Anne Frank’s name was one of the most popular suggestions made for the railway.
Germany’s national railway, Deutsche Bahn is under attack on social media for its decision to name one of its new superfast ICE trains after the late Holocaust diarist, Anne Frank.
The Anne Frank Foundation, which is based in Amsterdam, called the move as “causing new pain,” to the people who underwent deportations under Nazi Germany. It also said in an official statement that naming a German train after Anne Frank only brings up unwanted images of persecution and deportation that Jews faced during World War II.
In 1933, Anne and her family fled Nazi Germany for Amsterdam, where they hid and avoided capture, until they were betrayed in 1944. She and her sister were then captured and sent to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp by train, where they died the following year in 1945.
The national railway had asked the public to send in their suggestions based on famous German figures for the names of their new trains in September. Over 19,400 responses came in with more than 2,500 suggestions within just a month, out of which Anne Frank’s name was one of the most popular suggestions. A jury which included two historians finally chose Frank from a total of 25 shortlisted names.
Other suggestions included well-known German personalities like the first German chancellor after the war, Konrad Adenauer; famous physicist Albert Einstein, who fled Nazi Germany and went to America; and Hans and Sophie Scholl, two students of German nationality who died under the hands of the Nazis for participating in the resistance.
Many people tweeted their discontent with the national railway’s decision. One Twitter user expressed his concern over the disturbing fact that the Nazi-era Reichsbahn’s successor, Deutsche Bahn would name its train after Anne Frank. This tweet was even shared by the German newspaper, Die Welt.
An MP in the Christian Social Union Party (CSU), Iris Ebrel also tweeted that the move by Deutche Bahn is “callous” as Anne Frank herself was deported by train. CSU, based in Bavaria, is the sister party of German chancellor, Angela Merkel’s own party, Christian Democratic Union.
However, spokesperson for Deutsche Bahn, Antje Neubauer said that it was never their intent to harm Anne Frank’s memory. Instead, they wanted to honour her legacy through this move. “The DB profusely apologizes if anybody’s feelings were hurt,” she said in a statement. Moreover, the company will seriously consider the concerns and will have discussions “with the blessing of Jewish organizations.”=
Good morning to everyone except whoever thought naming a high speed German train "Anne Frank" was a good idea 😩 pic.twitter.com/AF7Wtt1iW1
— Flavia Dzodan (@redlightvoices) October 30, 2017