NYT piece #1: Anne Frank kindergarten again

November 8, 2023 • 10:45 am

We have two NYT pieces for your delectation (?) today. The first concerns something I wrote about the other day—the renaming of an Anne Frank kindergarten in Germany—and there was more discussion than I’d imagined.  Click below to read the new NYT piece; if you’re paywalled, you will find it archived here.

Just to review:

A proposal in a small German town to rename a public day care center that is currently named after Anne Frank has become the center of a fraught national debate in the country about antisemitism.

The plan to change the day care center’s name in the town of Tangerhütte, about 75 miles west of Berlin in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, has attracted widespread coverage in the German press and criticism from politicians and Jewish leaders over the past few days.

Over the weekend, a local newspaper, the Volksstimme, published a report that the day care center, which it said had carried Anne Frank’s name since the 1970s, would be renamed “World Explorer.”

And the reasons they wanted the name change, though one reason is conspiculously missing:

According to the report in the Volksstimme, the impetus to change the name had come from parents and day care employees, with the new name thought to be more child friendly. The story of Anne Frank was difficult for children to understand and “parents with a migrant background would often not know what to make of the name,” the newspaper reported, citing school authorities. The director of the school was quoted as saying the school wanted a name “without political background.”

But where is diversity, mentioned in the first paragraph of the original Torygraph report this way?:

A German kindergarten has said it will drop Anne Frank from its name in favour of a “more diverse” alternative, adding fuel to the national debate over anti-Semitism amid the Israel-Hamas war.

. . . . and this was later on in the same piece:

A representative of the local council backed the move, saying that the name change was part of a “conceptual overhaul” that would see that kindergarten put more emphasis on the “self determination and diversity” of the children in its care.

The words “diversity” or “diverse” are not mentioned in the NYT piece.

Why would the NYT leave out the “diversity” angle?  Perhaps it’s innocuous, but that was perhaps the most onerous and ridiculous reason given for the suggested name change.  You don’t increase diversity by dropping the name of a beleaguered minority—a woman who was killed because she was a Jew—and replacing it with “World Explorer”. It almost makes me laugh to think that anybody would be so stupid as to believe such a reason.

And even in in the Volksstimme (“Voice of the People”) newspaper, the local mayor mentioned diversity as an explanation (translated from the German:

According to Andreas Brohm (independent), mayor of Tangerhütte, the name change is accompanied by a new concept. The daycare center is now more open than before and promotes the children’s self-determination and diversity much more strongly. “It is important to the institution to make this conceptual change visible to the outside world,” says Brohm.

Thus, the Torygraph and Volksstimme both mention a conceptual change to promote “self-determination and diversity,”  I don’t see how it can promote either. (We haven’t discussed “self-determination”, but it has no clear relationship to erasing Anne Frank’s name).

And more about the pushback (from the NYT):

Amid the heightened tensions in Germany, the newspaper’s report prompted Jewish leaders and politicians to speak out.

Christoph Heubner, executive vice president of the International Auschwitz Committee, issued an open letter, in which he said the town’s mayor and others responsible for the center were consciously turning their backs on Anne Frank.

And so they walked back the decision, which was always a non-starter:

On Monday, as criticism mounted, the town issued a statement which said that, in fact, nothing had yet been decided about a new name, which had been under consideration for some months.

As early as July 2023, the town said, the topic of new name arose as the day care center considered other changes. “These discussions are still ongoing without a decision being made at the moment,” the town said

The mayor, Andreas Brohm, said in the statement, “We have received many constructive suggestions and proposals, for which we are very grateful.” [JAC: Another lie]

The statement added, “Tangerhütte, with its educational institutions and all its civic engagement, stands for an open-minded Germany that is at the same time as aware of its historical responsibility as it is of its educational mission.”

The future of the proposal now appears uncertain. Wolfgang Schneiß, an official overseeing issues of Jewish life in the state government, said in an interview that he assumed the town would now reject the idea.

I guess so! If they accepted the name change, they’d be forever tarred with being the “anti-Anne Frank Kindergarten.” For even in Germany she’s an iconic figure (you might remember that she was actually born in Germany and moved to the Netherlands when she was not yet five years old).

