A kindergarten in Germany named after Holocaust victim Anne Frank is considering changing its name after over 50 years. School officials say Anne Frank’s name and story are not inclusive or diverse enough for their institution today.
The kindergarten in the town of Tangerhütte has been called Kindertagesstätte ‘Anne Frank’ since it opened in the 1970s. It was named after the young Jewish girl whose diary provided insights into hiding from the Nazis before she was captured and murdered.
But parents and staff no longer feel Anne Frank’s identity fits the school’s values. They want to change the name to ‘World Explorers’ to evoke a sense of internationalism and be more accommodating to immigrant families.
The kindergarten director said they wanted a name without political background that would resonate better with immigrant parents unfamiliar with Anne Frank’s story. However, locals argue most immigrant families there are Ukrainian and Russian, not Arab.
Officials say the name change would emphasize the self-determination and diversity of the children. The mayor, who initially supported the change, said it’s important to make the school’s new conceptual focus clear.
But Jewish leaders strongly oppose removing Anne Frank’s name, arguing it reflects eagerness to forget history amidst renewed anti-Semitism. Germany has seen spikes in anti-Jewish violence lately, including protests against Israel.
The chairman of a Jewish community organization said now may not be the right time for this change given Anne Frank’s significance. He argues the rationale highlights failed integration of migrant parents into German society.
Facing outrage, the town says discussions continue without a final decision yet. But the episode illustrates tensions over Holocaust remembrance and diversity as Anne Frank’s identity is viewed as insufficiently inclusive.
Some defend removing the Holocaust victim’s name to better represent immigrant families today. But opponents contend stripping the designation denies important history and downplays integration challenges.
Renaming the Anne Frank kindergarten could be seen as well-intentioned attempt at diversity. Or it risks minimizing Germany’s past while failing to address present social issues.
In striving for wokeness, the move may inadvertently demonstrate insensitivity regarding still-relevant lessons. However it’s decided, the heated debate underscores clashing perspectives on national identity.