Khmer language translations of “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl,” the famous book written by a young Jewish girl killed in a Nazi German concentration camp during World War II, should be available in Phnom Penh by April, according to Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia.
The book was written by a teenage girl living in hiding with her family in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, the Netherlands. For more than two years, she recorded her thoughts, her interactions with her sister, mother and father, and her constant fear of being discovered.
In 1945, the family was found and Frank was sent to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Nazi Germany, where she became one of 6 million Jews to die in Europe during World War II.
Frank’s diary was published in 1947 and has been studied by many school children in the West.
DC-Cam is also working on a Khmer translation of another memoir of a girl who lived in a time of fear and atrocity, Youk Chhang said.
“First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers,” written in 2000 by Cambodian-American Loung Ung, should be available here by early next year, he said.
The book details the author’s life as a youngster in Pursat province during the Pol Pot regime. Loung Ung’s father, a Lon Nol military police captain, her mother and two of her sisters died under Khmer Rouge rule.
Eventually the author, who was just 5 years old when the Khmer Rouge came to power in April 1975, escaped with her brother to Thailand and migrated to the US.
“Anne Frank is a little girl who witnessed the Holocaust. Luong Ung also was a little girl,” Youk Chhang said. “[The translations] will encourage younger people to learn more about the genocides for which they don’t have first-hand experience.”
DC-Cam plans to print 3,000 copies and distribute them free to local authorities and schools.