School district pulls Anne Frank’s diary over ‘vagina’ passage
Anne Frank’s adolescent curiosity about sexuality is too much for a Virginia school district that has pulled the complete version of the young Jewish girl’s diary off its curriculum and off its shelves over a parent’s complaint about sexually explicit passages.
Culpeper County Public Schools has pulled Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition off the shelves because parents complained “over the sexual nature of the vagina passage in the definitive edition,” reports the Culpeper, Virginia, Star-Exponent.
The complaint has to do specifically with an expanded version of the diary published in 1995. Frank’s father, Otto, had excised large parts of his daughter’s diary prior to publication in the late 1940s. Anne died of typhus while being held at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March, 1945. Her diary has made her arguably the most famous Holocaust victim.
According to Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post, the offending passage is a description of female genitalia:
There are little folds of skin all over the place, you can hardly find it. The little hole underneath is so terribly small that I simply can’t imagine how a man can get in there, let alone how a whole baby can get out!
The decision to pull the book appears to have been made quickly, last November, on the basis of one complaint from a parent. The Star-Exponent reports:
Citing a parent’s concern over the sexual nature of the vagina passage in the definitive edition, Allen said school officials immediately chose to pull this version and use an alternative copy.
“What we have asked is that this particular edition will not be taught,” Allen said from his office Wednesday morning.
“I’m happy when parents get involved with these things because it lets me know that they are really looking and have their kids’ best interest (in mind). And that’s where good parenting and good teaching comes in.”
Amazon.com lists Anne Frank’s diary as one of the most banned children’s books, “for being too depressing for students.” The diary chronicles some two years of Frank’s life as she hid out with her family in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam during World War II. It is considered one of the most famous and vivid accounts of the war.
But the American Library Association says it has documented only six challenges to the book since 1990.
(Editor’s Note: Article originally wrongly stated that Frank died in Auschwitz.)