German Plans for 'Anne Frank Train Line' Raises Eyebrows

Anne Frank Foundation says that the connection of Anne Frank and a train leads to associations with Nazi deportation of Jews during World War II

Anne Frank.
AP

The plans by Germany's railways to name a high-speed train after the wartime teenage Jewish diarist Anne Frank, has sparked a controversy.

"We can understand how the naming leads to controversy," the Amsterdam-based Anne Frank Foundation said on Monday expressing reservations about Deutsche Bahn's plans.

The foundation believes the connection of Anne Frank and a train leads to associations with the Nazi persecution of the Jews and deportations during World War II.

"This connection is painful for people who have witnessed the deportations and causes fresh pain for those who have to live with the consequences of the deportations," the foundation said.

But the foundation said it also realizes that such initiatives are usually based on good intentions.

Deutsche Bahn wants to name its new ICE4 trains after major personalities.

In addition to Anne Frank, the list includes ex-German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, brother and sister Nazi resistance fighters Hans and Sophie Scholl, the author Erich Kaestner as well as the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who were also critics of the Nazis.

The aim is "to honor these personalities and keep alive their memory," Deutsche Bahn said.

A jury, including two historians, examined the proposals for naming the trains, Deutsche Bahn said.

Anne Frank lived with her family in the rear of a building in Amsterdam from 1942 to 1944, hiding from the Nazis, and where she also wrote her world-famous diary.

She died in 1945 at the age of 15 in the Nazi death camp Bergen-Belsen after those in hiding in the building were betrayed to the Nazis.