A German daycare center that was named after teenage Holocaust victim Anne Frank has been renamed in an attempt to avoid upsetting the parents of immigrant children who may be insulted by the acknowledgment of the Nazi Holocaust and genocide against the Jewish people.
The daycare in Tangerhütte, Saxony-Anhalt, was renamed “Weltentdecker” (Explorers of the World).
Anne Frank hid from the Nazis together with her family in Amsterdam from 1942 to 1944. While in hiding, she wrote her famous diary which became an international best-selling book in the decades following World War Two. After her family's location was betrayed to the Nazis, she was taken together with her family to the Auschwitz concentration camp and then to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp, where she died in 1945 at the age of 15. Her mother and sister also died in the camps.
The daycare center has been named for Anne Frank since the 1970s. Only recently has the name become controversial.
Daycare center manager Linda Schichor claimed that parents complained that the name was "challenging" for their children, especially the children of immigrant families. “We sought a name without political connotations,” she said.
Parents from immigrant families also stated that Anne Frank did not mean anything to them.
Tangerhütte, Mayor Andreas Brohm issued a statement in support of the name change, saying: “Parents and staff desire a name that aligns more with the revised concept, a name free from global political association."
The name change has been controversial given that the announcement was made following the Hamas massacre of over 1,400 people in southern Israel on October 7 and in the midst of a global outbreak of antisemitism.
The International Auschwitz Committee condemned the move. Vice-president Christoph Heubner said: “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."