A class in Northville School District in Michigan started reading the Diary of Anne Frank. One girl came home to her mother and talked about a passage in the new unedited version where Anne describes her lady parts. The girl’s mother, Gail Horalek, decided to complain to the school that her daughter should not be reading this because her daughter was uncomfortable with the description of a vagina.
A news team went to the town and interviewed the mother and some people on the street. Horalek said she thought it was “pornographic.”
When I read the unedited version of this book I did not find this passage offensive at all. It was actually more interesting in my opinion than the edited version that I found very boring to read in grade school. After hearing about this attack on the now famous diary I actually started feeling sorry for Ms. Horalek’s daughter. This 7th grade girl must feel way more uncomfortable now with with what her mother is doing now over and above how she allegedly felt when she read in the Diary of Anne Frank. In my opinion the girl may have wanted an open discussion about sex and this threw her mother into a panic mode and she then directed her negative feelings about this toward the school. The daughter probably won’t reveal much to her mother after this.
In the diary Anne Frank had actually acted as a dental assistant for Dr. Pfeffer. There is a passage where Mrs. Van Daan (Van Pels was her real name) needs some dental work while they are in hiding.
Dr. Dussel (German word for jerk) was the name Anne Frank gave to the dentist. He was actually named Friedrich “Fritz” Pfeffer. She had renamed everyone in her diary. Pfeffer had gone into hiding with the families in the Secret Annex in Amsterdam. Anne Frank had to share a room with this man who fought with her over the writing table in their room and she truly detested him.
Monday December 7, 1942 – “Pf. has opened his dental practice. For the fun of it I must just tell you about his first patient. Mummy was ironing and Mrs. V.P., who was the first to face the ordeal, went and sat on a chair in the middle of the room. Pf. began to unpack his case in an important way, asked for some eau de cologne as a disinfectant and vaseline to take the place of wax. Pf. looked into Mrs. V.P.’s mouth and found two teeth which, when touched, just made her crumple up as if she was going to pass out, all the while uttering incoherent cries of pain. After a lengthy examination (in Mrs. V.P.’s case lasting in actual fact no more than 2 minutes). Pf. began to scrape away at one of the holes, but, no fear – it was out of the question – the patient flung her arms and legs about wildly in all directions until at a given moment Pf. let go of the scraper – which remained stuck in Mrs. V.P.’s tooth. Then the fat was really in the fire! She cried (as far as it was possible which such an instrument in one’s mouth), tried to pull the thing out of her mouth, and only succeeded in pushing it further in. Mr. Pf. stood with his hands against his sides calmly watching the little comedy. The rest of the audience lost all control and roared with laughter; it was rotten of us, because I for one am quite sure that I should have screamed even louder. After much turning, kicking, screaming and calling out, she got the instrument free at last and Mr. Pf. went to work as if nothing had happened! This he did so quickly that Mrs. V.P. didn’t have time to start any fresh tricks. But he’d never had so much help in all of his life before. Two assistants are pretty useful. V.P. and I performed our duties well. The whole scene looked like a picture from the Middle Ages, entitled “A Quack at Work.” In the meantime, however, the patient hadn’t much patience; she had to keep and eye on “her” soup and “her” meal. One thing is certain Mrs. V.P. won’t be in such a hurry to allow herself to be treated again.
From an interview with Miep Gies:
Where did Anne go to write her diary? How did Anne keep the others from reading her private information?
Most times Anne wrote her diary in her bedroom. This room she had to share with the dentist, so she had to work out an arrangement with him. From her diary we know that this was not always easy, because Dussel could not imagine that a young girl really needed a workplace. During the weekends her father allowed her to go downstairs and sit in his former office. This space was not part of the hiding place. Its furniture was not taken away after their arrest; therefore, the chair that Anne had been sitting and the desk at which she was writing are still there. Anne had a briefcase where she kept her diary that could be locked. The edited version contains also some very private parts, but there was some more to it. In the edited version, most of her unpleasant remarks about her mother were left out and also the rather graphic (but delicate) description of her developing body and sexuality. Furthermore, her concern about the position of women (entered the day after her 15th birthday) was initially not included.
Miep Gies was the helper who brought them food and kept them hidden away. If Anne would have survived she may have worked in dentistry but I have my doubts she could have worked for Dr. Pfeffer for very long. It is more likely that her diary will sell even more copies because of the recent uproar this woman in Michigan is causing at her daughter’s school.