AMSTERDAM — Two organizations bearing Anne Frank's name are in a bitter dispute over the possession of the Frank family archive, in an echo of a court battle they fought in the 1990s over which one had the right to trademark the Holocaust victim's name.
The conflict between the Basel, Switzerland-based Anne Frank Fund and the Amsterdam, Netherlands-based Anne Frank Foundation is in part a struggle to control the late Jewish teen's legacy. But, with one side even comparing the other to Nazi Germany, it also threatens to damage both institutions' reputations.
"It's really sad this is happening," Foundation spokeswoman Maatje Mostart said Wednesday.The archive, which contains 25,000 family letters, documents and photos from several generations, has been in the care of the Foundation in Amsterdam since 2007, on a loan from the Fund that it expected would become permanent.
The Fund, headed by Anne Frank's closest living relative, her cousin Buddy Elias, now wants the material to go to a new permanent Frank Family Center devoted to the wider Frank clan and other relatives, not just Anne. It will be located at the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt, Germany, where Anne Frank was born in 1929.
Aside from the debate over the loan agreement, the Foundation insists that that not all of the archive even belongs to the Fund. The Foundation is best-known for running the Anne Frank House museum, located in the actual Amsterdam canal-side building where the young girl and her family hid during the German occupation of the Netherlands.
Mostart says the Foundation will eventually return the parts of the archive that belong to the Fund, if the Fund insists.