But there are two museums using Anne Frank's legacy as a political tool to advance their agendas: The Anne Frank Museum (also called the Anne Frank House), run by the Anne Frank Foundation, and the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect on 6th Avenue in New York City. This article seeks to briefly clarify what is taking place at these respective museums as it relates to the legacy of Anne Frank and the promotion of values that are central to Judaism.
INDEX/TABLE OF CONTENTS:
2. The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect (NY)
3. The Anne Frank Museum (Holland)
4. Works Cited
Within the category of Nazi victims, no one is more in the foreground of world imagination than Anne Frank. If people have read just one book about the Holocaust, it is The Diary, which has been translated into sixty languages and published more than 25,000,000 copies.
The Franks' famous house on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam, where the Frank family was hidden in a secret annex and where they were arrested in 1944, is the most frequently visited memory site in Europe (more than Auschwitz) and has had a major impact on how millions of people view Anne Frank.
The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect
The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, based in New York, used to be called Anne Frank Center USA. They changed their mission in 2016 and installed gay rights activist Steven Goldstein as President of the organization. Their mission is to "address civil and human rights across America". The mission section of their website falsely claims that Otto Frank was the founder of the organization. According to an investigation from Emma Green of The Atlantic, "The organization's own historical documentation and people who were part of its founding say it was actually started in 1977, and Otto Frank had no direct involvement." Green looks at historic sources and documents and concludes that the Center in New York using Anne's name has no genuine connections to either Anne Frank or her father Otto Frank.
The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect takes their mission a step further: to quote from their website, "As a Jewish voice for social justice, Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect is dedicated to Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. For us, that means advocating on behalf of all communities ... We fight hatred of refugees and immigrants, Antisemitism, sexism, racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, bias against the differently abled and any other hate that runs counter to American promise of freedom."
Continues Green, "The Jewish world is full of organizations that advocate against antisemitism and discrimination ... [but they all] have clear frameworks for defining and combating antisemitism." The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect has a staff of just nine people and does not make clear distinctions when making accusations about antisemitism. Concludes The Atlantic, "Ultimately, by politicizing Anne Frank, the group may undermine her legacy."
Comments Alan Dershowitz, the emeritus Harvard law professor, "[Steven] Goldstein is making over-the-top, irresponsible, exaggerated statements designed to bring him publicity." Concludes Rolf Wolfswinkel, a scholar on Anne Frank, "To believe that Anne Frank is a sort of Mother Teresa, or a universal symbol of tolerance and goodness -- I don't see it in the diary." Dershowitz concludes, "There's a great effort to destroy the legacy of Anne Frank. That's part of Holocaust denial. Inadvertently or inadvertently, this guy [Steven Goldstein] contributes to harming the true Anne Frank legacy and heritage."
Over the last year and a half or so, all of the former employees of The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect -- who mostly had backgrounds in museum work -- have left or been fired. Yvonne Simons, the former executive director, says, "The board of directors choose a different path for the Anne Frank Center and changed its mission after my 10-year tenure." Several longtime board members also have left the board.
Shortly after Goldstein came on, the organization disbanded a long-standing advisory committee of Holocaust scholars, of which Wolfswinkel was part. The center has opened a new office in Manhattan and Los Angeles and hired staff with backgrounds in social-justice organizing. Concludes Emma Green, "Because it talks a big game and wields the name of Anne Frank, the media has awarded The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect authority it never earned."
It is truly a shame that Anne Frank's legacy is being politicized, and that people like Steven Goldstein are able to profit off of Anne Frank's suffering.
The Anne Frank Museum
Although not affiliated with the museum in New York discussed immediately above, the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands is now a place filled with rampant antisemitism. Anne Frank has been sanitized and is now only incidentally, a Jew and has been transformed by the museum into a prop for gay, immigration, and Muslim rights.
Some examples from Italian historian Giulio Meotti, an expert on the Holocaust, about how the Anne Frank Museum is politicizing Anne herself:
-- In a 2013 report on xenophobia and racism written by the Anne Frank Foundation, the Arabs' conflict against Israel was presented using the Palestinian narrative: "There's a balance between the random suicide attacks by the Palestinians and the fact that Israel isn't worried about civilian casualties and collective punishment. Israel pushes Palestinians economically in a corner and humiliates them psychologically".
