Man arrested in Poland for antisemitic message projected on Anne Frank House

Suspect, 41, detained over February incident, when he cast doubt on authenticity of diary penned by teen murdered in Holocaust; Dutch authorities to seek extradition

Exterior view of the renovated Anne Frank House Museum, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, November 21, 2018. (Peter Dejong/AP)
Exterior view of the renovated Anne Frank House Museum, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, November 21, 2018. (Peter Dejong/AP)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Police arrested a man in Poland on Tuesday on suspicion of projecting an anti-Semitic slur on Amsterdam’s Anne Frank House which led to widespread shock in the Netherlands.

The 41-year-old suspect was arrested after an intensive investigation following the incident in early February when a text suggesting the Jewish teenager did not pen her diary during World War II was projected on the side of the museum to honor her memory.

“After the projection… the suspect was soon identified,” Dutch police said in a statement.

“It subsequently transpired that the suspect left for Poland immediately after the projection,” they said.

Dutch detectives traveled to Poland on Monday and were present when the suspect’s home was searched and he was arrested.

Police told AFP “we assume the man lives in Poland,” but could not give further details.

“The Amsterdam public prosecutor has asked for the man to be extradited to the Netherlands,” police added.

Anne Frank in her school in Amsterdam. (Public domain)

The incident shocked many in the country, where Dutch involvement in the deportation of tens of thousands of Jews to Nazi death camps is still a sensitive issue.

The Anne Frank House Museum, which preserves the canalside house where the Jewish Frank family hid from the Nazis, at the time expressed its “shock and revulsion.”

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the incident was “reprehensible” adding “there is no space for anti-Semitism in our country.”

The projected text, “Anne Frank, inventor of the ball-point pen,” referred to loose sheets of paper discovered in the famous teenager’s diary in the 1980s.

The writing on the sheets were done with a pen that only came into use after the war, a fact used by right-wing anti-Semites to purportedly show the diary was fake.

But numerous fact-checks confirmed the sheets most likely landed up in the diary when it was left by a researcher in the early 1960s.

“The sheets in no way put the authenticity of the diary in doubt,” the Dutch public broadcaster NOS said.

Anne Frank and her family hid for two years in a secret annex to the house after the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in 1940 but were captured in a raid in 1944.

The teenager and her sister died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.

Her diary, found by her father Otto, became one of the most haunting accounts of the Holocaust, selling some 30 million copies.

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