October 9, 1980
"The results of tests performed at the BKA laboratories show that portions of the work [Anne Frank's diary], specially of the fourth volume, were written with a ballpoint pen."
- Al Fredricks, New York Post, October 9, 1980
Anne Frank may not have inked that famous diary
by Al Fredricks
A REPORT by the German Federal Criminal Investigation Bureau (BKA) indicates that portions of The Diary of Anne Frank had been altered or added after 1951, casting doubt over the authenticity of the entire work, the West German news weekly Der Spiegel has disclosed.
The diary, a day-to-day account of the anguish of a young Jewish and her family hiding in their Amsterdam home during the Nazi invasion, has touched the hearts of millions.
The manuscript was examined on orders of a West German court as of a libel action brought by Otto Frank, Anne's father and the only family member to survive the concentration camps, against Ernst Roemer for spreading the allegation the book was a fraud.
This was the second suit against Roemer, a long-time critic of the book, by Frank. In the first case, the court decided in Frank's favor when the testimony of historians and graphologists sufficed to authenticate the diary.
In April, however, only a short time before Frank's death on August 19, the manuscript was turned over to techicians of the BKA [Bundeskriminalamt, Germany's "FBI"] for examination.
The manuscript, in the form of three hardbound notebooks and 324 loose pages bound in a fourth notebook, was examined with special equipment.
The results of tests performed at the BKA laboratories show that portions of the work, specially of the fourth volume, were written with a ballpoint pen. Since ballpoint pens were not available before 1951, the BKA concluded, those sections must have been added subsequently. [*]
The examination of the manuscript did not, however, unearth any conslusive evidence to lay to rest the speculations about the authenticity of the first three notebooks.
* Anne Frank fell ill with typhus at the Bergen-Belsen camp and died in March 1945.
Related item: Arthur Hawley says, it's wrong to say ball point pens weren't available until 1951