The diary was first published in the Netherlands on June 25, 1947
When the diary of Anne Frank was first published in English, as Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, a full decade had passed since a young Anne received the fateful journal for her 13th birthday. Five years had passed since the diary had been published in the Netherlands—on this day, June 25, in 1947, as Het Achterhuis—and more than dozen had passed since its author stopped writing down her days.
And yet, despite the passage of time, her story was something new, a different way of understanding the horrors of the Holocaust. “The resulting diary is one of the most moving stories that anyone, anywhere, has managed to tell about World War II,” as TIME’s book reviewer put it, describing the diarist’s experiences:
As the war dragged on and news trickled in of mass deportations of Jews, Anne became desperate. She had terrifying fantasies about the death of Jewish friends. Often she saw “rows of good, innocent people accompanied by crying children [walk] on and on . . . bullied and knocked about until they almost drop.” With appalling prescience she wrote that “there is nothing we can do but wait as calmly as we can till the misery comes to an end. Jews and Christians wait, the whole earth waits; and there are many who wait for death.” When her pen fell into the fire, she wrote that it “has been cremated.”
Though not much interested in politics, Anne tried to understand what was happening to the world. “I don’t believe that the big men, the politicians and the capitalists alone, are guilty of the war,” she wrote. “Oh no, the little man is just as guilty, otherwise the peoples of the world would have risen in revolt long ago! There’s in people simply an urge to destroy, an urge to kill, to murder and rage, and until all mankind, without exception, undergoes a great change, wars will be waged …”
But sometimes she cried out from the heart, as if for all the Jews of Europe: “Who has inflicted this upon us? Who has made us Jews different from all other people? Who has allowed us to suffer so terribly up to now? It is God that has made us as we are, but it will be God, too, who will raise us up again.”
Many more decades have passed by now—this year marks the 70th anniversary of Anne Frank’s death at Bergen-Belsen—and her father’s decision to execute her wish to have her diary published continues to prove significant. According to the Anne Frank House, it has since been published in 70 languages.
Read the full review, here in the TIME Vault: Lost Child