“Anne Frank” – City council unanimously rejects renaming of daycare center
The name is difficult to convey to daycare children and does not reflect the new concept of the facility: With this reason, a municipal daycare center in Saxony-Anhalt planned to change its name from “Anne Frank” to “Weltentdecker”. There was a hail of criticism. Now the mayor speaks out.
DThe “Anne Frank” daycare center in the Stendal district (Saxony-Anhalt) wanted to change its name and received criticism for it. The board of trustees of the municipal institution spoke out in favor of the change, reported the “Volksstimme” from Magdeburg on the weekend. Accordingly, the mayor of the small town of Tangerhütte justified the decision with conceptual changes. The daycare center should be called “World Explorer” in the future.
If parents and employees wanted a name that better reflected the concept, it would have more weight in relation to the global political situation, said Andreas Brohm (independent) initially defended the desire for a renaming. The head of the daycare center told the newspaper that the story of the Jewish Holocaust victim was difficult for young children to grasp.
Brohm has since qualified his statement – nothing has been decided yet. The discussions were still ongoing, “without a decision currently being made,” Brohm explained in writing on Monday.
The parliamentary group leaders of the city council of the unified community of Tangerhütte then announced that they would unanimously reject the renaming of the local daycare center “Anne Frank”. “On Wednesday, the city council will unanimously take a position against the request to rename the daycare center,” said Werner Jacob (CDU), chairman of the city council, to WELT. According to Jacob, all parliamentary group leaders support a corresponding position paper from the CDU Tangerhütte.
The wording of the “Joint statement of the parliamentary groups in the city council of the unified municipality of Tangerhütte on the desired renaming of the daycare center ‘Anne Frank’” is available to WELT. The factions CDU/FDP, UWGSA, SPD, Die Linke, WG Zukunft, WG Altmark and WG Lüderitz are listed as signatories. “The factions of the city council of the unified municipality of Tangerhütte are calling on the mayor, Mr. Brohm, to give a clear rejection of this renaming,” says the statement with reference to mayor Andreas Brohm (independent).
The daycare management’s claim that the name “Anne Frank” is unsuitable and difficult to convey to children “is more evidence of a forgetfulness of history on the part of those responsible,” the statement says. This forgetfulness of history is a “breeding ground for conspiracy theories and hostility to democracy, including anti-Semitism. The culture of remembrance has a meaning, because we owe it to our children and future generations to explain what it means to live in peace and freedom!” the groups continued in their statement. “History teaches us that this cannot be taken for granted and that these values must be defended.” “Current events” made “this even more urgent.”
“The daycare management is new and wanted to implement a new educational concept”
City council chairman Jacob said that the request to rename the daycare center came from the ranks of the daycare center management. “The daycare management is new and wanted to implement a new educational concept. They wanted to document this new concept with a new name,” said Jacob. There has been no application to rename it – “which the city council would have rejected anyway” – so far. “I think there was simply political naivety behind the daycare center’s request and a – I can’t find any other words for it – lack of history,” said Jacob. “The head of the daycare center is still very young, a different generation than us. I’m 68 years old, and we still have a different memory of the National Socialist era in our DNA.” Brohm, as mayor, “should have recognized the significance of such a step in terms of remembrance policy and had to clear up the unnecessary name change from the start.”
Several associations had expressed criticism. The International Auschwitz Committee wrote an open letter to the city of Tangerhütte, from which the MDR Saxony-Anhalt quoted: “If you are willing to dismiss your own history so carelessly, especially in these times of new anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism, and the name of Anne Frank is perceived as unsuitable in public space, you can only be afraid and anxious when it comes to the culture of remembrance in our country Vice President Christoph Heubner therefore called on the committee to reconsider the renaming.
The association Miteinander eV, a network for democracy and cosmopolitanism in Saxony-Anhalt, warned of a “false signal” on the short message service X. There are “good and proven pedagogical concepts” to convey the topic to children in an age-appropriate manner. “Right now we need a high level of sensitivity to the impact of symbolic renaming and a historical awareness,” it said.
Mayor Brohm justified the planned renaming with the conversion of the daycare center to an open concept, which the facility has undergone over the past 14 months. “Well before the current discussions and events, the discussion arose at the beginning of 2023 to make this fundamental change in concept visible to the outside world by giving the institution a different name in order to visibly mark this fundamental new beginning,” wrote Brohm. Tangerhütte, with its educational institutions and all its civic commitment, stands for a cosmopolitan Germany that is at the same time as aware of its historical responsibility as it is of its educational mission.
Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1929 to Jewish parents. Her family fled to the Netherlands from the National Socialists in 1933. She hid there in a secret annex from 1942 to 1944. During this time, Anne Frank wrote a diary that is one of the most widely read works in world literature. Anne Frank died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945 at the age of 15.
According to the “Magdeburger Volksstimme”, the daycare center has been called “Anne Frank” since the early 1970s.
The post first appeared on www.welt.de