In March of 1942, just a few months before Anne Frank and her family were detained by the SS in Amsterdam, she wrote an “encouraging” note in the form of a poem to her friend Christiane, or “Cri-Cri.” The first four lines “might have come from a 1930s Dutch periodical,” reported The New York Times, but the last four lines are likely Frank’s own. They go:
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.
The seller is Anne’s former school friend, Jacqueline van Maarsen, and the poem was written to her older sister, who died in 2006. It was written by Anne, who died in Bergen-Belsen in 1945, as “encouragement.”
Said van Maarsen, now 87: “My sister didn’t really like the poem very much because Anne was very critical of her, because she left school early, whereas Anne was busy all the time. She gave it to me because she knew I was collecting Anne’s things. I would never sell the verse that Anne addressed to me. But as my sister was not attached to hers, I decided to sell it.”
The auction house Bubb Kuyper had set a minimum price of $32,000.
Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.