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German Railway Company Names Train After Anne Frank

Lawmaker calls the decision ‘tasteless,’ but the company sticks to its decision

Liel Leibovitz
October 31, 2017

Earlier this year, the German railway giant Deutsche Bahn announced a contest to name its new trains after famous people worthy of commemoration. Proposals streamed in, and a jury of experts selected 25 names. These include Ludwig van Beethoven, Marlene Dietrich, and Thomas Mann. They also include Anne Frank.

The state-owned company is a successor of the Deutsche Reichsbahn, which transported millions of Jews to their deaths, so naming a train after a victim of the Nazis struck some as a very bad idea.

“Now DB is naming trains after victims of deportation by train,” tweeted Bild journalist Julian Reichelt, “starting with Anne Frank.”

Die @DB_Bahn benennt Züge jetzt nach Opfern der Deportation durch die Bahn und beginnt mit: Anne Frank.

— Julian Reichelt (@jreichelt) October 29, 2017

Conservative lawmaker Iris Eberl called the decision “tasteless,” and many other on German social media channels agreed.

Einen Zug “Anne Frank” zu nennen ist pietätlos. @CSU @jreichelt

— Iris Eberl (@IrisEberl) October 29, 2017

But the company defended its decision. Anne Frank, said a spokesperson, Antje Neubauer, was a symbol of “peaceful co-existence of different cultures, which is more important than ever in times such as this.”

Liel Leibovitz is Editor at Large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One. He is the editor of Zionism: The Tablet Guide.