Dutch court to rule on Anne Frank letters, archive in legal spat

Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:31pm EDT
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By Sara Webb

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A Dutch court may rule this week whether some of the letters of Anne Frank, the Jewish girl whose posthumously published diary about her time in hiding from the Nazis made her a symbol of the Holocaust, should stay in Amsterdam or be sent to Switzerland.

The letters - together with about 10,000 photographs and other documents, but not the famous diary - are at the center of a long-running dispute between Anne Frank House, the Amsterdam museum dedicated to her memory, and Anne Frank Fonds, the Basel-based foundation set up by her father Otto.

At issue is where that archive material should be kept and, more broadly, whether the story of Anne Frank is best told in the museum dedicated to her memory or as part of a broader historical context, for example by displaying some of the documents at the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt.

"We have a small museum so we can't display everything at once, but it's important for us because it gives us a chance to add more information to the history that we tell," said Teresien da Silva, head of collections at Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

A spokeswoman for the court in Amsterdam said a judgment is now scheduled for Wednesday, although a decision has already been postponed a few times.

The Franks, originally from Germany, moved to Amsterdam before World War Two. When Germany invaded the Netherlands, they went into hiding in a secret annex behind the Prinsengracht canal house where Anne's father had his office.

For two years, Anne, her sister Margot, mother Edith, father Otto and four other Jews lived in the annex whose entrance was hidden behind a sliding bookcase. They were looked after by Otto's trusted employees but were eventually betrayed and sent to concentration camps. Only Otto survived.

On returning to Amsterdam, he was given Anne's diary which he published, reaching millions of young readers worldwide.   Continued...