Why did they really want to rename the kindergarten? The only reasons they gave don’t make sense. There are two remaining: antisemitism and fear. I can’t believe, even given growing antisemitism in Europe, that that form of bigotry would drive a name change; all it could do is make it easier.  More likely is that the locals feared that a school with a Jewish name would attract the attention and opprobrium of the growing number of Muslims in Germany.  I guess they thought that the “Anne Frank Kindergarten” would be equivalent to “The Charlie Hebdo Kindergarten.”

The remaining mystery is why the NYT left the “diversity” excuse out of its reporting, given that, as reported by the two other sources, increased diversity was an important reason given for expunging “Anne Frank.” If I were really cynical, as I am today, I’d say the NYT wants preserve a positive connotation of the word “diversity”, a connotation that was polluted by the Anne Frank Purgers.

28 thoughts on “NYT piece #1: Anne Frank kindergarten again

  1. “Diversity” is Wokecraft meaning to combine contradictions (Jewish identity and Islam, roughly here) in order to sublate them by alchemy into a higher understanding (Marcuse) as the output of the dialectic.

    Let’s see how this develops.

  2. The excuse that “the story of Anne Frank was difficult for children to understand” is such a crock of BS. Why does anyone need to explain to children the story of the person who their school is named after? Do Montessori kids know the story of Maria Montessori? Do the students of Walton High School have any idea who Mary Walton is? Most kids don’t give two seconds of thought to the person who their school is named after.

    This is so obviously an attempt to erase a notable Jewish figure from history and all these excuses to disguise that fact are utterly shameful.

    1. Whatever is difficult about it, the comic book version of the diary was pitched this way by the NYT Book Review (bold added):

      “so engaging and effective that it’s easy to imagine it replacing the Diary in classrooms and among younger readers.”

      See the news in this post : https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2023/09/22/friday-hili-dialogue-442/

      Difficult – except when it isn’t difficult, it’s New and Improved because of the dialectic.

  3. You could write a fine drama about this, more funny and sad like ‘The Visit – Der Besuch der alten Dame’, the 1956 tragicomic play by Friedrich Dürrenmatt – the visitor arriving to wreak revenge on the village of Güllen by testing the moral compass of its residents – or more of a small town tragedy – like ‘An Inspector Calls’. Who was it first raised the idea of ‘reconceptualising’ this place’s name and how did they present the idea? What conversations led to the substitute name ‘World Explorer’ in Tangerhütte? Is it to become a tragedy – its heroine off stage but ever present? I’d be intrigued to know who would be in the cast – heroes and villains and clowns and ….. How would it begin and how proceed? What pent-up emotions will be released by the drama’s catharsis? I’d be ready to surmount the challenge – locally described as ‘difficult’ – of explaining this story to a child – “Once upon a time – it was Monday the 9 April 1934 – a young girl call Anne arrived at her kindergarten at the Sixth Montessori School in Amsterdam, a beautiful city full of canals. Some of her classmates’ parents had fled Nazi Germany with their families to make a new home in Holland because they were Jewish ….. I’d like to tell you that this story ended ‘happily ever after’ but I’m afraid it did not for Anne, and it won’t end happily for any of us unless we try very hard to make it so…. and that is how the story of our Anne Frank Nursery begins.”

  4. DEI grifters define “diversity” as “dark-skinned.” So, to increase diversity within this school, one must appeal to the “growing Muslim population.” (Read: Muslims ain’t gonna send and shouldn’t have to send their children to a school named after some dead Jewish girl who, let’s face it, was an oppressor.)

    The idea to change the name of the school is perfectly rational in light of what these nutjobs believe. It’s obscene. Let’s applaud the German “normies” for rejecting this nonsense.

  5. Just wanted to give another (putative) reason for the change. that small town (10,000 residents) is in the eastern part of Germany which has traditionally a low number of foreigners (and thus muslims). Tangerhuette has 3,5 %. However, in this town the extreme right-wing political party Alternative for Germany (in German: Alternative für Deutschland, AfD) got 23.5% of the votes during the elections in 2021. Thus, it might be that in this town there is a general anti-semitic climate and it is fear, but not because of a strong muslim community but instead because of a strong right-wing German community. Not sure whether I’m right, but at least it is possible.

