Updated: Sep 6
Anne Frank’s diary is famous for its descriptions of her family’s experiences hiding from the Nazis in a secret annexe during World War II.
Less well-known are the series of seven mandala drawings that Anne completed as part of her sixth grade studies at the Montessorischool she attended in Amsterdam. Drawn with a compass and coloured in pencil, they show Anne's name and the date - 17th May 1941 - written at the bottom in her handwriting.
With the bombing of Rotterdam, and the German invasion of the Netherlands in 1940, I always look at the mandala drawings and wonder whether Anne thought about any of this as she was drawing them. Or perhaps creating and colouring the mandalas was a blissful escape from what was unfolding around her.
We'll never know. Anne didn't receive her diary until 1942, as a gift for her thirteenth birthday, and by then I expect that the mandalas were far from her mind. Translated into fifty languages, more than 80 years on the diary remains one of the world's most popular books, adored by adults and children alike.
Mandala drawn with coloured pencils. Drawing by Anne Frank (1941)
via The Anne Frank House