Two foundations aimed at keeping the memory of World War II diarist Anne Frank alive are embroiled in a sometimes vicious spat about who owns a number of papers belonging to her father Otto, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday.
The Switzerland-based Anne Frank Fonds wants the return of documents and photos which it lent to the Amsterdam-based Anne Frank Foundation, the paper says. The Fonds wants to include the documents in a new Family Frank Centre due to open in Frankfurt in 2016.
However, the foundation is refusing to hand over the documents, saying there is still a dispute about who is the legal owner.
‘The Frank family had everything taken away from them by the Germans in the 1940s. Now a Dutch institution is trying to do the same thing,’ Fonds board member Tves Kugelmann is quoted as saying by the Volkskrant.
The Fonds went to court in Amsterdam in 2011 in an effort to recover the almost four-metres of files. The court has since ruled the Fonds must prove it is the legal owner, the paper said.
The Fonds and the Foundation used to work together. The Foundation runs the property housing the secret attic where Anne and her family lived during World War II until they were betrayed and deported. The Fonds owns the rights to her diary.
The two organisations originally planned to house the entire archive in Amsterdam. Foundation director Ronald Leopold told the Volkskrant he had no idea why the Fonds changed its mind and decided to set up the Family Frank Centre as part of the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt.
The Fonds itself was set up by Otto Frank in 1963. According to Kugelmann, Otto was unhappy about some of the activities surrounding the secret attic in Amsterdam. ‘It became a commercial factory and that is not what Otto wanted,’ Kugelmann told the Volkskrant.
He bases his claim to the documents on five wills and thousands of letters left by Otto when he died in 1980. Otto, says Kugelmann, wanted the Prinsengracht property to be a meeting place for youngsters revolving around inter-cultural dialogue, not a museum or place of pilgrimage.