Five years ago, I reported that the Left was erasing Anne Frank’s Jewishness. Since then, the Left has begun using her to support Israel’s destruction.
This is a post that started back in 2013, when I visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam for the first time in 23 years. Although I was impressed by the way in which the museum had been remodeled to make traffic flow more easily, I was distressed by the fact that the exclusively Jewish nature of Anne’s martyrdom (for that was what it was) was almost invisible.
The museum consistently downplayed the fact that Anne wasn’t killed by random “hate.” Instead, she was killed very specifically because of the oldest, and extremely targeted, hatred — antisemitism. This is what I wrote in 2013:
The museum around the house focuses in tightly on Anne, her family, and her friends. It makes the Holocaust very personal but, by doing so, fails utterly to educate people about the Holocaust or fascism.
At the end of the museum, there’s a room with very short videos, many of which are about special interest demands against a greater European culture that is not bowing to their dressing, immigration, or marriage requirements. The videos begin by focusing on a fictional young person with needs, and then, having personalized that need, gives a brief, shallow, fairly even-handed look at the issue, whether it’s veils in schools, forcing Christian civil servants to perform gay marriages, or allowing people to serve in the military while wearing religious garb.
Having started each video with the personalization, everyone knows what they’re supposed to think. None of the videos delves into the deeper issues. For example, are the veil-wearing girls embracing Dutch culture, or undermining it? (E.g., are they fifth columnists, like Maj. Hasan, or multicultural patriots?) If the veil is a symbol of religious faith, that’s one thing. If it represents the thin edge if the wedge for sharia, it’s another. By simplifying and personalizing the matter, the Anne Frank museum manages to say that a country’s desire to protect certain laudable institutions against a self-professed form of religious fascism is tantamount to Nazis killing Anne Frank.
I watched about ten or twelve videos, and the only nod to antisemitism was in the video about Holocaust Denial on YouTube.
As I said, the de-judaization was five years ago. In just the last year, the Left has gone from erasing Anne’s Jewishness to using her image and memory to advance explicitly antisemitic, genocidal goals. And no,I’m not kidding.
A little over a year ago, I learned about the Marxist takeover of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect in New York, which Anne Frank’s father, Otto, founded in 1959. It’s an extremely long post, which I think is worth reading in its entirety, but I’ll quote it only selectively here:
It turns out that, a few years ago, the Anne Frank Center deviated from its Holocaust mission and has turned into a social justice institution focused on intersectionality, , with an Executive Director who made a name for himself as a hardcore social justice warrior:
June 14, 2016 — The Anne Frank Center USA has renamed itself the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, and has named civil rights leader Steven Goldstein to be its new Executive Director. The new name, and Goldstein himself, make their debut at the organization’s 20th annual gala on Tuesday, June 14 at the New York Academy of Medicine.
With Goldstein’s hiring, the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect not only adopts a new name, but also a wider mission. To date, the organization has focused largely on the history of Anne Frank and the Holocaust, with forays into addressing contemporary prejudice and discrimination. Now the organization, reflecting the Mutual Respect in its new name, will significantly broaden its work on contemporary issues to become a national leader in exposing and fighting hate.
“As we work to make the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect a national powerhouse in fighting the hate that exists in our world today,” Goldstein said, “we will teach the stories of the tragic past, including Anne Frank’s. That’s how we’ll make the Holocaust more relevant to young people in every generation ahead.”
And what about that “Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect”? Let’s just say that its home page suggests that it’s moved away from its mission of Holocaust remembrance and is now just another Progressive social advocacy organization hiding behind the martyred Anne’s skirts:
That’s a great picture, isn’t it? In the front, you have Jewish Anne Frank next to crying Muslim children. In the background are the children’s screaming mothers in their hijabs. Interestingly, both mothers and children come from countries that have (a) driven out their Jews, (b) seek to destroy Israel, and (c) strongly advocate Jewish genocide.
Under Goldstein’s aegis, this center, which used to be about the Holocaust, now has this as its mission:
Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, the U.S. national organization in the worldwide network of Anne Frank organizations, addresses civil and human rights across America. Through educational programs and grassroots organizing, the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect calls out prejudice, counters discrimination and advocates for the kinder and fairer world of which Anne Frank dreamed.
Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect is a progressive voice for social justice, fighting hatred of refugees and immigrants, anti-Semitism, sexism, racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, bias against the differently abled and any other hate that runs counter to American promise of freedom. In addressing the civil and human rights issues of today, the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect has developed contemporary advocacy techniques that incorporate historic lessons from Anne Frank’s life and the Holocaust. By applying those historic lessons to current issues, the organization works to make the Holocaust relevant to successive generations of Americans.