-- In 2004, the Anne Frank Foundation used a photo of former MP Ariel Sharon alongside one of Adolf Hitler in a public exhibit at the museum. The photos were presented as part of an exhibition on "borderline cases" aimed at testing the borders between freedom of expression and discrimination. Viewers were shown a video in which demonstrators held a poster of Hitler and Ariel Sharon in protest over "Israel's policies in the Palestinian territories".
-- In 2012, the German EVZ Foundation financed two high school student programs promoting Israel-bashing. In one program, Dutch anti-Israeli activist Hajo Meyer (now deceased) came to the Anne Frank High School in Gutersloh and equated Palestinian Arab suffering with Anne Frank and termed Israel a "criminal state." Then a Dutch public broadcasting network offered its viewers a board game featuring Israeli "settlers" who use 'the Anne Frank card' to "colonize the West Bank".
-- In 2018, The Anne Frank Fund (AFF) and New Israel Fund (NIF) signed a partnership agreement whereby the Anne Frank Foundation will make new grants to organizations supported by NIF. The New York-based NIF has provided more than $300 million to more than 900 organizations, including the pro-BDS Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), Adalah, and 972 Magazine; the pro-Intifada groups Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) and Yesh Din; and the generally anti-Israel groups Breaking the Silence, Molad, B'Tselem, Emek Shave, Gisha, HaMoked, Ir Amim, Mossawa, Machsom Watch, Rabbis for Human Rights, and SISO- Stop the Israeli Occupation and many others. Since 2011, the Anne Frank Foundation has been under the leadership of Ronald Leopold, whose stated goal has been to universalize Anne's experience, removing it from the context of Jewish persecution and making it about all shades of human suffering.
"The Anne Frank Museum ... is the most visited Holocaust memory site in Europe. The museum ... is run by the Anne Frank Foundation which apparently sees its goal not just to combat antisemitism, but also to propagate equal rights, a pluriform society and active citizenship as a defense against prejudice, exclusion and extremism," according to Peter Martino at the Gatestone Institute.
The latter three objectives have completely subverted the former: The Anne Frank Foundation is pro-Palestinian and a vociferous critic of Dutch politicians who are critical of Islam and defenders of Israel. The Foundation has also warned that "Islamophobia" and "negative opinions" about Muslims are growing in the Netherlands, contrary to the facts.
In 2013, the Anne Frank Fonds, based in Basel, Switzerland, sued the Amsterdam-based Anne Frank House for the immediate return of 10,000 documents and photographs linked to Anne and her father Otto. The foundation, which manages the copyrights of Anne's diary, had lent the documents in 2007 to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. In its ruling, the court found the Fonds, which Mr. Frank designated as his universal heir, to be the rightful owner of the entire collection and within its rights to demand the archives' return.
Yves Kugelmann concludes, "The Anne Frank House and Foundation "don't have legitimacy. They don't have connections to the family. They are not the heir."
Anne's universalism has been intentionally emphasized by the Museum and Foundation in order to play down any threat of Jewish particularism, according to Meotti: Now the tragic diarist who died in Bergen-Belsen among Jewish inmates can inspire not just Jews, but also antisemitic groups assisting in plots to murder Jews.
The result is that the public is now completely desensitized to the unique catastrophe that was the destruction of European Jewry.
Anne Frank is not for politics. Anne Frank is for education.
- "Who Does the Anne Frank Center Represent?" by Emma Green. The Atlantic. 2017. Online.
- "A Legal Defeat for Anne Frank House" by Scott Sayre. New York Times. 2013. Online.
- "Close the Anne Frank Museum" by Geulio Meotti. Arutz Sheva. 2013. Online.
- "Holocaust Remembrance: New Tool for Anti-Semitism?" by Peter Marino. Gatestone Institute. 2013. Online.
- "Anne Frank Foundation to Support BDS" by David Israel. Jewish Press. Online. 2018.