Anne Frank Tree 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
On August 23 an event of apparent worldwide importance occurred in Amsterdam:
The chestnut tree Anne Frank had seen from her hiding place fell during a storm.
Hundreds of media from all over the world, including Israel, showed photos of
the fallen tree or reported on it. Saplings were taken to be planted in the US,
Israel and other countries so that the tree lives on.
15-year-old Jewish girl from Amsterdam, is the same age as Anne was when she
died. She has not raised any international interest. Two months ago she told the
daily Het Parool that she would no longer wear her Star of David in public,
since she had been beaten up by three youngsters a few years older than her when
they identified her as a Jew.
The contraposition of these two stories is,
in a nutshell, symbolic not only of the Netherlands but most of Western
There remains substantial interest in the suffering of dead Jews, even
extent of caring for a tree which was seen by one of the most celebrated
of the Holocaust. There is far less interest in aggression against
THE ANNE Frank story reemerges every few years, usually for not
particularly important reasons. In 2004 the Dutch Catholic broadcasting
(KRO) asked the public to elect the most important Dutch personality
ended up in the top 10. This created a problem as she had never held
nationality. She died stateless in the Bergen Belsen concentration camp
KRO then started a campaign to posthumously grant Anne Dutch
citizenship. Her worldwide notoriety ensured that the Dutch were happy
consider her one of their own. A majority of parliamentarians, both on
and Left, were willing to support such a step, which turned out to be
impossible. Subsequently the absurdity of such a move dawned upon the
What about the other German Jews in the Netherlands who had been
murdered in the Holocaust? And what about those turned away at the
2007 the imminent threat of the chestnut tree falling, and the decision
authorities to cut it down, created new publicity for the plight of Anne
There was great public opposition, money was collected and a special
structure built to protect the tree from falling.
As said, this motif of
interest in dead Jews while willing to look away from current
at the same time defaming the Jewish collective in the State of Israel
is not a
Dutch speciality. The number of examples is endless.
leader of the Norwegian Socialist Left party and minister of education,
notorious for her anti-Israel views in her country. In 2006, she wanted
boycott Israel. Yet in 2007 she insisted on speaking on behalf of the
at the annual Holocaust memorial ceremony.
Germany is the country where
the study of this motif is of greatest interest. There are many
memorials and much reference to the murder of the Jews. Yet, at
demonstrations “Death to the Jews” is again heard on the streets of the
Even if it is mainly shouted by immigrants from Muslim countries, it
raise far more concern than it does. The more examples one watches of
discrepancy in attitude toward dead and living Jews, the more one
how little Europe has learned from its past.The writer has published 18
The Abuse of Holocaust Memory Distortions and