Man arrested for projecting Holocaust denial message on Anne Frank House

Text on the side of the museum suggested the Jewish teenager did not write her diary during the Second World War


The new Anne Frank exhibit will open 11 June 2003 by US First Lady Laura Bush at The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is commemorating its 10th Anniversary from April 2003 to April 2004 through programs that underscore the resonance and urgency of the lessons of the Holocaust for todays world TIM SLOAN / AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Police have arrested a man in Poland on suspicion of projecting a Holocaust denial message on Amsterdam’s Anne Frank House.

The 41-year-old suspect was detained after an intensive investigation following the incident in early February, when text suggesting the Jewish teenager did not write her diary during World War II was projected on the side of the museum that honours her memory.

In a statement, Dutch police said the suspect was identified "soon" after the projection took place.

They added: "It subsequently transpired that the suspect left for Poland immediately after the projection.”

Dutch detectives travelled to Poland on Tuesday and were present when the suspect’s home was searched and he was arrested.

The incident happened in February when an individual or a group used a laser projector to display the statements from some distance.

Video of the message was then shared in extreme-right Telegram channel “The Laser Nazi Bunker".

Referencing an antisemitic conspiracy theory, the projection said, in Dutch, “Anne Frank is the inventor of the ballpoint pen.”

The claim is a reference to several loose sheets of paper found in the diary written on with a ballpoint pen, which did not become popular until after World War II.

Decades ago, Frank's father, Otto, said that the sheets of paper were left there by a researcher who studied the diary.

Other researchers have since also concluded that the sheets were most likely left in the diary by accident, and do not detract from its authenticity.

Some extremists call this a lie, and Holocaust deniers use the ballpoint pen theory in an attempt to discredit experts, historians and victims.

“People who have claimed, or still claim, that the diary is not genuine have a political agenda. They often also say or write that the Holocaust never happened,” the Anne Frank House museum and foundation said on its website.

“The claim that Anne Frank’s diary was written with ballpoint pen can still be read regularly on far-right websites and elsewhere."

Ronald Leopold, executive director of the Anne Frank House, said: “The diary of Anne Frank is one of the most important testimonies of the persecution of the Jews during the Second World War.

“With the projection and the video the perpetrators are attacking the authenticity of Anne Frank’s diary and inciting hatred.

"We are grateful to the police for tracking down and arresting the suspect of the projection. The case is now in the hands of the judiciary.”

The Anne Frank House and the Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI) decided to press charges over the matter, police said.

The incident shocked many in the Netherlands, where Dutch involvement in the deportation of tens of thousands of Jews to Nazi death camps is still a sensitive issue.

Anne Frank and her family hid for two years in a secret annex to the house after the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in 1940 but were captured in a raid in 1944.

The teenager and her sister died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.

Her diary, found by her father Otto, later became one of the most haunting accounts of the Holocaust and sold around 30 million copies.

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