The Diary of a Young Girl

Frank, Anne

Bantam, 1993

pp. 134 - 135

Anne Frank generously accommodates the newcomer Dr. Dussel (he’s a middle-aged dentist) in her room in the Annex, but he proves to be patronizing and imperialistic. He takes over the little table in their room so that Anne can’t get at it to work and write. She asks him politely whether she may have 2/3 of the afternoons (instead of every afternoon), giving him mornings, and he simply refuses. “No,” he says. “I have to work in the afternoons or there is no time left for me at all . . . Anyway, you don’t work seriously at anything . . . I am at the table and shall stay there.” Irony: of course one of the things Anne was working at was her Diary, later to be famous across the world. Dussel escaped well-deserved oblivion just by being preserved as a disagreeable, patronizing man in Anne’s Diary. “Anyhow, you don’t work seriously at anything.”