The Magazine

Exploiting Anne Frank

The most tasteless T-shirt ever.

Jun 23, 2008, Vol. 13, No. 39 • By ALVIN H. ROSENFELD
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What does it all signify? Anti-Semitism is back, sometimes packaged anew. One especially cruel innovation is to convert the victims of Nazi slaughter into advocates for causes they had nothing to do with and never would have condoned. These Anne Frank makeovers exemplify this trend and also point up its morally corrosive side.

To bed Anne Frank with Hitler and drape her in Yasser Arafat's trademark headscarf is tantamount to killing her a second time. And to substitute made-in-the-Middle East counterfeits for the real Amsterdam diary is to lie against history itself.

Alvin H. Rosenfeld is professor of English and Jewish Studies at Indiana University and the author most recently of The Writer Uprooted: Contemporary Jewish Exile Literature.