A new novel that tells the fictional story of a steamy affair between Anne Frank and one of her neighbors has drawn the ire of the young Holocaust victim's cousin.
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"Annexed," written by popular British author Sharon Dogar, is a fictional diary belonging to Peter van Pels, the young boy who lived in the same apartment building as the Frank family while they were hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, Frank's first cousin, Buddy Elias, criticized Dogar for what he considers an inaccurate portrait of the two teens.
"Anne was not the child she is in this book," Elias said. "I also do not think that their terrible destiny should be used to invent some fictitious story."
Elias told the London paper he had heard Frank's father, Otto Frank, discuss his daughter's relationship with Peter. Otto, who died in 1980, is believed by many to have removed passages from his daughter's diary that he considered too revealing.
"From what Otto told me about Peter, he was very shy but in this book he is given a character he did not possess," Elias told the Sunday Times.
Elias, who lives in Switzerland, said he had read a draft of Dogar's book, which was published by Houghton Mifflin.
According to Dogar, the book includes explicit and intimate details about the two, although a scene in which Anne Frank and van Pels consummate their relationship was ultimately omitted.
Frank wrote her famous diaries between 1942 and 1944. She died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945.
In the book, Peter continues writing entries in his diary even after his hiding spot was discovered and he was transferred to Auschwitz and then Mauthausen, where he died just before the end of World War II.
Otto Frank returned to Amsterdam after the Holocaust, where he recovered his daughter's diaries. They were published in 1947 and translated into many languages. Millions of copies have been sold worldwide.