Voices Against Indifference Initiative

An Evening with Barbara Mooyaart-Doubleday

April 2001


Barbara Mary Doubleday was born in the County of Kent, England on March 11, 1919, shortly after the end of World War I.  The youngest of four children, she grew up largely during a time of peace.  Her mother’s love of poetry and literature greatly influenced her education.  Barbara attended the Bevendon School for Girls in County Kent, England, and later, a private school in French Switzerland.  During Barbara’s teens, her life became deeply affected by the onset of World War II.  Her father, who had been badly injured during World War I, remained in County Kent to attend to the land, which was under constant bombardment by the Luftwaffe, and hence, had been abandoned by many landowners and managers.  Meanwhile, her brothers joined the armed forces.  Following the war, she married Dutchman, Edward Mooyaart and moved to the Netherlands.  Already proficient in French, Mrs. Mooyaart quickly learned Dutch as well, which made her a natural choice to translate Anne Frank’s A Diary of a Young Girl.  Mrs. Mooyaart earned the honor of translating the diary over many highly experienced professional translators after submitting a sample translation to the publisher.

The diary, which was written by Anne Frank, probably the most well-known teenage victim of the Holocaust, tells the poignant story of a young Jewish girl, coming of age during the war.  Frank, who wrote the diary during the two years which her family spent in hiding in the attic of her father’s office building, had rewritten the diary at the end of the hiding period with the hopes of publishing it after the war.  She died at the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp in March 1945, only a few weeks before the liberation.  The Secret Annex, titled by Anne herself, was first published in June 1947 in the Netherlands.  The first English edition, translated by Mrs. Mooyaart and published in 1952, has since been used as the primary source in translating the diary into over 50 languages.