Anne Frank’s secret ‘dirty jokes’ discovered

Timeless: “Who would ever think that so much went on in the soul of a young girl?” Anne Frank.

Should we all keep a diary? From jokes about sex, to musings on puberty and prostitutes — all are among the lines experts have recently found concealed in secret pages of Anne Frank’s diary.

Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl is one of the world’s most cherished books. Anne herself has achieved near-mythical status — her record of the 25 months her family spent hiding from the Nazis is a universal story of hope.

Yet for all the attention the diary has received, it long concealed a fascinating secret, until now.

Using sophisticated photography, researchers have uncovered a previously hidden section. Its 13-year-old author had meticulously masked the pages with brown paper and glue.

Dated September 28, 1942, the hidden entry begins: “I’ll use this spoiled page to write down ‘dirty’ jokes.” What follows is a charming selection of risqué gags, possibly overheard from her companions.

One describes a husband discovering a naked man hiding in the wardrobe of his marital bedroom: “Believe it or not, I’m waiting for the tram,” says the man.

And just like Anne, right now countless other ordinary teenage girls are keeping the art of diary writing alive. One survey found that 83% of girls aged 16 to 19 keep a journal. However, this figure drops as people get older.

That is in spite of the increasingly evident health benefits of keeping a diary. Research suggests it can help fight anxiety and depression; sharpen memory function; and can even boost your immune system.

Should we all keep a diary?

Dear Diary…

Anne Frank can inspire us all, some argue. And this discovery emphasises how down to earth she was, making her example even easier to follow. Writing about the world makes you notice so much more within it, making daily experiences even richer.

Diaries are not the only way, others respond. Technology has opened up new means to express ourselves. Vlogging has a similar function to journal writing, but allows far more visual creativity.

You Decide

  1. Do you keep a diary? Why/why not?


  1. In the spirit of Anne Frank, take 10 minutes to write a diary entry about your day so far. How did it make you feel to write about it? Do you think you could keep it up every day?

Some People Say...

“We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.”

Anne Frank

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
The discovered passages are not the only references to sexual themes in her dairy. At several points she writes openly about her periods as well as conversations with others about sex and sexuality.
What do we not know?
Some are not certain if it was ethical to reveal the content of the pages, given that it was specifically covered up by the young author.

Word Watch

Idealised, particularly with reference to the past.
The family hid in a sealed-off annex in Amsterdam — the entrance concealed behind a bookcase.
Conducted by Otherlines.TV on behalf of E4.
According to a survey by Pen Heaven, 37% of 18- to 24-year-old’s in the UK keep a diary. This drops to 15% for those aged 35 to 44. It found that 27% of women kept diaries, compared to 19% of men.
For more details follow The Telegraph link under Become An Expert.