The Holocaust Historiography Project

Historical news and comment

Anne Frank’s Handwriting


One reason for skepticism about the famous diary attributed to Anne Frank is the existence of strikingly different samples of handwriting supposedly written by her within a two and a half year period.

My first work about the Anne Frank diary was published in French in 1980. A translation of it appeared in the Summer 1982 issue of The Journal of Historical Review under the title “Is the Diary of Anne Frank Genuine?” (pp. 147-209).

A facsimile reprint of this article was published as a booklet by the Institute for Historical Review in 1985. Two samples of handwriting attributed to Anne Frank appeared on the front cover and on page 209. Each was written when she was about 13 years old, but strangely enough, the earlier one (dated 12 June 1942) looks much more mature and “adult-like” than the sample which was supposedly written four months later (dated 10 October 1942).

In response to growing skepticism about the authenticity of the famous diary, the State Institute for War Documentation in Amsterdam (Rijksinstituut voor Orloogsdocumentatie or RIOD) published a book in 1986 which includes a facsimile of a letter supposedly written by Anne dated 30 July 1941.

The discovery in the USA of some more samples of Anne’s handwriting was announced in July 1988. This includes two letters dated 27 and 29 April 1940 and a postcard that was sent with one of the letters, all written to an ll-year-old penpal in Danville, Iowa.

These letters create a new problem for the State Institute for War Documentation because the handwriting on them is quite different than the “adult” handwriting of her letter of 30 July 1941 as well as most of the purported diary manuscript.


Sample 1: 29 April 1940: Anne was almost 11. Source: New York Times, 22 July 1988, p. A1.


Sample 2: 30 July 1941: Anne was a little more than 12. Source: De Dagboeken van Anne Frank, Amsterdam; RIOD, 1986, p. 126.


Sample 3: 12 June 1942: Anne was exactly 13. Source: Journal de Anne Frank, Calmann-Levy, 1950.

These discoveries strengthen my belief that the “adult handwriting attributed to Anne is, in reality, very likely the handwriting of one of the persons who officially “helped” Otto Frank prepare the diary for publication just after the war.

Reproduced here are four samples of handwriting attributed to Anne Frank (who was born on 12 June 1929) with their dates.


Sample 4: 10 Oct 1942: Anne was a little more than 13. Source: Journal de Anne Frank, Livre de Poche, 1975.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center (Los Angeles) is supposed to have bought the pen-pal letter.

Source: Reprinted from The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 97-101.