• Search

    Anne Frank’s Diary: Written in Ballpoint Pen?

    How do we know that no part of Anne Frank’s diary was written in ballpoint pen?

    Holocaust deniers claim:

    Part of Anne Frank’s diary is written in ballpoint pen, which did not exist during the war.

    The facts are:

    Anne wrote the body of her diary with a fountain pen. The only things written in ballpoint pen ink are two loose notes written by someone else and put with the papers later and some page numbers written on the sheets during the compilation process.

    David Irving, who the High Court in London in 2000 declared to be a Holocaust denier, racist and antisemite, states that parts of Anne’s diary were written in “ball-point ink” which did not become generally available until the early 1950s.[1]

    Fountain pen nib. By BenFrantzDale, Przykuta [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons.
    Fountain pen nib. By BenFrantzDale, Przykuta [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons.

    Anne’s diary and the ballpoint pen:

    Anne wrote the body of her diary with a fountain pen—that is, a pen that uses wet ink.  The only traces of ballpoint pen ink are confined to two loose scraps of paper put with the diary materials later (probably by Otto Frank). They are in a different hand from Anne’s. When Otto Frank organized the books and papers after the war he numbered the pages partly in ballpoint pen and partly in colored pencil.[2]

    Conclusion

    No part of Anne Frank’s diary is written in ballpoint pen. Anne wrote the body of her diary with a fountain pen. The only ballpoint pen traces are two loose notes written by someone else and put with the papers later and some page numbers written on the sheets during the compilation process.

    NOTES

    [1] “David Irving answers a student asking for his views on the Anne Frank Diary.” http://www.fpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/docs/controversies/AnneFrank/Jules150286.html

    [2] Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation, The Diary of Anne Frank: The Critical Edition (New York: Doubleday, 1988), pp. 160-165.