Anne Frank is a bad name for a train

The Week Middle East - - News -

It’s not a bad idea to name high-speed trains af­ter na­tional fig­ures, turn­ing them into “mo­bile mon­u­ments” criss-cross­ing the coun­try, says David Hesse. But one won­ders what ge­nius de­cided to name one af­ter Anne Frank – in Ger­many, of all places. It must surely be ob­vi­ous that, in this con­text, a famous Holo­caust vic­tim is a du­bi­ous choice. The Jews were de­ported to the camps in crowded freight cars and even made to pay their fare, mak­ing huge prof­its for the “Re­ichs­bahn”. The rail­ways are a po­tent sym­bol of the massacres, typ­i­fied by the iconic im­age of the tracks lead­ing to Auschwitz, where Frank was first sent, be­fore dy­ing months later in Ber­gen-Belsen. It’s a par­tic­u­larly odd gaffe for the Deutsche Bahn, the Re­ichs­bahn’s “po­lite and re­served” suc­ces­sor, to make. It says it ran an on­line poll to iden­tify 25 suit­able can­di­dates and that Frank was among those who got the most votes; a jury made the fi­nal se­lec­tion. Weirdly, she was cited as a sym­bol of tol­er­ance and “peace­ful co­ex­is­tence”, not what most of us would think of in the con­text of the Holo­caust. Of all the famous peo­ple the rail­ways could have cho­sen, how un­think­ing to choose one it “drove to her death”.

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