What a stirring cri de coeur! Every trans person who’s ever heard the wrong pronoun is as much a victim as Anne Frank was. Every woman who’s been trapped on a subway seat by a man engaged in mansplaining or manspreading feels the pain Anne felt when she was alone, starved, and dying of typhus in the mud of Bergen Belsen. Each Muslim who’s been the victim of a fake hate crime feels the pain of a Jew marched off to the gas chamber — or do I mean feels the pain of not enough Jews marched off to the gas chamber? Whatever.
Daniel Greenfield has more on Goldstein and the Anne Frank Center.
But wait! There’s more. The above takes you only through February 2017 and involves only America. Two days ago, Caroline Glick wrote a post about Israel and Anne Frank’s Jewishness. She too has noticed that the Left is desperate to separate Anne’s murder (and the murder of 6 million others) from her Jewishness:
On the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the New Israel Fund announced it signed a partnership agreement with Anne Frank Fonds, the foundation Anne Frank’s father, Otto Frank, established in 1963 to administer the profits from the sales of her diary.
Frank’s diary has sold more than 30 million copies in 60 languages since it was first published in 1947. Its sales and global reach make it the most famous book authored by a Jew aside from the Bible.
The New Israel Fund’s deal with the Anne Frank Foundation is a symbolic expression of the existential struggle being waged in the Jewish world today. That struggle pits the government of Israel against much of the American Jewish leadership. It pits Israel’s public against the justices of the Supreme Court. It pits IDF line soldiers and commanders against the General Staff.
The effective merger of the New Israel Fund with the Anne Frank Foundation is the latest chapter in the theft of Anne Frank’s legacy, which began in the 1950s.
But for the Nazi occupation of Holland in 1940, Anne would likely never have received any Jewish education. But when the Dutch collaborationist government implemented the Nazi race laws, and expelled all Jewish children from public schools, in 1941 her parents were compelled to enroll her in a Jewish school.
As Prof. Ruth Wisse explained in her discussion of Anne Frank in The Modern Jewish Canon, Anne’s period in the Jewish school gave her a chance to develop a familiarity with Jewish tradition and history and to develop a positive sense of her Jewish identity.
“Thus,” Wisse wrote, “by the time the family was forced into hiding, she was well armed to face the assault against her as a Jew.”
Guided by playwright and Stalinist Lillian Hellman, Anne’s father chose intellectuals from America’s Jewish far-left elite to adapt her diary for stage and screen. For these intellectuals, Jewish particularism and Jewish nationhood were completely unacceptable. Playwrights Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich purged the screen and stage version of Anne’s diary of all Jewishness and transformed the Holocaust into a tale of universal persecution.
Wisse quoted Garson Kanin, who directed the play on Broadway, explaining how the dejudaization worked.
“Anne says, ‘We’re not the only Jews that’ve had to suffer. Right down through the ages, there have been Jews and they’ve had to suffer.’
“This strikes me as an embarrassing piece of special pleading. Right down through the ages, people have suffered because of being English, French, German, Italian, Ethiopian, Mohammedan, Negro, and so on…. The fact that in this play the symbols of persecution and oppression are Jews is incidental, and Anne, in stating the argument so, reduces her magnificent stature.”
In the end, Kanin just wrote her Judaism out of the script. The offending line was edited to say, “We’re not the only people that’ve had to suffer. Sometimes one race… sometimes another.”
It wasn’t just the Hellman-led Jewish intellectuals driving the train. The Dutch government became fully engaged in denying Anne Frank her Jewishness the Nazis murdered her for.
The Dutch government’s enthusiasm for Anne Frank derived from its desire to airbrush the wartime Dutch government’s and people’s active collaboration with the Nazis out of world history.
It is true that Dutch Christians hid Anne and her family. But it is also true that Dutch Nazis arrested the Franks and another 100,000 Dutch Jews. Dutch Nazis interned the Franks and 100,000 other Dutch Jews at Westerbork detention camp. Dutch Nazis deported them to German death camps.
The Dutch government embraced Anne Frank as a “Dutch heroine,” and turned the attic where she and her family hid into a national museum. As Wisse noted, one of Anne’s childhood friends wrote in the guest registration book at the Anne Frank museum, “Anne Frank didn’t want this.”
Ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day, as it does every year, the IDF Education Corps distributed an instructional guide to commanders directing them how to discuss the Holocaust with their soldiers.
The Education Corps’ booklet tells commanders to tell their soldiers that the Holocaust was caused by “the deterioration of the rule of law and the decline of democracy” in Germany.
