For years, internet users have shared a fake quote that was attributed to Anne Frank that said, “Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.”
Websites, Books, and Social Media
We also found a seemingly endless wall of quote memes on Google Images:
According to Google Books, the quote has been printed and attributed to Frank in numerous works, the first of which appeared to be published no earlier than 2013. This would be a red flag in the case of any purported decades-old quote.
In 2018, “Harry Potter” author J. K. Rowling tweeted the fake Frank candle quote:
The official Twitter account for the country of Israel once tweeted it:
This fact check does not serve to fault any of the institutions that are dedicated to educating the world about Frank’s life and the history of the Holocaust. Rather, perhaps the debunking of fake quotes such as this one could potentially inspire readers to share more of the genuine passages from her writing.
How We Confirmed It’s Fake
Anne Frank Fonds is a foundation that was started by Anne’s father, Otto Frank. Before his death in 1980, he designated it as his “universal heir and legal successor.”
A spokesperson for the foundation confirmed to us that the candle quote was fake and that there was no record of Frank ever having said the words, “Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.” We also did not find any trace of the quote in Frank’s works, nor did we find if it had been misattributed from a different author.
The spokesperson said that fake quotes are “an ongoing battle” and that “new false quotes tend to pop up every so often.”
We previously debunked another fake Frank quote that read, “Dead people receive more flowers than the living ones because regret is stronger than gratitude.” There’s no evidence that she ever said these words.
Sources:“Anne Frank | Biography, Age, Death, & Facts.” Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Anne-Frank.Eldridge, Barbara. Anne Frank Fonds (Email). 26 Oct. 2021.“History of the Foundation.” Anne Frank Fonds, https://www.annefrank.ch/en/fonds/history.“Holocaust | Definition, Concentration Camps, History, & Facts.” Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/event/Holocaust.“The Diary.” AnneFrank.org, https://www.annefrank.org/en/anne-frank/diary/. Accessed 14 Jan. 2022.