    1. I think you have hit on the real reason Michael. The AfD are an odious bunch, they are nothing more than the former NPD but wearing suits instead of looking like more traditional skinheads and right wing creeps.

  6. Probably fear motivated the suggested change. With 5.5 million Muslims in Germany, it only takes one religious crazy to kill a lot of kids, and there are certain to be thousands.

  7. Fear of disapproval (or even violence) from relatives unfamiliar with the Anne Frank name is probably one factor, but another is the mysterious gravitational field of USian fads. We saw this when British bureaucrats began to use the acronym BIPOC (where the second letter can only refer to Cheddar Man), and now we have “Vielfältigkeit” (Diversity) turning up in German bureaucratese. Perhaps we will soon see Committees of Vielfältigkeit,
    Billigkeit, und Einschliessenkeit (or VBE) proliferating at German universitäten.

  8. Well I’m glad they changed their minds. I’m not sure why changing the name of a daycare centre in a town I’ve never heard of should bug me so much, but it did.
    Anne Frank has been a heroine of mine since I visited her attic when I was nine.
    The proposed change seemed like dishonouring her memory and legacy to me. Welcoming and accommodating new immigrants is important and desirable but not at the cost of their new country’s integrity.

  9. “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” ― George Orwell

  10. A comment/post over on Butterflies & Wheels makes several interesting points. The kindergarten here is actually a “kita,” which is more like a day care center for infants and up than a classroom. And the connections to both Right Wing Nationalism and fear of recent Muslim violence due to the war are for various reasons unlikely. The large number of immigrant children might be more of a factor, though the primary motive seems to be an ongoing project to “modernize’ the daycare.


    Why did they really want to rename the kindergarten? The only reasons they gave don’t make sense.

    “Not making sense” is no longer holding back progressive reforms; sometimes they seem like a motivation.

    Today, when I hear about a persistent yet curiously inexplicit desire to promote “ children’s self-determination and diversity” I’m tempted to translate that as “we’re going to teach them about all the genders and encourage them to pick whether they’re a boy, girl, both, or neither.” I suppose that could be it.

    As for the name change to reflect the daycare’s new identity, “Anne Frank” would be just another deadname.

    1. That’s an interesting take, mostly true. I have lived in Germany for 40 years, my children were in Kitas.

      I doubt that most Muslims in Germany even know who Anne Frank was.

      Note that the German Kindergarten is the American pre-school, i.e. for younger children. The American Kindergarten is the German Vorschule (which is essentially the same word as pre-school).

      Partly as a reaction to East Germany, where essentially all women worked and all children were in Kitas, partly for indoctrination, West Germany tended to go too far to the other extreme. That’s changed in recent years, with more children in the Kita and for more hours per day.

      The Vorschule in Germany is relatively uncommon, much less common than Kindergarten in the States. Some children do stay in the Kita up until they start school, but it is more a day-care place than an extension of school to lower ages.

      There are also different types: public, private, church-run, etc. Not uncommon is the Waldkindergarten, where the children spend the day in the forest (usually whatever the weather).

  11. “More likely is that the locals feared that a school with a Jewish name would attract the attention and opprobrium of the growing number of Muslims in Germany.”

    I believe this is the exact reason, and I’m glad you have recognized it. Woke and P.C. culture in Germany prohibit even mentioning the danger to the Kita, let alone the likely source of the danger.

  12. “parents with a migrant background would often not know what to make of the name,”

    Why is it seen to be necessary that Germany deprecates its own history and culture to accommodate an immigrant population? It should be the responsibility of immigrants to learn about these things. After all, they’ve moved to Germany because they believe that they can build better lives for themselves and their children there than they could in their native countries, and there must be some qualities of their new country that allow them to do so.

    1. Trust me when I say it is not just Germany that deprecates its history, most of Europe is beating itself to death with guilt, what of who knows and yes it should be the responsibility of immigrants to learn about their”new country” but many do not, they want everything on offer but give nothing in return except to live in enclaves of where they came from complete with all the old customs and habits. Many believe that given enough time they will complete submerge the host country. This is the message from Islam. The UK is a good example of this in practice.

