'French Anne Frank' Diaries a Hit

Account of life in Nazi-occupied Paris only now available
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2008 2:49 PM CST
In this photo released by the Shoah Memorial and the Job Collection on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008, a page from Helene Berr's diary is seen. The secret diary of Helene Berr, a young Jewish woman recounting...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Often called France’s Anne Frank, Helene Berr was a young Jewish student living in Nazi-occupied Paris who, like Frank, kept a diary detailing the journey from her privileged life to the reality of her fate. Just published for the first time, the diary has become a literary phenomenon, selling 26,000 copies in France in its first three days of release, Der Spiegel reports.

Though both died of typhus a month apart in the same concentration camp, there are differences in the diaries. While Frank’s details her attempts to hide from the Nazis in Amsterdam, Berr’s is a more literary account of her everyday life. In her last entry, upon learning of the concentration camp system, the literature student until the end closes with a quote from Heart of Darkness: "Horror! Horror! Horror!"