Anne Frank censored in the USA

Anne Frank's diary

From the blog of Jacob Heilbrunn in the USA:

January 29, 2010 01:59 PM

The Anniversary of Auschwitz‘s Liberation: Virginia Censors Anne Frank

This is the 65th anniversary of the Red Army’s liberation of Auschwitz, the complex of death camps located near Kracow that the Nazis used to murder European Jewry. Culpeper County public school officials have, according to today’s Washington Post, decided to discontinue assigning Anne Frank’s diary because a parent complained that the book “includes sexually explicit material and homosexual themes.” The director of instruction, one James Allen, says the book will no longer be used in classes, but retained in the library. …

These kinds of stories are not entirely uncommon, of course, as censorship in the school system is a perennial issue. But that Virginia would go so far as to restrict access to Anne Frank’s unexpurgated thoughts is another sign of what’s amiss in America today. Censoring Anne Frank in the name of morality, after all, is an immoral act.

See also here.

Censorship on US TV: here.

10 thoughts on “Anne Frank censored in the USA

  1. One of the few books Iread at school that I really liked was ‘One day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch’ by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn.
    The local education authority had obviously decided that I needed to be protected from the strong language contained in the text (it is set in a prison camp, after all), so they censored out all the ‘bad’ words by simply leaving the innitial letter followed by a blank space.
    Clearly I wasn’t the first person who had read the copy of the book that I was issued, and the person who had read it before me had, very helpfully, filled in all the blanks. I assume he/she felt that I might not have known some of these words, and that this would represent a serious gap in my education.
    I admit that the above anecdote isn’t terribly relevant, and it will be no comfort at all to those who’re denied the chance to read Anne Frank’s words as she wrote them. But it’s a small episode that seems to say something about the futility of censorship, particiularly in relation to children and young adults.
    It also raises a question.
    What is it, exactly, about literature that these people think children need to be protected from?


  2. It struck me after I’d left my reply that when The Diary of Anne Frank was first published her father edited a few things out. As I understand it, they were mostly to do with tensions between Anne and her mother, but they may well have included some of the material you were referring to as well.
    Some years ago the Holocaust deniers siezed on these minor revisions in an attempt to undermine the credibility of the Diary as a whole. I expect that’s why they’ve been restored.
    Now, as you’ve pointed out, this material is being used as a pretext for removing Anne Frank’s work from the school curriculum.
    Bad enough that she was persecuted and murdered by the Nazis and insulted by Holocaust deniers, now this.
    What happened to the First Amendment? (I speak as a European who’s a great admirer of the US consitution).


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