On June 12, 1942, Anne Frank received a diary for her 13th birthday. She died within a few years in a Nazi concentration camp, but her diary was published and became a beloved read of people the world over.
LIFE magazine has released a new special edition, Anne Frank: The Diary at 70, and an excerpt has been published on TIME magazine’s website.
Only two years had passed since the end of the war, but for many the book by the 15-year-old who had written that she still believed that “people are truly good at heart” already proved useful as a way to personalize the Holocaust. “Not only do you have a name and a face and a person in the case of Anne Frank, but you have a very well written diary. It is captivating,” Professor Deborah Lipstadt, author of Denying the Holocaust, tells LIFE. “She is a good writer and she knows how to express herself. She is expressing herself in something she doesn’t even know will see the light of day.”
Click on the link above for the full excerpt.