A kindergarten in Germany named in honour of Anne Frank has caused outrage after saying it wants to change its name to something without a “political background”.
The nursery school in Tangerhuette, in Saxony-Anhalt, has been called the ‘Anne Frank Kita’ since 1970.
‘Kita’ is short for ‘Kindertagesstaette’, or ‘daycare centre’.
It’s named after the Jewish schoolgirl whose diary became a heartbreaking document of history after she was caught by the Gestapo hiding in an Amsterdam attic during World War II.
Frank and her family were captured by German Nazis and she died at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945, aged 15.
Anne Frank’s ‘Diary Of A Young Girl’ is one of the most important documents to have emerged from the Holocaust.
But now amid fears of a rise in antisemitic attacks, parents want to rename the kindergarten to ‘Weltentdecker’, or ‘World Explorers’, according to German media.
Parents and teachers at the kindergarten reportedly want a name that is more “child-friendly” and “better suited to the concept”.
And the kindergarten management, says one regional newspaper, wants “something without a political background.”
But the move has infuriated local Jewish leaders, with Max Privorozki, chairman of the State Association of Jewish Communities in Saxony-Anhalt, telling local media: “I am not sure that now is the right moment to change the name of the daycare centre, which has existed for more than 50 years.”
He said that given the state of world affairs, changing the name leaves a “a bad aftertaste”.
It is unclear when the renaming is set to take place, but locals have spoken out against it.
One, named only as Detlef H., 65, said: “I don’t understand the planned renaming.
“They should put the money into renovating the daycare centre, as there is still a lot that needs to be done anyway.”
And OAP Jutta W., 73, said: “As far as I know, this daycare centre has always been called ‘Anne Frank’.
“I am against renaming it. On the one hand, because generations have been in the daycare here and everyone knows and appreciates this name.
“And on the other hand: renaming it – which would only be symbolic anyway – costs money.”
Anne Frank and her family fled from Germany to the Netherlands in 1934 only for Nazi troops to invade Holland in 1939.
Frank and her family found refuge in a secret warehouse attic but were arrested by the Gestapo in 1944 and sent to Auschwitz.
She was then taken to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where she died in February or March 1945 at the age of 15.
Her father Otto ‘Pim’ Frank, the only survivor of the Frank family, returned to Amsterdam after the end of the war and found her diary.
He published it in 1947, fulfilling his late daughter’s desire to become a published author.
The book was translated from Dutch into English in 1952 as The Diary of a Young Girl and has since sold millions of copies and been translated into over 70 languages.