Anne Frank poem fetches over $200,000 at Dutch auction

A poem handwritten by Anne Frank to a friend in 1942 has sold for US$147,000 (S$210,617) at an auction in the Netherlands on Wednesday.
The rare handwritten poem (above) by Anne Frank was penned shortly before she went into hiding from the nazis.
The rare handwritten poem (above) by Anne Frank was penned shortly before she went into hiding from the nazis.PHOTO: EPA

HAARLEM, Netherlands (AFP) - A very rare handwritten poem by Jewish diarist Anne Frank was sold for €140,000 (S$210,000) to an unnamed online bidder on Wednesday (Nov 23), fetching almost three times its reserve price.

Auctioneers closed the sale after just two minutes of tense bidding at the Bubb Kuyper auction house in the western Dutch city of Haarlem.

Around 20 collectors took their seats in a sales room decorated with antique books, maps and illustrations while others bid by telephone and online.

The reserve price was set at €30,000.

"Over the last 40 years, only four or five documents signed by the teenager have gone under the hammer," Bubb Kuyper co-director Thys Blankevoort said.

"I am pleasantly surprised. I wasn't expecting 140,000," he told AFP after the sale.

"It indicates the emotion with which people buy (these pieces) and the symbol that Anne Frank was," he said.

Dedicated to "Dear Cri-cri," the poem, written in Dutch in black ink on a notebook-size piece of white paper which has slightly discoloured with age, is signed "in memory, from Anne Frank."

The final four lines read: "Others have criticised you for what thou hast done wrong, make sure that you make it better, that's the answer".

Frank wrote the 12-line text, dated March 28, 1942, in a friendship book belonging to the older sister of her best friend only three months before she and her family went into hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam.

"My sister, named Cri-cri, tore this page from the booklet and gave it to me in 1970," said a statement by Frank's best friend, Jacqueline van Maarsen, read by Blankevoort.

"I know that my sister was not as attached to this verse from Anne to her... and that is the reason that I'm putting it up for sale," Van Maarsen said.

"My mother will do something good with the money in the spirit of Anne Frank," her son Maarten Sanders, who attended the auction, told AFP.

The Diary Of A Young Girl, which Frank penned while in hiding from June 1942 to August 1944 has sold more than 30 million copies in 67 languages.

She died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany in early 1945, aged 15, less than a year after the Nazis captured her and just before the end of World War II.

A series of letters between Anne and her sister Margot with American penpals sold for US$165,000 in 1988. And a 1925 edition of Grimm's fairy tales, with both girls' names written on the title page, went for US$62,500 in May in a New York auction - fetching twice the estimated price.