Review: Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation

The active denial of facts that in recent years is more viral than most people would like to admit. The current POTUS and his administration possess a voracious habit of denial of what one considers geopolitical news and what the current administration’s message really is. Of course, this is no new phenomenon as one of the biggest denial campaigns of our time, is the one against global warming.

There have been even more insidious examples throughout history, ones which tried to erase whole civilizations and history. One of the most prominent histories in this country that many people tried to erase was slavery in 1871 where the KKK tried to explain away these accounts as paid falsehoods, starting what came to be known as the origin of “crisis actors”, the same term used to describe the children who survived the Parkland Massacre.

One of the most relevant denial campaigns was and still is the one against the Holocaust, which started immediately after World War II, and was continued through work of such indifferent voices like Harry Barnes and the Institute for Historical Review who dismissed the tragedy known also as Shoah, as wartime propaganda. This is why narratives like Howard Zinn’s People’s History Of The United States, Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery, Solomon Northrup’s 12 years A Slave, Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning, Elie Wiesel’s Night, are not only great books but important and much needed records, as these were eyewitness accounts of some of the ugliest times of human history. The world should never forget these personal chronicles and should be reintroduced to every generation in new and refreshing ways. This is why when I heard that they made a graphic novel adaptation of Anne Frank’s Diary, I was little more than interested to see if new blood could be pumped into such an important publication.

In the first few panels we are taken to Anne’s 13th birthday, as she shares the same insecurities about herself and uncertainties of the future that most adolescent girls her age face. Her so ordinary life is turned upside down when the Nazis came into power, where one of the campaign promises that Hitler made was to remove Jews from German society, despite the fact that they were less than 1% but he believed them to be the root of all evil. As things took a turn for the worse in Germany for Jews, Otto, Anne’s father decides to move to Holland, where he believed it be more progressive. As history tells us and so does Anne, the Nazis invade Holland, making life a living hell for most Jewish citizens, including the Franks who would eventually go into hiding. Day by day, friends and allies are taken by the Gestapo, as the family fears tomorrow will be their last day of freedom, as well as trying to cope with the mental toll living in secrecy takes, as each of them especially Anne wish only for a return to normalcy.  By book’s end, the last entry that was made into Anne’s diary is shortly after an assassination attempt on Hitler as Anne wrestles with what her legacy will be, as she fears she will be forgotten, which is something no one who has ever read her book can ever do.

Overall, this graphic novel not only brings back memories of reading her memoir for the first time but has given the book, something every other adaptation could not do, bringing Anne’s personality to life in all its complexities. The adaptation by Ari Folman is refreshing, well researched and innovative. The art by David Polonsky is stunning, vivid, and rich. Altogether, it’s a graphic novel that is more than essential reading as it captures a life loss in innocence, once with all the hope in the world, smiling to the future and by book’s end, with the weight that despair brings, searching for any glimmer of light as her journey ends in her diary’s heartbreaking final entry .

Story: Anne Frank Adaptation: Ari Folman Art: David Polonsky
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy