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Anne Frank poem auctioned off at 140.000 euros

A poem with the last verse likely to have been written by Anne Frank sold for an impressive 140.000 euros on Wednesday at the Bubb Kuyper auction house in Haarlem.

Many of us might remember Anne Frank from our childhood, having read ‘Diary of a Young Girl’, which was published by her father Otto, selling over 30.000 copies in 67 different languages. It was through this book that she became a symbol of the holocaust. 

The story behind the poem

The auctioned poem has a unique story. A Dutch lady by the name of Christine van Maarsen, tore out the eight-line poem from an old friendship book (poezie album) that had been written decades earlier by her younger sister’s best friend. That friend was Anne Frank.

Whilst half of the poem comprises of traditional lines traced back to a Dutch periodical, the last verse which has yet to be cited is thus claimed to have been written by Anne.

The circumstances under which the poem had been written, bring in an interesting element too. Addressed, "Dear Cri-Cri", and signed by Anne on March 28, 1942, nearly four months before she went into hiding, the poem was meant to give Christine encouragement.

However, it had come across as somewhat condescending, and for that reason, Christine did not value it as much and gave it to her sister, Jacqueline, who was indeed Anne's best friend. 

Whilst Jacqueline treasured the poems and notes that Anne had written to her, she decided to sell this one, given that it wasn’t that adored by her sister.

Anne’s unique auction

Another unique aspect of the story is that other such signed items by Anne Frank are extremely rare to come by. 

Since 1942, only four of five signed items have been made public in the last 40 years, according to auction house co-director, Thys Blankevoort. In addition, they have not been met with the same success.

Whereas this poem sold in two minutes to an anonymous bidder for a price that was nearly five times the reserved price of 30.000 euros, a copy of Grimm’s fairy tales with her name written on it, only fetched twice the reserved price.

Furthermore, a series of letters between Anne, her sister, and American pen pals, arguably far more authentic, sold for a little over the same price as the poem. 

Interested in learning more 

If you're keen to learn more about the life of Anne Frank, why not take a visit to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

Kiri

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Kiri Scully

Raised a global citizen, to an Irish father and American mother, Kiri has lived and worked in five countries over three continents. Fuelled by culture curiosity at an early age,...

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