Would Anne Frank Have Been a Belieber? An Investigation

Anne Frank’s bedroom walls. (Courtesy Cris Toala Olivares/©Anne Frank House) Photo: Cris Toala Olivares/?Anne Frank House

Justin Bieber caused a stir over the weekend for writing, in the guestbook at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, that “hopefully Anne would have been a belieber.” Bieber’s nasrcissism has been widely condemned, but was he right? In other words, if there existed some World War II–era equivalent of Bieber Fever — legions of girls fawning over a worldwide teenage pop star — would Frank have counted herself among the devotees? Based on the evidence, it’s unlikely, but not impossible.

We know Frank was a fan of pop culture. A wall in her hideout bedroom was covered in photographs, including those of actresses Norma Shearer, Greta Garbo, and Ginger Rogers, as well as, more relevant, the Lane Sisters, a group of sibling singer-actresses.

Frank’s interest in the Lane Sister may point to a predilection for Bieberism. However, in her diary, Frank appeared more interested in other forms of entertainment (emphasis ours):

My other hobbies are movie stars and family photographs. I’m crazy about reading and books. I adore the history of the arts, especially when it concerns writers, poets and painters; musicians may come later. I loathe algebra, geometry and arithmetic. I enjoy all my other school subjects, but history’s my favorite!

Furthermore, in an entry the next day, Frank did express an interest in music, but perhaps not the kind that forties Bieber would have performed:

I especially enjoyed the Kleine Nachtmusik. I can hardly bear to listen in the kitchen, since beautiful music stirs me to the very depths of my soul.

Frank’s cultural sensibilities lead us to conclude that, ultimately, she would have eschewed lowbrow pop music like Bieber’s in favor of Mozart and the like. But is it possible that time-traveling Bieber would have found a fan in Frank? Sure, it’s possible. Don’t stop beliebing, Bieber.

Would Anne Frank Have Been a Belieber?