BERLIN (Reuters) - German rail operator Deutsche Bahn is facing a siege of online criticism over a proposal to name a high-speed train after Holocaust victim Anne Frank, who was deported by train to the Auschwitz concentration camp.
The idea to name the high-speed ICE 4 train after Frank came from proposals made by Deutsche Bahn customers and the German public, which a panel reviewed. Of 19,400 submissions, Anne Frank was one of the most popular names, it said.
“Aware of the historical responsibility we bear, we made a deliberate decision to help keep Anne Frank’s memory alive,” Bahn said in a statement. “It was not our intention to disrespect the memory of Anne Frank in any way whatsoever.”
Critics say the plan was insensitive. Frank was deported from her home in Amsterdam and taken to Auschwitz by train in September 1944. She was later moved the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where she died in early 1945.
Iris Eberl, a conservative Bavarian lawmaker, said on twitter the plan was “disrespectful. Mirjam Wenzel, director of the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt, where Frank was born, tweeted that the idea was “based on historical amnesia”.
The Anne Frank House, the museum that preserves the family’s hiding place in Amsterdam, said in a statement that the idea of naming the train after her “is painful for the people who experienced these deportations, and causes fresh pain to those who still bear the consequences of those times within them.”
Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky