Ancient Motifs in Anne Frank’s Diary by Ari Folman and David Polonsky

On March 22, 2023, we were most pleased to host a special guest at Our Mythical Childhood Seminar at the Faculty of “Artes Liberales”, University of Warsaw: Dr habil. Karoline Thaidigsmann from the Slavic Institute at the University of Heidelberg. Karoline’s research interests comprise inter alia Gulag literature, children’s and YA literature, and Slavic contemporary authors. Her “Habilitationsschrift” was dedicated to the poetics of shifting borders, Poetik der Grenzverschiebung. Kinderliterarische Muster, Crosswriting und kulturelles Selbstverständnis in der polnischen Literatur nach 1989 (Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2022).

Cover of the book by Karoline Thaidigsmann, Poetik der Grenzverschiebung. Kinderliterarische Muster, Crosswriting und kulturelles Selbstverständnis in der polnischen Literatur nach 1989, Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2022.

At the OMC Seminar, she spoke about an adaptation of Anne Frank’s Diary into a graphic novel by Ari Folman with illustrations by David Polonsky. It brings Anne Frank’s legacy closer to contemporary readers and opens it to new audiences.

Anne Frank, Dziennik : (oficyna) : 12 czerwca 1942 – 1 sierpnia 1944, ed. Otto Frank and Mirjam Pressler, trans. Alicja Dehue-Oczko, Kraków: Wydawnictwo Znak, 2006 – photo by Katarzyna Marciniak, due to Krzysztof Rybak’s courtesy.
Dutch and Polish editions of Ari Folman’s and David Polonsky’s graphic adaptation of Anne Frank’s Diary – photo by Katarzyna Marciniak, due to Krzysztof Rybak’s courtesy.

The lecture was followed by a Q&A session, and a discussion of impressions and details of the adaptation that speak best to young audiences. The students were able to compare original fragments of the Diary with corresponding passages in the graphic novel to better grasp how the text was adapted, as well as to discuss whether they liked or not what was done and how effective and justifiable the adaptation was in rendering Anne’s personality more vivid for a contemporary readership and at the same time remaining true to the legacy of the Diary.

Karoline Thaidigsmann giving lecture on Anne Frank’s Diary to students of the Faculty of “Artes Liberales”, University of Warsaw – photo by Katarzyna Marciniak.

Our outstanding guest also shed new light on the use of ancient motifs in the graphic novel, and how they were anchored in the original contents of the Diary.

Thank you, Karoline! Looking forward to your next visit!


Bibliographical data on the graphic novel and some of its translations:

Dutch: Ari Folman and David Polonsky, Het Achterhuis graphic novel, Amsterdam: Prometheus, 2017.

English: Ari Folman and David Polonsky, Anne Frank’s Diary. The Graphic Adaptation, [London]: Penguin Books, 2017.

French: Le Journal d’Anne Frank. Roman graphique, trans. Claire Desserrey, Isabelle Rosselin, and Philippe Noble, Paris: Calmann-Levy, 2017.

German: Das Tagebuch der Anne Frank, trans. Klaus Timmermann and Ulrike Wasel, Berlin: S. Fischer, 2017.

Hebrew: אנה פרנק : היומן הגרפי [Anah Franḳ: ha-yoman ha-grafi], trans. and ed. Michal Paz-Klapp, trans. Ḳarlah Perlshṭain, Kineret: Zemorah-Bitan, 2017.

Italian: Anne Frank. Diario, trans. Laura Pignatti, Elisabetta Spediacci, Torino: Einaudi, 2017.

Spanish: El diario de Anne Frank. Adaptación gráfica, trans. Diego J. Puls and Neus Neuno Cobas, Nueva York, NY: Vintage Español (Penguin Random House LLC), 2017.

Danish: Anne Franks dagbog. Graphic diary, trans. Tove Dueholm Nielsen, [Kbh.]: Lindhardt og Ringhof, 2019.

Polish: Dziennik Anne Frank. Powieść graficzna, trans. Kamil Budziarz, Katowice: Stapis, 2019.

Russian: Дневник Анны Франк. графическая версия [Dnevnik Anny Frank: graficheskai︠a︡ versii︠a︡], trans. Мария Скаф, C. Белокриницкая, M. Новикова, Moskva: Mann, Ivanov I Ferber, 2019.

Chinese: 安妮日记 : 漫画版 [An’ni ri ji: man hua ban], trans. Yuchan Lü and Yihui Ye, Zhangsha [Changsha]: Hu nan wen yi chu ban she, 2020.

Post by Marta Pszczolińska, proof-read by Elżbieta Olechowska, placed by Olga Strycharczyk