The Diary of Anne Frank, required reading for many middle-schoolers since its publication in 1947, was recently flagged for plagiarism, a discovery credited to 12-year old student Hanne Flüvke, who ran the book through an online plagiarism checker.
Through a translator Flüvke said, “We had to write a paper on Anne Frank and how she would be today in society. ‘Would she use Facebook and texting?’ my teacher asked, so I was checking my paper to make sure I wasn’t copying anything another person wrote.”
“Suddenly I became not very happy,” said Flüvke. “I started my report with Justin Bieber when he said he thought Anne Frank would be a ‘Belieber’ and my grandmother said, ‘Remember when I used to read you The Diary of Anne Frank every night when you were just a little girl before I could not see anymore?’” Hanne dug back through her closet and found the well-worn copy of the book her grandmother had read to her as a bedtime story years before.
On a fluke, Flüvke entered passages from Diary into an online copycat detector and found that nearly every passage was flagged for plagiarism. “Everything I entered from my grandmother’s copy of The Diary of Anne Frank showed up as a copy from another book called The Diary of a Young Girl, also published in 1947. I didn’t know which one was the real one, so I called my local newspaper to help me find out.”
“The little child was right!” said Johannes Bleek, editor of Amsterdam’s Daily Chronicler. “Everything matched. I don’t know how people could have overlooked such a thing as this before! Perhaps they let it go since the story was so sad about the little girl.”
The Supreme Court of the Netherlands (Hoge Raad der Nederlanden) ruled last week that The Diary of Anne Frank was indeed directly sourced – without credit – from The Diary of A Young Girl, and that proper royalty payments owed to the Frank family would have to be recalculated. The Court also ruled that any unauthorized use of the former book would make violators liable for prosecution under international law.
“I didn’t want to start any troubles,” said Flüvke. “I just wanted to write a paper, so now I don’t know what to do. Maybe I’ll write about Justin Bieber if I made believe he was locked up in the attic and I rescued him, which I hope never happens to him someday because I want to marry him.”
Bleek published an editorial urging citizens to burn unauthorized copies of The Diary of Anne Frank in the town square. The date of the public book burning will be set after the editor secures the necessary public fire department permits.