  13. Diversity gets a bad press. Physics is over-represented by white men, so the Institute of Physics has taken decisive action: PhysicsNews/status/1721842016026308879

    You couldn’t make it up….

  14. So much complicated language, employed by people who do not want to admit the facts of what is actually happening.
    Our betters have decided to give western civilization to people who are happy to accept our wealth, but despise everything else about us, particularly are deeply-held beliefs.
    This has nothing to do with issues too complicated for children to understand, or conventional politics. It is about appeasing people who hate Jews.
    It is, of course, easier in the short term to remove the name of a “dirty Jew” from the school than it is to confront the idea that we are slowly being colonized by people who see Ms. Frank in those terms, and are also prone to say “First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people”.

  15. If you choose to move to a new country you should embrace its history, values, and customs. Indeed those should be amongst the reasons you chose the country in the first place.

    I moved from the UK to Australia ten years ago. Ok, there are bigger culture shocks out there, but equally it isn’t just Britain with sun either. I find myself saying soccer when I mean football, putting thongs on my feet, and worshipping the holy day that is the Boxing Day Test. I have an Australian wife and even have an Aussie Rules team to support. What little culture they do have (sorry – can’t not poke them occasionally) I seek out, embrace, and largely enjoy. If I see something named after somebody (invariably a cricketer) I have a read about him or her.

    I hope to live in some more exotic places at some time in life (Spain and India high on the list) and the idea of going there and trying to change them rather than change myself feels completely wrong. There are places in which I wouldn’t feel comfortable/wouldn’t want to adopt the local values and, guess what, I won’t be moving there.

    I understand that I was privileged in that I was able to choose a safe country from a safe country, with similar economies and social security systems, but if I was “forced” to move for a much better life then I think I’d then respect the foundations and culture of that country even more.

  16. Sorry, I wrote the above before finishing the article. There was a much more important point that Jerry made that I hadn’t considered before – the fear of the name making the Kindergarten a target.

    I’m only seeing sporadic reports of actual anti-Jew violence in Europe, but believe there’s a general increase in the trend. And there were already far too many incidents. Plus you can’t have crowds of hundreds/thousands chanting “gas the Jews” outside the Sydney Opera House, with seeming impunity, and not feel worried.

    It’s difficult to know what the actual reality is, how unsafe you should feel if you’re Jewish, but I don’t think I’d feel safe sending my children to a school named after Anne Frank in a country with an increasingly non-secular Muslim community. I’d be one of those parents asking for its name to be changed, or I’d probably be moving my kids. And I wouldn’t want to work there either.

    This is tragic and hints at an immigration and integration policy that has failed. And it has failed across Europe.

    I don’t know if mine would be an hysterical reaction, but I don’t think I’d take the chance.

    Now this is very worrying. It should not be the case. And it’s worrying that if this is the case, they don’t feel they can say it and address the problem.

    And I don’t think it’s only Jews who need worry. There’s a certain hatred of the West, often stoked by people from the West, that you’d be foolish to dismiss.

    1. Yes indeed. I agree and I am worried and pissed off at these people coming out of the woodwork. A city council in Melbourne is going to fly Palestinian flag.
      The Greens party rails more against accidently misgendering a trans person than the terrorist murder, rape, torture, desecration of so many Jews, many of whom would have been sympathetic to such left stuff. Didn’t help. Would never help.

  17. Just as Russia never takes its eyes off Germany (I wonder why), so too Jews shouldn’t either. I saw someone point out that Europe, especially Germany has massive resentment against Jews for causing them so much guilt.
    I think it is a good observation. That, with the entrenched antisemitism and the woke embrace of Theocratic groups such as Palestinians adds up to a mighty heavy dislike of Jews. Call it what you will, but Jews must keep both eyes open.
    Which is exactly why Israel must be and remain being. The world is providing ample evidence for the need for a Jewish ‘safe space’. The Arab, Islamic world is huge so the same argument cannot be made for the Palestinians, or anybody else. There is plenty of space for them.
    Israel must stand and I stand with it.

  18. The Anne Frank kindergarten in Germany will not be renamed. This was confirmed by the mayor of the municipality at the request of the dpa news agency.

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