Honorary Citizenship for Anne Frank

Too little, too late. I just don’t see a reason for it. There are other ways to honor her memory and the other victims too.

He first enlisted a friend, Representative Steve Israel of Long Island, a Democrat, in efforts to have a commemorative stamp issued in her honor by the United States Postal Service. The Postal Service, however, informed them that it issued stamps only in honor of deceased American citizens or “American-related subjects,” a permitted category that has allowed stamps produced in honor of Mickey Mouse, Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk.

Representative Israel proposed honorary citizenship in 2004, but the bill died. Then a few days ago — prompted in part by the release of documents earlier this month showing that Anne Frank’s father tried desperately in 1941 to obtain a United States visa to leave Nazi-occupied Holland — he introduced it again.

“The best way we can honor Anne Frank in death is to give her what her father sought for her in life,” the congressman said.

Seventeen House members from both parties have signed on as co-sponsors. It would make Anne Frank only the seventh person to be granted honorary citizenship in the history of the country.

The others are Winston S. Churchill; the Marquis de Lafayette; Mother Teresa; the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who worked to save Jews in World War II; William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania; and his wife Hannah Callowhill Penn.

Relatives of Anne, who died at age 15 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945, said they were not so certain that this would have been the family’s wish.

“I cannot see the point,” said Bernd Elias, a first cousin and president of the Anne Frank Foundation, a charitable organization based in Basel, Switzerland. “She saw herself as Dutch. That is the country she wanted to be a citizen of.”

Mr. Elias said his cousin would no more have wanted to become an American citizen “than she would have wanted to become a Cuban citizen.”

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