Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

More on the translation of Anne Frank

Having mused on (and been bemused by) by divergences in the text of the published Diary of Anne Frank a couple of months ago, I was pleased to find a copy of the 1989 scholarly edition with parallel texts from the three versions (Anne's original 'a' text, her revised 'b' text and the 'c' text that her father published). I'll consider it at my leisure, but I feel like sharing the introduction of the dentist (real name Pfeffer, code-named Dussel in the first published version) as it's rather entertaining.

The original 'a'  text, addressed to "Emmy" rather than "Kitty" (Anne was at this stage addressing her diary entries to a number of imaginary friends)  is a bit breathless and hasty.
10 Nov. 1942
Best Emmy,
Vandaag zijn we eigenlijk weer overrompeld, want we hebben er nog eens over gesproken dat we hier eigenlijk nog best één persoon op kunnen nemen en het lot heeft op mijnh. Pfeffer gewesen, want die heeft niet zoveel familie. We hebben er al met Kugler over gesproken en die zal er nog eens een nachtje over slapen, maar het besluit is eigenijk al genomen. Wat zal die man opkijken, maar daar kan ik nog wel van berichten als hij in onze schuilplaats arriveerd is. We zullen vragen of hij nog iets mee kan brengen om holle kiezen te vullen, want hij is tandarts, en ik denk dat hij bij mij de op [sic, should be "op de" or just "op"] kamer slaapt.
10 Nov. 1942
Tuesday evening
Dear Emmy,
Today's been crazily busy again, because we discussed how we could fit in one more person here and it was decided that it would be Mr Pfeffer, because he hasn't got many relatives. We discussed it with Kugler and he will sleep on it, but the decision has been made. He'll be surprised, but I'll tell you about it once he arrives in our hiding place. We'll ask if he can bring something to fill hollow teeth, because he is a dentist, and I think he'll sleep in my room. [original text seems to read "sleep the in my room"]
There is then a later note by Anne in the 'a' text, dated 22 January 1944, saying how embarrassed she is by the immaturity of her own writing of a year and a half earlier.

The 'b' text, very substantially revised by Anne presumably around late January 1944, is as follows:
Dinsdag, 10 November
Lieve Kitty,
Geweldig nieuws, we willen een 8 ste schuiler opnemen!
Ja heus, we zijn altijd van mening geweest dat hier nog best plaats en eten voor een 8 ste persoon is. We waren alleen maar te bang om Kugler en Kleiman nog meer te belasten. Toen nu de gruwelberichten van buiten aangaande de Joden steeds erger werden heeft vader eens de twee beslissende factoren gepolst en deze vonden het plan uitstekend. Het gevaar is voor 7 even groot als voor 8, zeiden zij zeer terecht. Toen dit in orde was zijn we in gedachten onze kennissenkring langsgegaan om een alleenstaand mens te vinden, die goed in onze schuilfamilie zou passen. Het was niet moeilijk zo iemand op te scharrelen. Nadat vader alle familie van V.P. van de hand gewezen had, viel onze keuze op een tandarts genaamd Fritz Pfeffer. Hij leeft samen met een veel jongere en leuke Christenvrouw, waar hij waarschijnlijk niet mee getrouwd is, maar dat is bijzaak. Hij staat bekend als rustig en beschaafd en zo naar de oppervlakkige kennismaking te oordelen leek hij zowel V.P. als ons sympathiek. Ook Miep is met hem bekend, zodat door haar het schuilplan geregeld kan worden. Als hij komt, moet Pf. in mijn kamer slapen in plaats van Margot, die het harmonicabed tot legerstede krijgt.
je Anne.
Tuesday 10 November
Dear Kitty,
Great news, we want to take in an 8 th person!
Yes really, we’ve always thought that there was quite enough room and food for an 8 th person. We were only afraid of giving Kugler and Kleiman more trouble. But now that the appalling stories we hear about Jews are getting even worse Father grabbed the two people who had to decide and they thought it was an excellent plan. It is just as dangerous for 7 as for 8, they said quite rightly. When this was settled we ran through our circle of friends trying to think of a single person who would fit in well with our concealed household. It wasn’t difficult to hit on someone. After Father had refused all members of the V.P. family, we choose a dentist called Fritz Pfeffer. He lives with a much younger, very nice Christian woman, who he probably isn't married to, but that doesn't matter. He is known to be quiet, and so far as we and Mr. Van Daan can judge from a superficial acquaintance, we think he is nice. Miep knows him too, so she will be able to make arrangements for him to join us. If he comes, he will have to sleep in my room instead of Margot, who will use the camp bed.
Yours, Anne
There's obviously a lot more added here, at a point when Anne was thinking of publishing the diary after the war, and wanted to include circumstantial detail. (The so-called "definitive text" changes one word - "factoren" becomes "personen", which is admittedly a better choice of word in context - but also adds the sentence about bringing something to fill teeth from the 'a' text, which Anne had dropped from the 'b' text.)

The 'c' text, which is what Otto Frank published in 1947, is almost the same as the 'b' text, except that the punctuation and paragraphing have been tidied up, "factoren" becomes "personen" and the standard diary pseudonyms are used - Kugler and Kleiman become Koophuis and Kraler, V.P. becomes Van Daan, and Fritz Pfeffer becomes Albert Dussel. As I noted in my previous entry, however, there is also one very substantive change in describing Pfeffer/Dussel's family circumstances. Rather than "Hij leeft samen met een veel jongere en leuke Christenvrouw, waar hij waarschijnlijk niet mee getrouwd is, maar dat is bijzaak" ("He lives with a much younger, very nice Christian woman, who he probably isn't married to, but that doesn't matter"), we have "...wiens vrouw gelukkig in het buitenland verblijft" ("...whose wife fortunately is living abroad"). As I suspected, this is Otto Frank's change, presumably to avoid giving offence to Pfeffer's surviving lover (who married him retrospectively after his death was confirmed).

I don't plan to go though it systematically, but I will keep it on the shelf to look at now and again. It's always interesting to see how a text emerges.
Tags: world: netherlands, writer: anne frank

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