The Anne Frank Foundation has reacted with dismay to a novel suggesting that the Jewish girl had sex with a boyfriend during her time in hiding in World War II.
The novel by British author Sharon Dogar is a fictional retelling of Anne's relationship with Peter van Pels, seen from his point of view. He was the son of Anne's neighbours, who were sharing the Amsterdam hideout where Anne's family had sought refuge to escape persecution by the Nazi occupiers of the Netherlands.
"It's tasteless, there are no words to decribe it. It looks like sensationalism using the name of Anne Frank," a spokeswoman for the foundation said on Monday. There is no indication at all in Anne's published diary that she had any sexual relations, the spokeswoman said. "It's a beautiful, frank and pure diary," she added. The book is entitled "Annexed", after the annex of the office building where the family was hiding. The novel was described in last weekend's Sunday Times.
The book’s author Sharon Dogar issued a statement on Monday saying that she had not suggested that the two teenagers were involved in a sexual relationship. She criticised the Sunday Times article for its approach.
“I’m afraid people may have fallen into the trap of believing what you read in the papers. I’m so sorry that the article has upset people, but then again, that’s what it’s designed to do. (...) At no stage in my book, now, or ever, have I suggested that Anne and Peter had sex. It would be so helpful if people could reserve judgment until having read the book.”
The New York Daily News reported last weekend how Ms Dogar had reread Anne Frank's diary and drew the conclusion that Anne and Peter must have slept together. Anne, who turned 13 when she went into hiding in 1942 for two years, only wrote in her diary that for a while she had romantic feelings for Peter, who was one year her senior.
The only surviving cousin of Anne, Buddy Elias, told the Sunday Times that he does not recognise the portrait of Anne and Peter sketched by Sharon Dogar's novel. “Anne was not the child she is in this book. I also do not think that their terrible destiny should be used to invent some fictitious story”, he told the paper.
Anne Frank died in the Nazi concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen early in 1945.