Dutch court rules Anne Frank archive must go back to Switzerland

Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:06pm EDT
 
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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - An archive of documents related to Anne Frank and her family must be returned to a foundation in Switzerland, an Amsterdam court ruled on Wednesday, settling a dispute between two institutions with a claim on her name.

The legal battle 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, centered on where the thousands of photographs, letters and other documents should be kept and displayed.

Those documents did not include the posthumously published diary Anne Frank wrote about her time in hiding from the Nazis during World War Two, which sold millions of copies around the world and turned the Jewish girl into a symbol of the Holocaust.

The Amsterdam court ordered the return of the documents from Anne Frank House, which described the legal dispute as "deeply regrettable", to Anne Frank Fonds by January 2014.

"The Anne Frank Fonds is the owner of these items and had given them on long-term loan ... for the sake of having a commonly managed archive," the court said, adding that a breakdown of trust between the two institutions, "gave the fund a strong reason to cancel the lending agreement".

The archives at Anne Frank House in Amsterdam contain photos, letters and documents from the Frank family and from the Frank-Elias family of Anne's cousin, Buddy Elias.

Buddy Elias is president of Anne Frank Fonds. The decision to lend the Frank-Elias archive to Anne Frank House from the foundation in 2007 was made jointly so that the museum could make a full inventory of all documents related to Anne's life.

But the foundation later decided it wanted its archive back so that some of the documents could be shown at the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt in a broader historical context.

"We have got entirely what we asked for, Yves Kugelmann, a spokesman for the foundation, said of the court ruling.   Continued...

 
A letter from Anne Frank to her grandmother is seen on display at the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam in this June 26, 2013 handout from the Anne Frank Foundation. An archive of documents related to Anne Frank and her family must be returned to a foundation in Switzerland, an Amsterdam court ruled on Wednesday, settling a dispute between two institutions with a claim on her name. The legal battle 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, centred on where the thousands of photographs, letters and other documents should be kept and displayed. REUTERS/Cris Toala Olivares/Anne Frank Foundation/Handout via Reuters