A German daycare centre named after Anne Frank has been renamed to avoid upsetting children from immigrant backgrounds.
The building in Tangerhütte, Saxony-Anhalt, is to be rebranded “Weltentdecker” (Explorers of the World) to spare local children from being exposed to the thorny issue of the Shoah and the murder of six million Jews.
The daycare centre was originally named after Anne Frank, the young Dutch Jewish girl who perished in Bergen-Belsen along with her mother and sister, during the era of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) in the 1970s.
The call for renaming it came from parents and staff who considered Anne Frank's name too complex for young children.
They claimed the Holocaust and Anne Frank's story proved “challenging”, especially for children from immigrant backgrounds.
Centre manager Linda Schichor said: “We sought a name without political connotations.”
Now the municipal facility’s board of trustees has approved the change. And even local mayor Andreas Brohm says it is the right thing to do.
“Parents and staff desire a name that aligns more with the revised concept, a name free from global political association,” he said.
The International Auschwitz Committee has expressed its outrage.
Vice-president Christoph Heubner slammed the decision, saying: “To dismiss our history so lightly, especially during these times marked by resurging antisemitism and right-wing extremism, and to view Anne Frank's name as unsuitable in the public sphere, fills us with dread and anxiety about our nation's culture of remembrance,” he said.
Anne Frank’s diary, a global bestseller, chronicled her experiences in hiding from the occupying Germans in Amsterdam from 1942 to 1944 when her family was betrayed. She died in 1945, aged 15. Her father, Otto Frank, was the family’s sole survivor.