Video: A member of the expert panel that investigated the Anne Frank affair talks about the study's conclusions/Photo: Reuters
A middle school teacher in the U.S. state of Texas has been fired after she read a sexual excerpt from Anne Frank's diary to eighth-graders, district authorities told local media. The excerpt was read from Ari Folman's graphic version of the diary of the Jewish girl from Holland who perished in the Holocaust. This version, published in 2017, restored some parts of the original book cut from the best-known editions.
"A version of 'The Diary of Anne Frank' that was not approved by the district was read out in class," Mike Knizalez, a spokesman for the Hamshire-Pant Independent School District, told a local news channel. He said the teacher was sent home last week and replaced, and "there is an active investigation" into the matter.
According to local reports, the graphic version of Frank's diary was on the reading list the school sent to parents at the beginning of the school year, though district officials said it was never approved for use in the classroom. The fired teacher read parts of the diary in class, in addition to the reading task she gave the students.
The graphic version of Anne Frank's Diary has been at the center of several other scandals in public schools in the United States. She was briefly removed from a school in another county in Texas, permanently removed from a Florida county and subjected to a months-long inspection in another Florida county. In addition, a Jewish Republican lawmaker in Florida called it "Anne Frank pornography."
Book cover The Diary of Anne Frank - graphic version/screenshot, Anne Frank's Diary - graphic version
This version, adapted by Ari Folman and David Polonsky, includes a passage from March 24, 1944, which includes descriptions of male and female genitalia by Frank, including descriptions of the clitoris and pubic hair. These were indeed her words, and they appeared in her initial draft of the diary. This paragraph came immediately after a passage describing the "sound of gunfire" as Nazi soldiers attacked Allied forces parachuting out of a crashing plane.
"It's bad enough that she let them read it as a chore, but then she also made them read it out loud and made a little girl talk about feeling someone else's breasts, and when she sees a woman she goes into ecstasy, it's wrong," a parent of twins in the class told local media. The parent was referring to another passage from the book, in which Frank briefly describes her hidden feelings for another child, which some parents and conservative activists say are repulsive.
The day before the district fired the teacher, he alerted parents that "inappropriate" content had been read aloud in class. "The reading of this content will stop immediately. Your child's teacher will forward her apology to you and your children soon, after she has made these apologies to us," the district said in an email.
The Swiss-based Anne Frank Foundation, which oversees the copyright of Anne Frank's diary, has approved his new graphic adaptation and protected the work in the past. "We see a 12-year-old girl's book as an appropriate reading for her peers," board member Eve Kugelman told the Jewish News Agency (JTA).
Books written by Jews, including "The Diary of Anne Frank," "Maus" and others, have been caught up in a broad campaign waged in recent years by conservative elements to purge school shelves of content they consider inappropriate. These usually deal with issues such as sexuality, gender identity and race. Many of them were censored, and teachers who tried to teach them were fired.
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