A German city has announced it will rename the Anne Frank daycare center to “World Explorer” because migrants complained they couldn’t explain Frank’s significance to their children.
In the small town of Tangerhütte located in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt, the decision to rename the daycare center that has borne Frank’s name for generations has sparked controversy, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Frank, a Jewish girl who died at the age of 15 in the Nazi Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany in 1945, became famous when her diary was published after the war. The outlet cited Apollo News, a German news site, that reported migrant parents felt uncertain about Frank’s name and found it too challenging to try to explain to their children who Frank was or why her story was important.
But the Miteinander e.V. organization, an open society advocacy group, disagreed with the city’s decision. The organization argued there are effective and age-appropriate educational ways for teaching children and young people about Frank’s life and the historical significance it holds, according to The Post.
The group said in a statement that renaming the daycare center sends the wrong signal at a time marked by increasing antisemitism.
However, city officials remain undeterred in their efforts to rename the center. According to reports, both parents and the center’s employees requested the name change.
The manager of the daycare Linda Schichor explained, “We wanted something without a political background,” according to The Toronto Sun.
Tangerhütte’s Mayor Andreas Brohm said the renaming is part of a broader concept that aims to celebrate the diversity of the children attending the daycare center, according to the BILD newspaper. The parents want to rename the center “World Explorers,” according to the newspaper.
“Ultimately, the parents and employees wanted a name that was more ‘child-friendly’ and ‘better suited to their concept.’ Their needs are more important than the global political situation,” Brohm said.
Brohm told Politico on Monday nothing has been decided.
“That wasn’t even up for debate, that’s the crazy thing. It wasn’t up for decision before Saturday, it’s a discussion process that’s ongoing” Brohm said.
The plan was to find something “that has a more positive connotation, not because Anne Frank has a negative connotation, but because people associate what they associate with it and with the day-care center concept,” the mayor told the outlet.
Other German politicians were outraged by the proposed name change.
The German state’s economy minister Sven Schulze, wrote on X that his CDU party “will of course not agree to the renaming of the Anne Frank day-care center. I hope all the other councilors won’t either. Not only in this day and age but in general, such a proposal is completely absurd, instinctive, and small-minded.”
Tangerhutte’s city council has decided to act as well.
On Wednesday, the town council will unanimously “position itself against the proposal to rename the daycare center,” Werner Jacob (CDU), chairman of the town council, told German news outlet WELT.
Critics on social media have also lashed out at the name change.
“This is appalling. A German daycare center named after Anne Frank is changing its name,” said author Aviva Klompas. “German media reports that parents want the center to push a message more focused on ‘international diversity.’ Hear that? They are promoting diversity by erasing Jews.”
This is appalling. A German daycare center named after Anne Frank is changing its name.
German media reports that parents want the center to push a message more focused on “international diversity.”
Hear that? They are promoting diversity by erasing Jews.
— Aviva Klompas (@AvivaKlompas) November 6, 2023
“‘Migrant parents’ successfully got Anne Frank canceled in Germany? Seems a little on the nose,” Guy Benson also responded to the report in a post on X.
“Imagine telling yourself in 2013 that in 10 years time, the Germans will be cancelling the ‘Anne Frank Kindergarten’ because of ….. ‘Diversity,'” Gray Connolly noted.