‘Diary of Anne Frank’ published online with expiration of copyright

(JTA) — A French lawmaker and a French scholar published the “Diary of Anne Frank” online at the beginning of the new year.

The two published their editions of the diary on Jan.1, when the current copyright expires, in a challenge to the foundation that allocates the book’s royalties.

Because European copyrights generally expire 70 years after an author’s death, the copyright was expected to expire at the end of 2015. However, Anne Frank Fonds, the Swiss foundation that Frank’s father, Otto, established to allocate the book’s royalties to charity, announced recently that it planned to list Otto Frank as a co-author, thus adding 35 years to the copyright. Otto Frank, the sole survivor of the eight Jews who sought refuge in the attic, died in 1980.

An Amsterdam court said earlier this week that the original text of the diary may be copied for academic research, however.

Isabelle Attard, a French Parliament member whose grandparents died in the Holocaust, published entire Dutch text of the diary on Friday, the French news agency AFP reported. Separately, Olivier Ertzscheid, a lecturer at the University of Nantes,   also published the text on his website on Friday.

“The intimate diary, written in a secret apartment in Amsterdam by a Jewish teenager, born German but stripped of her nationality, has finally entered the public domain. Seventy years after the author’s death, the whole world can use, translate and interpret these works, and use them to create new ones,” Attard said in a statement on her website.

Frank’s diary, which chronicles two years of hiding from the Nazis in an Amsterdam attic, is arguably the most famous Holocaust-era document and inspired several play and film adaptations. She died in 1945 at the Bergen Belsen extermination camp.

Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semitic book “Mein Kampf” also entered the public domain on Jan. 1.


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