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.”

Anne Frank’s Father- Please Help Us

NEW YORK (AP) — Anne Frank’s father sent desperate letters to friends and family in the United States pleading for financial assistance to help the family escape from the Nazi-occupied Netherlands, according to papers released Wednesday.

“I would not ask if conditions here would not force me to do all I can in time to be able to avoid worse,” Otto Frank wrote to his college friend Nathan Straus in April 1941. “It is for the sake of the children mainly that we have to care for. Our own fate is of less importance.”

The letters, along with documents and records from various agencies that helped people immigrate from Europe, were released by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

The information documents how Frank tried to arrange for his family — wife Edith, daughters Margo and Anne and mother-in-law Rosa Hollander — to go to the United States or Cuba.

Frank wrote to relatives, friends and officials between April 30, 1941, and December 11, 1941, when Germany declared war on the United States. He tried to arrange U.S. visas for his family before they went into hiding, but his efforts were hampered by restrictive immigration policies designed to protect national security, Holocaust experts said.

He referred to those problems in his letters.

“I know that it will be impossible for us all to leave even if most of the money is refundable, but Edith urges me to leave alone or with the children,” he said in another letter to Straus.

For the rest of the story please click here.