Bowl with the image of Anne Frank withdrawn by the Blond Amsterdam brand.
A Dutch ceramic tableware firm, Blond Amsterdam, has recalled a bowl with a half-length drawing of Anne Frank, the author of the famous Holocaust diary.
The girl appeared in the piece smiling and with rosy cheekbones among drawings of windmills, ice skates and cheeses, in a series dedicated to commemorating "national glories".
The commercial use of the image of Anne Frank is not new, but, this time, by presenting it as an icon of her own, it is ignored that the girl died stateless in 1945 in the Bergen-Belsen Nazi extermination camp.
She was born in Germany, the Hitler regime took away her citizenship for being Jewish.
Despite the fact that she had to flee with her family from her homeland, in Frankfurt am Main (Germany), and that she lived in the Netherlands since she was 5 years old, the Dutch authorities did not grant it to her either.
Blond Amsterdam is a company founded in 2001 by two friends who illustrate tableware and ceramics with cheerful and colorful drawings.
The bowl now set aside belongs to the line called
, which brings together the most recognizable symbols of the country.
Its products are not intended only for tourist consumption, and bicycles, typical houses, tulips and the colors of the national flag appear in all the pieces.
Hence, Anne Frank's face squeaks, given the context of World War II in which she lived.
In view of the wave of criticism published on social networks and that organizations such as the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI, in its Dutch acronym) considered the illustration inappropriate, Blond Amsterdam has announced its withdrawal from the market.
The Anne Frank House: memory of the Holocaust, between trade and personal appropriation
In a statement on its website, the firm explains that its intention was to “remember Dutch moments and heroes, something that not everyone sees in the same way;
It was not our wish, and we want you to know that this piece will no longer return to the collection."
The company has also announced that it will donate the profits made to date from the bowl.
For the Dutch historian Kees Ribbens, specialized in the memory of World War II, "the most striking thing is that, this time, the commercial initiative is Dutch."
“Until now, most of the similar examples he had seen were produced in Asia or the United States.
Putting Anne Frank saying that they intend to create a pleasant atmosphere towards everything Dutch is striking, taking into account a tragedy like hers, ”he says in a telephone conversation.
In her opinion, by placing her among the "national glories, when she died stateless, and she was born in Germany, something that seems to be forgotten, there is an evident lack of sensitivity."
“One thing is the information that can be provided in tourist brochures and another to make this mistake by reducing Anne Frank to a simple object of consumption.
Something that keeps happening.
Controversies of this nature serve to show the need to present the appropriate context to understand what happened in the war”.
The ceramic collection was also promoted in branches of the Albert Heijn supermarket, the largest Dutch chain, which has removed the bowls from its shelves.
The Frank family—his parents and sister—hid from the Nazis in a canal house annex in Amsterdam.
They were there for two years, along with four other people, until they were discovered and sent to concentration camps.
Of them, only Otto, the father of Anne Frank, returned alive.
The Dutch version of the Diary was published in 1947 and to this day the book has been translated into more than seventy languages, according to the museum house that bears her name in Amsterdam.