According to an article on the personal blog of Peter Winter, Holocaust historian and author of the best-selling The Six Million: Fact or Fiction, the copyright holders to the diary have admitted Otto Frank’s involvement in an attempt to extend their control of the manuscript.
According to Winter:
The Basel, Switzerland, Anne Frank Fonds (Anne Frank Fund)—which controls the copyright to the Diary of Anne Frank—has admitted that the book was in fact at least co-authored by Otto Frank, Anne’s father, after the war.
The admission proves that the book, which is still heavily promoted as a “holocaust memoir,” is in fact largely a postwar fabrication which contained parts of the young Anne’s diary with extensive additions added by her father.
This is obvious from even a cursory look at the actual diary. See, for example, the image below of two pages from the diary, which shows both Anne’s real youthful handwriting and her father’s obviously adult handwriting—although he signs his entries as “Anne Frank.”
As the New York Times has pointed out, when “Otto Frank first published his daughter’s red-checked diary and notebooks, he wrote a prologue assuring readers that the book mostly contained her words, written while hiding from the Nazis in a secret annex of a factory in Amsterdam.”
Normal copyright on books extends only 70 years after the author’s death. As Anne Frank died of typhus in Bergen Belsen in February 1945, the book theoretically entered the public domain in February 2015.
But, as the New York Times went on to say, the Anne Frank Fonds has now decided to try to extend copyright on the book past the 70 year cut-off period—by admitting that Otto Frank, who died in 1980, was indeed a “co-author” after all.
The implications of this admission are obvious. As the New York Times put it:
While the foundation, the Anne Frank Fonds, in Basel, signaled its intentions a year ago, warnings about the change have provoked a furor as the deadline approaches. Some people opposed to the move have declared that they would defy the foundation and publish portions of her text.
Foundation officials “should think very carefully about the consequences,” said Agnès Tricoire, a lawyer in Paris who specializes in intellectual property rights in France, where critics have been the most vociferous and are organizing a challenge. “If you follow their arguments, it means that they have lied for years about the fact that it was only written by Anne Frank.”