After sending her first letter, Juanita received a package containing a letter from Anne Frank and one from Anne’s sister Margot, which was addressed to Juanita’s sister, Betty. The package also included several photographs of the Frank sisters and a postcard. Sadly, these were the only letters the Franks were able to send.
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What exactly was on the Franks’ mind the month the Nazis invaded the Netherlands? Mainly traditional schoolgirls concerns. For instance, 11-year-old Anne wrote: ‘I am sitting in the fifth class. We have no hour-classes we may do what we may prefer, of course we must get to a certain goal.” Anne’s older sister Margot did make some references to Europe’s shaky political situation, though, writing: “We often listen to the radio as times are very exciting, having a frontier with Germany and being a small country we never feel safe.”
Juanita wrote to Frank’s same address after the war, only to hear about the death of the family from Anne’s father. The letters and accompanying photos were eventually auctioned off by Swann Galleries in 1988, selling for $165, 000.
Considering Frank’s very un-fairytale-like life story, it seems slightly ironic that one of the other rare items sold by auction is Anne Frank’s copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. However, the book does have a mysterious story behind it; it was apparently left behind in the Frank’s apartment after they went into hiding. Then, it somehow ended up in an Amsterdam bookstore, only to be bought by a Dutch family (who wish to remain anonymous). When they discovered the inscription, they wrote to Anne Frank’s father, who wrote back, “It would please me if you keep the book for your daughter in memory of my children.”
Otto Frank’s letter was auctioned along with the book by Swann Auction Galleries in 2015, nearly 40 years after the book was re-discovered. The Museum of World War II bought Frank’s inscribed copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales for $50,000 dollars, with the museum’s founder explaining, “I had everyone surrounding [Anne Frank] on display, but nothing that had come from her own hand.”
— Linda Sorenson (@LindaSorenson3) March 18, 2016
READ MORE: Top 5 Memoirs Written by Women
The book is just another reminder of how “normal” – not to mention young – Anne Frank was before she died in the Holocaust.
Have you ever signed a yearbook and jokingly told your friend, “Hold onto that – it’ll be worth a lot of money one day”? If so, you can relate to how a friend of Anne Frank’s, Henny, felt years after Frank had passed away. In March of 1940, Frank had signed Henny’s “friendship book” and included the lines, “It is of little worth/what I offer you/pluck roses on earth/and forget me not.” The words are especially haunting when considered in the context of Frank’s life and death.
Although not much information is available on the auction, the friendship album was sold in 1989. An unnamed buyer paid $35,200.
Most likely, you’ve read Anne Frank’s dairy – or at least heard about it in your high school English class. Like any other book, however, some editions of the diary are more valuable than others. The first edition only featured 1500 copies and included an author portrait, photographic reproductions of inside her house, one floor plan and two exact copies of pages of Anne’s original diary. It was also originally written in Dutch under the name “Het Achterhuis: Dagboekbrieven van 12 Juni 1942-1 Augustus 1944,” which translates to “The House Behind: Diary Entries From 12 June 1942 to 1 August 1944.”
READ MORE: How to Start a Rare Book Collection
One of the first edition copies of the diary was recently sold by Swann Galleries in New York. Although estimated to sell for between $5,000 and $7,000, the winning buyer paid $11,700 in May of 2016.
Despite dying young, Anne Frank’s legacy has lived on for decades after she passed away. Through her diary, men and women have learned what living in WWII was really like and how human and normal Holocaust victims were. Anne Frank’s diary will probably always be the most well-known artifact she left behind.
— Sweetie (@phutc7274) November 10, 2016
However, as these four other pieces of memorabilia show, other aspects of Frank’s life have also fetched high prices – and even higher levels of admiration. One fact is certain: The world has certainly fulfilled Frank’s hope that we would “forget [her] not.”
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