Ignoring the fact that the Nazis rose to power by winning an election, and pretending away the fact that Germany had no liberal tradition for the Nazis to subvert, the Education Corps’ manual instructs commanders to emphasize to their soldiers “the importance of democratic institutions and checks and balances that protect the democratic method.”
In other words, as far as the IDF’s Education Corps is concerned, the Holocaust was not caused by the German people’s thousand-year history of Jew-hatred and demonology. The Nazis’ weren’t elected because their antisemitism resonated with the German public. Rather, they rose to power because Germany lacked effective checks on its executive branch.
Needless to say, I recommend reading Glick’s post in its entirety, especially because it explains how the Israeli Left is complicit in erasing Jewishness from both Anne Frank and the entire Holocaust.
The Left, though, did not stop with erasing Anne’s Jewishness. As Caroline Glick noted, the Anne Frank Fonds has sold its rights in Anne to the New Israel Foundation. While this sounds as if the Anne brand is now in Israel’s service, nothing could be more untrue. The New Israel Foundation is is using Anne’s memory to advance groups that, explicitly or implicitly, advocate for Israel’s destruction:
The New York based NIF has provided more than $300 million to more than 900 Israeli 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, to name but a few. [Bookworm here: All of those groups, despite their ostensibly Jewish nature, side with the Palestinians in the existential war between the liberal democracy that is Israel and the genocidal tyranny that characterizes the Palestinians.]
As of Tuesday this week, this enormous commemoration enterprise dedicated to the young diarist who perished in the Holocaust, Anne Frank, will be sending parts of the proceeds to a group that funds a lengthy list of anti-Zionist and anti-Israel NGOs.
And so, the tragic diarist who died in Bergen-Belsen among Jewish inmates and under the Gestapo watch can inspire not just Jews, but groups assisting in plots to murder Jews.
This retooling of the Anne Frank symbol can be seen most clearly in the statement by NIF Israel Executive Director Mickey Gitzin, who said about his group’s pact with the Anne Frank Foundation: “This strategic cooperation will strengthen our activities in all areas: the struggle for social justice, promoting a shared society, advancing women’s rights, the struggle against racism and more. This partnership will help us in our work toward a more values-oriented Israeli society, one of greater equality and justice.”
In short, Anne Frank’s legacy now belongs to the anti-Zionist folks – and there ain’t an attic far enough to hide from them.
We are seeing a particularly ugly iteration of O’Sullivan’s Law in action: “All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.” In this case, O’Sullivan’s law plays out with special irony. Both the international and American groups dedicated to the memory of Anne Frank, a girl who died in the Holocaust because she was a Jew, are not mere generic Leftist groups. Instead, they are actively promoting organizations that want to kill Jews.
But wait! Because the Left is ascendant, there’s still more. I started this post with the de-judaized Anne Frank museum. In the five years since I was there, the de-judaization process has been completed and the museum is now becoming as antisemitic as both the Anne Frank Center and the Anne Frank Fonds, going so far as to reflexively bann any signs of actual Judaism within its facility:
A Jewish employee at Anne Frank House could not believe his ears when his bosses banned him from wearing a skullcap at work.
Barry Vingerling turned up for work on his first day at the museum in Amsterdam and was told to take off his ‘yarmulke’.
Anne Frank House is a writer’s house and museum dedicated to a famous Jewish teenager who wrote a diary as she hid from the Nazis in World War II.
The 25-year-old was told wearing the skullcap might endanger the neutrality of the foundation which runs the museum and ‘influence its work combating antisemitism’.
Mr Vingerling did not don a skullcap for his interview but hoped to wear it at work to meet his requirement as an Orthodox Jew to keep his head covered.
The Dutchman was told the brimless cap, also known as a kippah, was banned by the Anne Frank House as employees were not allowed to wear Jewish symbols.
The museum told Mr Vingerling he had to apply for formal permission to wear a yarmulke at the Anne Frank Foundation.
The board of the Anne Frank Foundation finally concluded, after more than six months of discussions, that Mr Vingerling could wear his yarmulke.
He said he was happy to hear he could finally wear his skullcap but still did not understand why the Anne Frank Foundation had made an issue out of it for so long.
‘I work in the house of Anne Frank, who had to hide because of her identity. In that same house I should hide my identity?’ he said.
I do not take heart from the fact that the museum’s board finally caved. It took it six months and I suspect that it will never again make such an exception. As Dennis Prager says, everything that the Left touches it corrupts.
I don’t know about you, but I find what I’ve written above to be deeply depressing. I’ll therefore end this post with a little musical uplift:
UPDATE: In a post that very kindly links to this post, the inestimable Daniel Greenfield has even more about the travesty that is the Anne Frank House.