French MP, Academic to Publish Anne Frank Diary Online Despite Bid to Extend Copyright

A Swiss foundation seeks to add Frank's father, Otto, as a co-author, which would extend the copyright to 2050.

Anne Frank, who lived in the Netherlands during WWII, in 1941.
Anne Frank, who lived in the Netherlands during WWII, in 1941. AP

A French member of parliament and an academic are challenging the attempt to extend the copyright on "The Diary of Anne Frank."

About a year ago, the Anne Frank Fonds, a Swiss foundation that holds the right, announced its intention to add Anne’s father Otto as a co-author, which would extend the right to 70 years after his death in 1980. The U.S. copyright lasts until 2047, 95 years after the book was originally published.

The foundation recently issued another statement reiterating its controversial claim that Otto Frank did more than just edit the diary.

But French MP Isabelle Attard and an Olivier Ertzscheid, a lecturer at the University of Nantes, have said they are both still going through with their plans to publish the original Dutch text online on January 1, The Guardian reported Wednesday.

Attard said she is prepared to go to court to defend her plan. “Many revisionists, people who want to deny the extermination camps existed, have tried to attack the diary for years. Saying now the book wasn’t written by Anne alone is weakening the weight it has had for decades, as a testimony to the horrors of this war,” a spokesperson for Attard told the Guradian.  “She lost her grandparents in Nazi camps, she had uncles who were hidden like Anne Frank was – for her it is a very touchy subject, and she wanted to react and not to let the Anne Frank Fonds use its interpretation of the law.”

Ertzscheid, the lecturer,  published a French translation of the diaries illegally this year, and was asked to take it down by its French publisher, according to the Guardian. The academic now wants to produce a new, free French translation.

“All the arguments of the Anne Frank Fonds are false and legally inaccurate. Otto Frank cannot be considered a ‘co-author’ of the text,” Ertzscheid told the Guardian.

After nearly two years of hiding in Amsterdam, the Franks were deported by the Nazis in 1944. Anne and her sister died at Bergen-Belsen in early 1945, while their mother died at Auschwitz. Anne was 15.