Otto wasn’t sure how to handle the manuscript before him. It was immediately after the war, and many people in Europe weren’t that interested in another first-person account of war-time experiences. After all, the market was saturated with them. Everyone from generals to privates had his story to tell. Here was yet another tale, in the form of a journal, that most people, he surmised, would probably not find interesting.
Otto thought that the account would probably be best sent to the author’s family and acquaintances, the type of thing that should be published privately since it was likely that only the family would be interested in the contents. In fact, as Otto began to read through it, there were a lot of personal references to family members, references that he thought might be even too personal. The work was clearly that of an amateur even if it was honest and pulled no punches.
Yet, the task of editing the manuscript had fallen to him. Work had been hard to come by after the war for Otto, so he was glad to have the distraction. Like many in Europe, Otto had also seen difficult times during the war, but he was ready to start a new chapter in his life. And then this manuscript came across his desk. The intermediary who sent the work to Otto was Dutch, and he knew that Otto had lived in Amsterdam for part of the war. In fact, the work was written in Amsterdam. So, at least, Otto had that connection to it.
But there was something else, something that began to touch Otto deeply. As Otto read more and more of the work, he felt that the words on the pages brought him closer to the author. As unpolished as the writer was, Otto felt a kinship to the author as he read, a bond that eventually brought him to tears. By the time he finished reading it, the manuscript had moved the editor unlike any thing he had ever read before. He was now determined to publish it, and he felt strongly that it was a story that should be told.
Of course, it makes sense that Otto would feel a relationship to the writer. She was, after all, his daughter. And so, Otto Frank edited his daughters’s journal.
You know it as The Diary of Anne Frank.