A rare handwritten poem by Anne Frank — known to millions through the diary she kept while in hiding during the Nazi round-up of Jews — was sold Wednesday at auction for 140,000 euros ($148,000) in the Netherlands.
The poem, also signed by Anne Frank, was written in the “friendship book” of Christiane “Cri-Cri” van Maarsen, the older sister of Frank’s best friend, Jacqueline van Maarsen, according to auction house Bubb Kuyper in the city of Haarlem.
Bubb Kuyper director Thijs Blankevoort told CNN that the sale price — which was four or five times the expected 30,000-50,000 euros — had surprised everyone in the auction room.
He said the buyer was a private person who didn’t want to disclose his or her identity.
The eight-line poem, addressed to Cri-Cri is dated March 28, 1942 — less than four months before the Frank family went into hiding.
The poem reads:
If you did not finish your work properly,
And lost precious time,
Then once again take up your task
And try harder than before.
If others have reproached you
For what you have done wrong,
Then be sure to amend your mistake.
That is the best answer one can make.
In memory of Anne Frank
According to the auction house “it is a typically edifying poem of the sort that was often written in ‘friendship books,’ exhorting the owner to do her best and be diligent at work.”
It was the first time the auction house, which specializes in the sale of books, manuscripts and drawings, had sold a document handwritten by Anne Frank, Blankevoort said.
It was special, he said, to have had contact with a manuscript written “when she was a free girl still.”
Anne Frank was 13 when she and her family began hiding in a dark and damp “secret annex” of a house in Amsterdam to escape the roundup of Jews in Holland in July 1942.
For two years, she never left the house, spending much of her time writing in her diary. But then Anne and her family were found and arrested by the Nazis in August 1944.
She died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp sometime around March 1945. Her diary survived to tell her tragic and inspiring story.