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Press Information published by the International Auschwitz Committee


Open letter on the planned renaming of the Anne Frank Day Care Centre in Tangerhütte, Saxony-Anhalt.

The Anne Frank Day Care Centre in Tangerhütte, Saxony-Anhalt. Image: KGS/IAK Berlin

The Anne Frank Day Care Centre in Tangerhütte, Saxony-Anhalt. Image: KGS/IAK Berlin




While visiting Magdeburg as the recipient of the Lothar Kreyssig Peace Prize, Christoph Heubner, Executive Vice President of the International Auschwitz Committee said:

"While reading the Magdeburger Volksstimme I came across an article stating that there are plans to rename the Anne Frank Day Care Centre in Tangerhütte. The open letter shown below confronts the arguments and considerations of the planning participants in Tangerhütte. When people, especially in these times of renewed anti-Semitism and far-right extremism, are prepared to nonchalantly clean up their own history and consider the name of Anne Frank to be no longer desirable in the public space, it sets off alarm bells and sends out warnings concerning the fate of remembrance culture in our country."


Honourable Mayor of Tangerhütte, Members of the Board of Trustees, and those responsible for the Anne Frank Day Care Centre,

You are in the process of consciously turning your backs on Anne Frank: According to your argumentation, it is extremely difficult to explain to children what happened to Anne Frank and in surrounding society. On top of this, parents with a migration background have no idea at all what the name of Anne Frank might mean. For this reason you reckon that a name ‘without any political background’ will be preferable for the future. It is destined to be replaced by the new name of ‘Weltentdecker’ (Global Explorers), which you say would signify an open-minded kindergarten and reflect new basic concepts such as ‘self-determination and diversity’ amongst the children.

Please forgive me for having to say this, honourable citizens of Tangerhütte, but you are most definitely proceeding down the wrong track: I have never encountered such ridiculous arguments in my many years of experiencing the story of Anne Frank, this young German-Jewish girl who, hidden away and filled with the fear of discovery, nevertheless remained self-determined, to discover the world, to describe it in her diary, and to hope for a future that was denied to her and all other Jewish children and young people in Germany at that time.

Yes, you are right. Anne Frank belongs to a time where all Jewish children were condemned to death and would never have the chance to discover the world and lead a self-determined life in a diverse world. But, it is precisely because of this that Anne Frank grew to become such a great person and a world star. It is because she was acutely aware of the murderous hell she was living in, and yet she still managed to reaffirm the beauty of the world and to hope that people will be kind to one another. What, may I ask, is so difficult for people, big and small, to understand here…if one is prepared to take the time to tell them and to explain?

But now, surprise, surprise, it’s too late. Because of this twisted thinking, the whole of Tangerhütte is now being hit by a shitstorm, and you are doubtless feeling misunderstood and unfairly treated. And some of you will be cursing the media and the people who publicized this and fouled their own nest. And there will be moans that you can’t say anything against Jews anyway, and it will go on, and on, and on. Most honourable citizens of Tangerhütte, if I were permitted to offer a word of advice, I would suggest that Anne Frank should stand up and fight, instead of being driven out yet again from her German homeland, vanishing sadly without a word.

Perhaps you will reconsider the whole situation once more?

PS: In the next few days I shall be happy to send you the children’s book ‘Lala’ written by the Auschwitz survivor Roman Kent in memory of his childhood in the ghetto of Lodz. He tells the story of how his dog Lala secretly follows their family into the ghetto, where dogs are strictly forbidden. Lala gives the children courage and hope that not all has yet been lost in this world. The illustrations in the book were created by children at a school in Potsdam for students with learning difficulties.

Yours sincerely,

Christoph Heubner
Executive Vice President
International Auschwitz Committee

Link to the video:   Holocaust survivor Roman Kent tells the story of a dog in Nazi-occupied Poland. It taught him a timeless lesson: that love is stronger than hate.


For further Information

Christoph Heubner

Executive Vice President
International Auschwitz Committee
Phone ++ 49 (0)30 26 39 26 81