Thanks to her best-selling diary, most people know Anne Frank as the young Jewish girl who lived in an attic during the Holocaust. Letters Frank penned before she and her family went into hiding reveal a different chapter of her life, and for the first time ever, they will be fully published in English, The Guardian reports.
Frank's letters to her grandmother, Alice Frank, are included in Anne Frank: The Collected Works, a new book from Bloomsbury that compiles the young writer's diary entries, letters, and favorite quotes, and presents them with essays and photographs. She wrote the letters from 1936 to 1941, the period leading up to when she received her diary for her 13th birthday in 1942 and moved into a secret annex in the Netherlands that same year.
She writes of typical young-girl experiences, such as growing her hair longer, receiving presents for her birthday, and having braces. In a letter believed to be written in spring 1941, she wrote, "I have a little appliance in my mouth, and braces […] Now I have to go to the dentist every week, and it comes out the next day. This has been going on for eight weeks, and I find it very unpleasant, of course." In another letter written that same year, she mentions the boys in her life: "Yesterday (Sunday) I went out with Sanne, Hanneli, and a boy. It was lots of fun, I have no lack of companionship as far as boys are concerned."
Her experiences as a Jewish girl in World War II Europe also come through in the documents. "Jewish lessons have stopped for the time being," Frank writes in one 1941 letter. "I'm getting a new dress, it's very hard to get fabric, and it takes lots and lots of ration coupons." She also tells her grandmother, "I wish I could start ice skating again, but I'll just have to have a little more patience, until the war is over."
Anne Frank only lived to be 15 before she succumbed to typhus in a Nazi concentration camp, but she left behind a rich body of work that secured her legacy as one the most influential voices in history. Even in the 21st century, new writings of hers are being discovered: Dutch researchers recently uncovered two lost pages of dirty jokes in her diary she had obscured with tape.
[h/t The Guardian]