AMSTERDAM (Jul. 28)
Questions raised about the authenticity of a letter written in English by Anne Frank to a pen pal in the United States seemed to have been laid to rest Thursday, when local experts declared it genuine.
The letter is one of two written in April 1940 by Anne, then age 11 and her sister Margot, 14, to Juanita and Betty Ann Wagner of Danville, Iowa. They are dated April 27 and 29, a month before the Nazi invasion of Holland.
The correspondence will be auctioned in New York on Oct. 25 by Swann Galleries, which has vouched for its authenticity.
Some doubts were raised here because English was not taught at the Montessori school Anne Frank attended at the time. But research showed it was taught at the secondary school where Margot was a pupil.
An English teacher at the school initiated the letter writing, and when Margot wrote to Betty Ann, Anne added her own letter to the younger Juanita. It was translated for her into English, which she copied in her own hand.
According to George Lowry, president of Swann Galleries, the letter is the only known sample of Anne Frank’s handwriting in English.
It has been put up for sale by the Wagner sisters. The Anne Frank Foundation here has entered a bid which it considers “reasonable” but was reportedly rejected by the New York auction house.
The eventual price for the correspondence has been estimated from several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars.
Sources here note the renewed interest in the Holocaust in the United States, where two new museums are being built, as the reason for the high price the Frank letters are expected to fetch.