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Dutch Institute to Examine Authenticity of Frank Letters

July 26, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The authenticity of two letters and a postcard allegedly written in April 1940 by Anne Frank and her sister, Margot, to pen pals in Danville, Iowa, will be examined by the Netherlands State Institute for Documentation on the Second World War and by the Netherlands Research Institute in The Hague.

The letters are scheduled to be auctioned by the Swann Galleries in New York Oct. 25.

According to George Lowry, president of Swann Galleries, the letters already have been authenticated by the Anne Frank Foundation in Amsterdam.

The recipients, who have put them up for sale, are Juanita and Betty Ann Wagner of Danville. Like the Frank sisters, they attended a Montessori school. The correspondence was initiated by an American teacher who visited Europe the summer before World War II.

The fact that the Frank letters were written in English has raised questions here. It was pointed out that until the war, English was not taught in Dutch elementary schools.

Dutch pupils corresponding in that language would have to have their letters translated by a person literate in English and then copy the translation.

This could hardly have been done without mistakes, which are missing from the Frank letters, sources here pointed out.

According to Lowry, the Frank sisters’ letters were translated by their father from Dutch and copied by them in English. They are the only known samples of Anne Frank’s handwriting in English, he said.

Anne was II at the time and Margot 14. Their letters, dated April 27 and 29, 1940, were lighthearted, without premonition of the tragedy about to befall Holland and the Frank family.

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