Online and on site: Martin van Gelderen, Reading and Writing to Live: A Cultural History of the Diaries of Anne Frank

Theresa Finger's picture
March 31, 2022
Subject Fields: 
European History / Studies, German History / Studies, Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies

Lecture in the context of the series "Les jeudis de l'Institut historique allemand".

  • Martin van Gelderen (Göttingen Univeristy), Reading and Writing to Live: A Cultural History of the Diaries of Anne Frank
  • Commentary: Ivan Jablonka (Sorbonne Paris Nord University)

These days every new story about Anne Frank becomes world news. Most recently the cold case investigation, seeking (and stumbling) to uncover who betrayed the hiding place of Anne and her family to the Nazi’s in 1944, even caused a veritable scandal. Over the past 75 years, since the publication in 1947 of her diaries detailing life in hiding between July 1942 and August 1944 in the back annex to one of the canal houses on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam, Anne’s image, her writing and the famous Anne Frank House have become iconic. They play major roles in the Dutch, German, American, indeed global memory culture concerning the Holocaust and the Second World War.

This lecture looks at Anne as writer and reader. It explores how in her encounter with the world of literature, especially with the innovative work of Dutch female novelists, Anne created in her diaries a life of writing and reading that helped her to survive. Reading and writing empowered Anne to address the fundamental issues of life as a teenager in hiding, searching for her inner self, embracing her Jewishness, finding her own way between the German culture of her parents and the cultural riches of Amsterdam life.

Lecture with simultaneous translation (German/French).

The lecture series "Les jeudis de l'Institut historique allemand" addresses current debates in historical science in a critical Franco-German dialogue and expands knowledge horizons beyond disciplinary, geographical, linguistic and methodological boundaries.

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If you have any questions, please contact Niels F. May (in charge of the event) or Theresa Finger (in charge of press and public relations).

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