In a tone-deaf move German train operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) has decided to name a train after Anne Frank, who you might recall was brought to Auschwitz by train.
This move was part of an effort to name trains after 25 famous Germans chosen by the public, which means people will also be getting trains named after Karl Marx and Marlene Dietrich. A DB spokesperson Antje Neubauer has defended the decision, telling the BBC that Frank represents a “peaceful co-existence of different cultures, which is more important than ever in times such as this.”
While Amsterdam’s Anne Frank House acknowledges in a statement that naming landmarks or places like streets and parks after her legacy has “good intentions,” it makes it clear that Holocaust memorializing and trains just reeeeally aren’t a good mix!
“The combination of Anne Frank and a train evokes associations with the persecution of the Jews and the deportations during the Second World War,” wrote a spokesperson for the Anne Frank House in a statement on their website. “The combination is painful for the people who experienced these deportations, and causes fresh pain to those who still bear the consequences of those times within them.”
When memorializing victims of the holocaust, oversights such as this one seem entirely too common. Let that be a good reminder that historical figures aren’t just mascots of an era, but are often real people who’ve suffered extremely at the hands of others, and that their pain and what happened to them is more important than whatever misguided, flashy marketing campaign a company can come up with.