Deborah Lipstadt: Anne Frank, U.S. Citizen?

Historians in the News

In “A Push for Citizenship for Anne Frank” (news article, Feb. 26), I am quoted as contending that granting honorary citizenship to Anne Frank would be a “pointless” gesture.

During the late 1930s and early ’40s, European Jewish refugees, among them the Frank family, who lived in terribly precarious circumstances, found that there were “paper walls” around America’s shores.

They faced horrendous bureaucratic obstacles, some of which were put in place by our government with the objective of preventing Jews from coming to this country.

If citizenship were granted to Anne Frank simply to make Americans feel good, it would indeed be pointless. But if the gesture were used to educate current and future generations about how America turned its back on these people, it would be an efficacious move.

Deborah E. Lipstadt
Atlanta, Feb. 26, 2007

The writer is a professor of modern Jewish and Holocaust studies at Emory University.
Read entire article at Letter to the Editor of the NYT

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