NEW YORK (JTA) — The family of Anne Frank is accusing a British author for exploiting the famed diarist’s relationship with Peter van Pels for her new novel.
In "Annexed," Sharon Dogar created a set of diaries from Peter’s perspective detailing his time in the building with the teenage Anne, as well as his subsequent time and death in a concentration camp. Dogar elaborates on the the experiences between Peter and Anne in the novel on the basis that she “is in no doubt that they were in love.”
Her portrayal of their encounters spurred Anne’s family and others involved with preserving her name and story to speak out against Dogar.
“Anne was not the child she is in this book,” said Bernhard “Buddy” Elias, Anne’s cousin and head of the memorial foundation Anne Frank-Fonds in Basel, Switzerland. “I also do not think that their terrible destiny should be used to invent some fictitious story.”
The Anne Frank Trust’s co-founder, Gillian Walnes, is among those who criticized Dogar’s decision to write about Anne and Peter, who was three years older than Anne.
“Fictionalization is totally unnecessary, and in fact sensationalist,” she said, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Dogar’s representatives, however, maintain the opposite.
“It is categorically not an attempt to ‘sex up’ her incredibly important story,” a spokesperson for Andersen Press told the Jerusalem Post. “Sharon is very aware of the enduring importance that Anne’s account has for generations both past, present and future.”