German daycare center named for Anne Frank changes its name, sparking debate


(JTA) — A German daycare center named after Anne Frank is changing its name, alleging that children have a hard time understanding the message behind the story of the world famous Jewish diarist murdered in the Holocaust.

The daycare is located in Tangerhütte, a small town in northern Germany. Debate over the center’s name has drawn attention across the country, but Mayor Andreas Brohm defended the school’s move.

German media reports that parents wanted the center to push a message more focused on international diversity, hence the new name of World Explorers.

The International Auschwitz Committee, which was founded by Holocaust survivors, strongly condemned the renaming. The Jerusalem Post reported that the school had had the Anne Frank name since 1970.

“If you are willing to dismiss your own history so carelessly, especially in these times of new antisemitism and right-wing extremism, and if Anne Frank ‘s name is perceived as unsuitable in public space, you can only become fearful and anxious when it comes to the culture of remembrance in our country,” said Christoph Heubner, according to the German MDR broadcaster.

Miteinander e.V., a German organization that promotes “open society,” said the renaming “sends the wrong signal in a time of strengthening #Antisemitism.”

“There are good, tried-and-tested pedagogical concepts for conveying the topic of Anne Frank’s life to children and young people that work age-appropriately and appropriately with contemporary historical fate,” the organization wrote in a thread on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Antisemitic incidents have spiked across Western Europe since Oct. 7, when Hamas killed over 1,400 Israelis, sparking an Israeli counterattack has killed thousands in the Gaza Strip. On Oct. 18, two people threw Molotov cocktails at a synagogue in Berlin.

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