Cover of new Anne Frank graphic novel, courtesy of Anne Frank Fons .
(photo credit: ANNE FRANK FONS)
The Diary of Anne Frank, the young Jewish woman who was murdered in the Holocaust, is already one of the most well-read books around the globe. Now, Anne Frank Fonds, the Swiss-based foundation that was set up by her father, is publishing a graphic version of her story, aiming to reach an even wider audience.
While readership is on the rise, said the foundation, “a change is occurring in the behavior of readers.
The youth of today are socialized differently and are growing up in a different historical context and with a different educational background. Due to the Internet, images are becoming increasingly important. This is the reason for the graphic diary edition with original texts, illustrations and images.”
The graphic version of Frank’s diary was created by Israelis Ari Folman and David Polonsky, the duo behind 2008’s Waltz with Bashir – the animated war film that was nominated for an Oscar. The pair were selected for the project, in part because the Anne Frank Fonds wanted it to “be thought of as a kind of film... The graphic narrative follows the structure of a movie.”
While the English version of the book will not be released until next year, versions in several languages, including Hebrew and French, have already come out. The foundation said it developed the project to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the publication of Frank’s diary in 1947.
According to Anne Frank Fonds, her family has supported the project, including her cousin Buddy Elias, who died in 2015. “It was clear for Buddy Elias, who was himself a gifted narrator and actor, that this form can appeal to the youth of today at their level. It also manages to juxtapose the very prevalent humor and imagination in the family with the known sad and serious context of the story.”
Along with the images and illustrations created by Folman and Polonsky, some of Frank’s letters to Kitty, what she affectionately named her diary, are reproduced in full: “For us, this was the only way for the diary to retain its integrity and authenticity.”
As a graphic novel, the creators had to take some liberties from what was provided in the original published diary, and did extensive research in family and historical archives. The Fonds said there are elements that “are dramatic, but never fictional; they originate from, or are based on the original text in the diary. Depicted is what takes place when reading the texts, and what Anne Frank wrote in terms of dreams, emotions and wishes.”
The publication of the graphic diary comes at a time when Frank’s legacy has been callously bandied about – as the name for a German train, a Halloween costume, and even used in European soccer rivalries.
A 2014 global survey conducted by the Anti-Defamation League found that 54% of respondents had never heard of the Holocaust.