published : 2023-11-11

Jewish Holocaust victim Anne Frank's name staying put on school after controversy

City's mayor tells Fox News Digital the Anne Frank name-change discussion predated recent conflict

A photo of Anne Frank's childhood home in Frankfurt, Germany taken with a Nikon D850.

A school will not be dropping "Anne Frank" from its formal name and changing it to "World Explorer" following significant outcry at both the local and international levels.

The Anne Frank Kindertagesstätte, in Tangerhütte, Germany, had previously discussed changing its name to something "without political background," the German media outlet Volksstimme reported on Nov. 6.

In the 1970s, back when it was built, the Anne Frank Kindertagesstätte was named after Anne Frank, the Jewish teenager who died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp during the Holocaust, according to Volksstimme.

Frank kept a diary while hiding with her family from the Nazis in Amsterdam.

The diary was published in 1947 under the title, "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl."

Linda Schichor, manager of the Anne Frank Kindertagesstätte, told Volksstimme that the significance of the day care's namesake was lost on some of the parents of its students — and that it was not "child-friendly."

Despite reports that the name would be changed, or had already been changed, the city's mayor told Fox News Digital that this would not be the case.

"There will be no vote in the city council at all.",

"On Monday, the Board of Trustees decided to end the discussion," Mayor Andreas Brohm of Tangerhütte told Fox News Digital in an email.

"This means there will be no vote in the city council at all," Brohm added.

He noted that "the factions in the city council had already declared they would not agree to a name change."

An image of the Anne Frank memorial statue in Amsterdam taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

Brohm claimed that the name change discussion had long predated any recent conflict — and that it "started more than six months ago" with the assistance of the local council.

In Germany, "kindertagesstätte" is similar to the American concept of day care. It is for children between the ages of three and five or six, according to Expatica, a resource guide for people living and/or working abroad.

This is not the first time in recent years that a German day care has considered — then decided against — dropping "Anne Frank" from its school's name.

In 2021, a school in the German municipality of Elxleben briefly considered dropping the name "Anne Frank," before deciding to keep the name after an "indignant" reaction from the local Jewish community, Volksstimme reported.

Rabbi Pinchas Taylor of Plantation, Florida, serves as director of the American Faith Coalition, a not-for-profit organization focused on sharing the moral laws and spiritual values of the Hebrew Bible.

He told Fox News Digital that he's unsure why some may feel it's "difficult to explain" to kids and parents "the significance and contribution of Anne Frank's story."

"[Anne Frank's] name on the school honors her legacy by being a place where children can experience the brighter future that she dreamed about."

"This might be a good start: Anne Frank was keenly aware of the hellish conditions she was living in, and yet still managed to muster courage, reaffirm the beauty of people and the world, and to hope for a day when everyone will be kind to one another," he said.

Remembering Anne Frank "is something important for all of us, in all freedom-loving nations and cultures," said Taylor.

Now, with new reports of anti-Semitism since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas against Israel, "it is important to display and teach the memory of Anne Frank and the Jews of her time, and like her, aspire to a better future," said Taylor.

In the United States, there are two public schools named after Anne Frank: Anne Frank Elementary School in Dallas, Texas, and Anne Frank School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

A picture of students at Anne Frank Elementary School in Dallas, Texas participating in a cultural diversity event taken with a Sony Alpha A7 III.

Fox News Digital reached out to both schools for comment.

Anne Frank Elementary School claims on its website that it is "the only school in Texas named after a child and the only school in the country that was built with the name Anne Frank."

Also, "as the largest elementary school in Dallas, it serves students from as many as 58 countries who speak more than 24 languages," the school's website states.

"This diversity creates an appreciation and understanding of different cultures. Through music, films, plays, special programs and visits to museums, the appreciation for cultural diversity is constantly stressed."

Anne Frank School in Philadelphia also has a diverse student body, according to its website.

Originally named Bustleton Elementary, the school changed its name to Anne Frank School on March 23, 1987.

Anne Frank School serves children from "40 different nations and native languages" from grades kindergarten to fifth.

"Anne Frank will not be forgotten, for she has touched each of us. She is the symbol of hope and faith for generations yet unborn," the Anne Frank School's website states.

Fox News Digital reached out to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for comment about the decision for the Anne Frank Kindertagesstätte's name to remain the same.

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Christine Rousselle is a lifestyle reporter with Fox News Digital.