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Swiss court rules in struggle over use of Anne Frank’s name

ZURICH, July 16 (JTA) — One of the most noted names of the Holocaust stands at the center of a protracted legal dispute here. Switzerland’s highest court ruled last week that an Amsterdam-based Anne Frank Foundation holds the commercial rights in Switzerland to use the name of Anne Frank. In its ruling, the court rejected the request of the Anne Frank Fund of Basel, saying that the Amsterdam group’s trademark registration application had been made first. The ruling of the Federal Tribunal upheld a 1993 Zurich court’s decision. The Basel fund owns the copyright to “The Diary of Anne Frank” — which has sold more than more than 25 million copies in 60 languages — and to film and theatrical productions based on the diary. The Amsterdam-based foundation operates a museum in the home where the Frank family hid for two years before they were betrayed — and subsequently rounded up from their attic hiding place by the Nazis. The foundation has held the rights to her name in other parts of Europe since the 1980s. Anne and her sister, Margo, died at Bergen-Belsen in 1945 shortly before the death camp was liberated by British Forces. Their mother, Edith, died at Auschwitz. Both groups were created with the support of Anne’s father, Otto, who survived the war and moved to Basel. He died in 1980. Reacting to last week’s court decision, the only surviving member of the family charged that the Amsterdam-based foundation plans to exploit the Anne Frank name commercially. “We will never allow that Anne Frank’s name is used as a marketing brand,” Bernhard “Buddy” Elias, a first cousin of Anne Frank who serves as a director of the Basel fund, said in an interview. Officials from the Amsterdam foundation denied the charge.

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