Anne Frank commemoration dispute spawns Nazi comparison

(JTA) — A manager of Switzerland’s Anne Frank Fund has accused a Dutch organization bearing the Jewish diarist’s name of a Nazi-style seizure of her family’s possessions.

Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

“In the 1940s, the Frank family had its possessions seized by the Germans and their accomplices. Now a Dutch institution is trying again to carry out a seizure,” Yves Kugelmann, a member of the board of the Swiss fund, was quoted on Wednesday as telling the Dutch Volkskrant daily. Maartje Mostart, a spokesperson for the Dutch organization, told the daily she found the statements and dispute “very sad.”

Kugelmann was referring to a protracted legal dispute between his organization and the Amsterdam-based Anne Frank Foundation for possession of an archive containing 25,000 letters and other documents belonging to the family of Anne Frank — a German Jewish girl who moved millions worldwide with her diary which recorded her time in hiding from the Nazis in occupied Amsterdam. She died in 1944 in a German concentration camp at the age of 15.

The archive has been in the care of the Foundation in Amsterdam since 2007, on a loan from the Fund that it expected would become permanent, the Associated Press reported. 

The Fund, headed by Anne Frank’s closest living relative, her cousin Buddy Elias, now wants the material to go to a new permanent Frank Family Center at the Jewish Museum in Germany.

In July 2012, a Dutch civil court in a provisional ruling rejected the Fund’s demand for an immediate return of the archive.

The Dutch foundation administers the Anne Frank House, which last year received a record-breaking 1,152,888 visitors.

Need to know? Click here to sign up for JTA’s free e-newsletters.

Click to write a letter to the editor.